Successful people’s favourite places – words Al Woods
Do you have a happy place? A place where you can go to escape the pressures of life? Somewhere where you can relax, switch off and be yourself?
We’re going to look at some of the favourite places of some really influential people in the world, past and present, as illustrated by Berkeley Build.
You shouldn’t look at these and think that these also need to be your favourite place in order to be successful. It’s more about what they represent and how deeply personal they are. Whilst some find peace and inspiration in the hustle and bustle of cities, some had to completely remove themselves from their normal life to unwind and get back in touch with themselves.
Princess Diana was an exemplary member of the Royal family. She redefined what the station meant and how you could use it as a vehicle to achieve immense good. Her favourite place was the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace, she would often stop and marvel at the flowers. You can now visit this garden which has been renamed The White Garden and is a commemorative garden in her honour.
Tech tycoon Bill Gates likes to escape from the pressures and pace of being a high-flying tech executive and one of the richest men in the world by going to the beautiful country of Croatia. In particular, a town called Skradin on the Dalmatian Coast. There’s something about the stark contrast between this location and his day-to-day life that makes it interesting. Why is that sometimes our favourite place is one that couldn’t be further from our daily experience?
Carrie Fisher learned her trade in London at the Central School of Speech and Drama in Swiss Cottage. Whilst studying there, she fell in love with London for its architecture, history and markets. She made many friends there as a student and whenever she came to London, she said it was like coming home.
Barack’s favourite place is the Kailua Bay on Oahu Island, Hawaii. This was a treasured place for him growing up. Hawaii is what made Barack the man he is and the president he was. The ‘aloha spirit’ of Hawaii moulded his character, his policy and his demeanour. Always calm, always collected, he carried himself with grace and class. He would often come back to holiday here as President. It’s always good to remember where you came from, especially when you have ascended to the highest office in the world.
David Bowie liked to come to Washington Square Park in New York City to be inspired. It was just around the corner from where he recorded his first US number one, Fame. He would come to the park where he would see people from all backgrounds and walks of life mix and mingle. He loved seeing people expressing themselves went on to show a generation how to be your weird and wonderful self.
Oprah has a typical rags-to-riches story. Growing up facing racial adversity and financial struggle, she has since become a billionaire and has created a far-reaching media empire. Her favourite place is her back garden. She grows fruit and veg there, plays with her dogs and marvels at the big trees. It’s a blessing to live in your favourite place and something that most people spend their whole lives trying to achieve. But maybe it’s less the garden itself and more what it houses. Her dogs, her plants and so on that makes it so special to Oprah.
Steve Jobs was a visionary of our time. His creations, for better or worse, have completely changed the way our world works. His favourite place was the Kona Village Resort in Hawaii. It was sadly destroyed in a 2011 tsunami but is set to re-open next year. With no phones, televisions and screens, it was a sanctuary from his technological life. It’s interesting how Jobs and Bill Gates, two men who found themselves in similar positions of the same pursuit also have similar favourite places.
Finding your happy place is very important. Whether it’s halfway across the world or in your own back garden, it’s nice to know there’s a place you can go to get away from it all. Whether you can go there for two weeks out of the year or every afternoon, it’s a building block on which you can build confidence.