Renae Leith-Manos is the founder of Renae’s World, an upscale travel & lifestyle brand for women over 35 who are affluent and educated.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I am a journalist and run a new global podcast about the future of luxury travel, Where To From Here which takes me to different parts of the world every day. The intention is to create a global wave of positivity about travel.
It was born out of the catastrophic stress the travel industry – including my own business – has been going through since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.
I have been a journalist for over two decades, and have worked with some of the world’s biggest publications and brands including News Limited, Vogue, Grazia Magazine,and The Huffington Post. I have a passion for interviewing people and finding out what makes them tick.
I have interviewed many high profile celebrities including Jennifer Lopez, George Clooney, Tom Cruise and John Travolta, but everyone is a source of inspiration. Every single human does amazing things, the key is drawing these insights out of them during an interview or conversation so they can share them and we can learn from each other.
I chat to Managing Directors, CEO’s, Hotel designers, Michelin Star Chefs and General Managers of the world’s most luxurious hotels, restaurants, brands and destinations.
As part of my work I also review high end hotels, spas and restaurants, and have two blogs; Renae’s World is about luxury travel, food and life, Bondi Beauty is about fitness, beauty and health.
2) What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
Every day is different. Last Friday I was invited to stay at the stunning new Kimpton Mai-Lai five star hotel in Bangkok to review it. I woke up in the hotel, had my vitamins then went to the gym. I listened to Joe Rogan – I always like to start the day with inspiration. I do not eat breakfast, as I fast, so I headed to a nearby coffee shop for a slow, long black coffee and responded to my emails and social media.
The day then officially started after a shower with a blast of cold water at the end, then phone calls and zoom meetings to Australia (as they are several hours ahead so their day is in full swing). I had to road test the amaranth spa by Harnn for an hour which was incredible.
I like to do 10,000 steps a day so I had lunch at Sarnie’s Roastery, a local Thai favourite of mine which was down the road. I take Locako keto collagen vanilla white chocolate powder every day with my lunch.
I then did a podcast with Andrew Jacobs, the General Manager of the Macakizi in Bodrum, Turkey, as well as a podcast with Nick Downing, The General Manager of The Siam Hotel in Bangkok. Both interviews were exhilarating. More calls and writing, then I had a restaurant review at Igniv that night, an incredible Swiss restaurant in central Bangkok with extraordinary Michelin star standard food, interiors and ambience.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
I think everyone in the world has had to acclimate to remote learning, and given I travel a lot it has been a part of my life for many years. Last year I was in Sydney when it was completely locked down for 13 weeks and I had my 14 year old twin children, and my partner all locked into the same house working and doing school for all of that time, 24/7.
It was actually a surprisingly really special family bonding time, and we can all now work anywhere, any time. Luxury hotels are becoming far more savvy about WFH facilities as for travellers, which is critical.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
Like so many people, the pandemic certainly caused a lot of stress to my working life. These types of challenges have made me stronger.
Fitness has been the backbone to work-balance in many ways for me, as has ensuring I prioritise my own needs. When I divorced over a decade ago with small twin children, I decided to take up triathlon and ended up competing for Australia in the world championships in Chicago in my age group.
This was one of the toughest but best periods of my life. Finding life balance when the pressure is on can bring huge personal satisfaction and self-love.
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
Getting back to travel has been the substantial positive change to my life. The Australian government locked us into our own country for two years – thank goodness that’s over. Creating a morning routine, planning time in my week to do nothing, fasting every day, eating low sugar and ensuring I have supplements daily has all contributed to better life symmetry and balance.
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
I love Ageless by Rescue, which is a fantastic Australian podcast about ageing well, with insights on the latest products, treatments, research and advice about ageing.
Tony Robbins’ new book Life Force is fantastic, and has some amazing insights and information about the future of medical treatments – and all of the proceeds go to charity. Tony is smart, well researched and inspiring.
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
I can’t live without my iPhone and Facetime to speak to my amazing twin children regularly who are based in Australia at boarding school right now. I am a beauty fanatic, and Bondi Beauty is a site about products. I can’t travel without LeLabo soap, and the seductive fragrance Maison Francis, Grand Soir.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
I would love to read an interview with Coco Chanel. I wonder what it was like for her as a woman in a man’s world creating such a global and inspiring business and challenging so many of society’s norms.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
Finding your own life balance takes time, and it is important to go your own way and not feel you have to follow in others footsteps.
Travel has had a two fold effect on me – it can make the balance harder to achieve at times through jet-lag and time zones ,but it can also be a great escape from reality and the daily grind which is a gift.
Life is short, and being as happy as you can and having as much fun as you can whether at work, home or with friends creates true life balance too.
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