Luminaries

Meaningful Experiences are the Greatest Luxury of All

The luxuries that are most engaging to me right now are the non-material ones. For me, luxury is all about having the opportunity to see and experience things that add meaning to my life, not just surrounding myself with stuff. I know many successful women share my view. When you can buy yourself anything, you think twice about acquiring luxurious objects for their own sake. I now take luxury in spending time with the people important to me, in magical places, and supporting the causes and craftspeople who align with my values.

That’s not to say that I never want to buy beautiful things! It’s just that I want to understand their origin, and ideally I want them to stand for something. That has led me away from big corporate brands and toward individual artists. Part of the luxury of purchasing their work is knowing the authentic stories behind what they create. For example, I am lucky to know the founders of two my favorite jewelry brands, Bowen NYC and Foundrae, both based here in New York. These women create intricate, hand-crafted pieces I love to wear. You can feel their commitment to their craft with each object you touch. I’ve been lucky enough to purchase Beth and Julie’s pieces for myself, and to give and receive them as gifts, through the years. And I love supporting fellow female entrepreneurs who are following their dreams and tapping their passions to build meaningful businesses.

I travel often with my kids and extended family, and I can’t think of a more unforgettable trip than the one we spent a few years ago at Nihiwatu, a resort on Sumba Island in Indonesia. While the hotel itself could not be more luxurious in the traditional sense, what was truly luxurious about it was how its remoteness and access to the wild Pacific landscape gave my family the opportunity to spend uninterrupted holiday time together. What’s more, the Nihiwatu resort runs the Sumba Foundation, meaning your stay positively impacts the local economy and drives philanthropic programs in clean water and nutrition for island children.

But you don’t have to travel thousands of miles to find an island of peace to share a cup of coffee, read the paper, and have a lazy day with a loved one. I try to get to Malibu Farm whenever I can for a little slice of quiet whenever I travel to the West Coast. It’s a great and easily accessible chill-out spot if you find yourself in the Los Angeles area for business or pleasure.

Perhaps the most luxurious thing I’ve done is give myself the time and space to embrace yoga. Several years ago, I completed my teacher training at Ishta Yoga in New York. Is inner peace a luxury? It shouldn’t be, but perhaps these days it is. There is no better way to commit to your personal wellbeing — and therefore the wellbeing of those around you — than by deepening your practice.

Giving back to the community is a central tenet of yoga philosophy and something I’ve incorporated into my day-to-day life. The nonprofit I founded, Bubble, helps New York City school kids, teachers, and families learn simple ways to incorporate fitness and nutrition into their routines. Bringing the family together to volunteer for Bubble, in addition to other causes we support, is a great way to remind yourself that time, the ultimate luxury, can be put to great use when dedicated to those around us.

If we all focused a bit more on the smaller luxuries — like meaningful time together, in places that matter to us, and supporting entrepreneurs we believe in — perhaps in a small way we can help to make the world a better place.

Amy Nauiokas is the Founder and President of Anthemis, a company that cultivates change in financial services; the Founder and Chair of Archer Gray, a media production, finance and investment company; and Founder of Bubble, a New York City-based nonprofit that provides information, food, and activities that help people make choices that lead to healthier lives for their families.