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Löyly terrace, Helsinki; Photo by Harri Tarvainen/Visit Finland

Featured Article

World Tour

Martha Day uses her boutique travel company, Opal & Finch, to help others connect to the earth.

Travel is a source of joy and discovery for many people, but planning it can be overwhelming and time-intensive, often leading people to visit the same place again and again. Dallas-based Martha Day observed this irony while working in hospital systems—her colleagues were taking vacations with their families at the same spots because they didn’t have the time or energy to plan something new.

Day loved seeing and exploring the world for many years and realized she wanted to bring the same joy to others through travel. She left the hospital world to open her own boutique travel company in 2019, particularly looking to help busy professionals take trips that would leave them feeling refreshed and invigorated. “I can help manage this for these people and give them the opportunity to get away and refocus their vision for themselves, for their families, for their companies,” she realized.

To Day, travel is about connecting, which is why she named the business Opal & Finch—opal for the stone of the earth and finch for the bird of the air. “It’s the connectivity between our body and our spirit.”

Here are three of Day’s favorite spring and summer destinations for finding that connection.

Destination: Helsinki, Finland

It’s no wonder that the capital city of Finland, deemed the “happiest country in the world” for the fifth consecutive year, is on Day’s list. Helsinki’s natural beauty, art, and architecture could keep travelers occupied for many days, but it’s the love of the sea and the traditional Finnish sauna that set this destination apart for relaxation and retreat. “A great time to visit is from May to July, a month either side of the summer solstice when you can experience the Nordic white nights with 18-plus hours of sunlight,” she says. With this much daylight, you can make the most of your time in Helsinki and Finland.

Stay: Day suggests staying three nights in Helsinki, combined with four nights in nature-filled Lakeland, two nights in Lapland, and three nights in Tallinn, Estonia. For Helsinki, stay at Hotel Kämp—“old-school-luxury-made-contemporary right of the Esplanade, with great access to the heart of Helsinki.”

Do: “There’s a reason the Finns are the happiest people, and I hold that it is because of their love of a good sauna,” Day says. The traditional Finnish sauna experience is a must, and Day’s favorite public sauna is Löyly, which “sits on the edge of the Baltic Sea and is the perfect place to experience the euphoria that comes after the heat of a sauna followed by a plunge in the sea.”

Eat/Drink: Although Day doesn’t often give specific restaurant recommendations because of how quickly the experience can change, she says Helsinki’s Grön is a worthy exception. “This cozy restaurant holds a Michelin star, and whether you choose the standard or vegan menu, the 2.5 hours spent eating through its preset menu is time and money well spent.”


Destination: Switzerland

“Summertime is about outdoor adventure,” Day says, “and my second favorite place as an outdoor playground is Switzerland. Being outside as much as possible is the only thing that makes sense in this mountain country. Waking to the sunrise on the Jungfrau, Mönch, and Eiger mountains and hearing the sweet soft sound of Swiss cowbells is the perfect way to start a day. Here in the mountains, it’s easy to explore up to the gingerbread village of Grindelwald or hike over to Lauterbrunnen for views that are truly awesome.”

Stay: “On my last visit I stayed in Wengen outside of Interlaken in the mountains; this cute town is accessible year-round by the Wengernalp Railay.” Day recommends three nights in the mountains, combined with three nights in Zurich, two nights in St. Moritz, and three nights in Lugano. In Wengen, stay at Arenas Resort Victoria-Lauberhorn; in Interlaken, stay at Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa.

Do: Getting around for various activities in Switzerland, like hiking, sightseeing, and boating, is easier with the Swiss Travel Pass. This can be used for trains, buses, and boats; make reservations for the Glacier Express or the William Tell Express and enjoy the country’s vast and picturesque panoramas.

Eat/Drink: The Swiss are known for cheese and chocolate, and for good reason. Be sure to seek out plenty of fondue—Appenzeller cheese especially—and chocolate while you’re there.


Destination: Saint Lucia

When most people think of spring and summertime travel, they think beach. The Caribbean island of Saint Lucia certainly fits that bill, but it’s no ordinary beach either. Turquoise water and mountainous views make Saint Lucia a luxurious warm weather destination, one that practically demands relaxation—and where better to relax there than BodyHoliday, an all-inclusive resort and spa where guests can personally tailor their vacation. “Here on Cariblue Beach, no one is taking away your coffee or alcohol, limiting your food, or prying you out of bed for a mandatory fitness regime,” Day says. “Whether it’s the included daily treatments in the wellness center or the many options for activity, at BodyHoliday everything is on the menu, but nothing is required and it’s amazing.”

Stay: Day recommends staying at BodyHoliday for eight to 10 days. She also suggests splurging on a helicopter ride to get from the airport to the Castries side of the island: “Not only will you be on the beach sooner, but you’ll also get a view from the air of this beautiful and diverse island.”

Do: The tagline for BodyHoliday is “give us your body for a week, and we will give you back your mind.” You can do this via morning yoga over the water, abseiling, a four-handed abhyanga treatment, or a Hobie Cat guest regatta.

Eat/Drink: All the food at BodyHoliday is delicious, but go for the Chef’s Table at Cariblue Windows, the 5-star Tao, or a bento box at the beach from the café.

  • A reindeer in Lapland; Photo by Julia Kivelä/Visit Finland
  • Helsinki Archipelago; Photo by Juho Kuva/Visit Finland
  • Löyly terrace, Helsinki; Photo by Harri Tarvainen/Visit Finland
  • Restaurant boat at Hakaniemi, Helsinki; Photo by Jussi Hellstén/Visit Finland
  • Jungfrau Railway, Switzerland
  • Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa, Interlaken
  • Martha Day; Photo by Jason Fitzgerald
  • Martha Day; Photo by Jason Fitzgerald
  • Martha Day; Photo by Jason Fitzgerald
  • Martha Day; Photo by Jason Fitzgerald
  • Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa, Interlaken; Photo courtesy MySwitzerland from Virtuoso
  • Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa, Interlaken; Photo courtesy MySwitzerland from Virtuoso
  • Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa, Interlaken; Photo courtesy MySwitzerland from Virtuoso
  • The town of Wengen outside of Interlaken in the mountains; Photo courtesy MySwitzerland from Virtuoso
  • BodyHoliday is an all-inclusive resort on Saint Lucia; Photo courtesy BodyHoliday from Virtuoso
  • BodyHoliday is an all-inclusive resort on Saint Lucia; Photo courtesy BodyHoliday from Virtuoso

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