Recently, BUCKITDREAMER Akville was awarded 2 VIP experiences to go to Necker Cup on Richard Branson’s Island. Here are the highlights from her and her fiance’s BUCKiTDREAM /Necker Cup Dream experience, and a week at Necker Island. Check out our interview with her about her once in a lifetime opportunity!
Tell Us About Yourself.
Hello! I’m Akvile Harlow, a digital marketing strategist and consultant by day and a bucket lister by mornings, nights, and weekends.
How Did You Feel When You Found Out You Won the Trip?
Upon announcement, I was speechless, ecstatic, grateful, and in partial disbelief. I don’t think it really hit us that we were going until we were en route. My fiance had to repeatedly ask if I was kidding when I told him and asked if he’d join me. I’ve always wanted to visit the British Virgin Islands and it was on my bucket list to hopefully meet Sir Richard Branson some day. To visit his island, have dinner, and hang out with him all week, was above and beyond a dream turned reality.
Who Did You Take With You?
I took my fiance Zane with me.
How Was You & Your Fiance’s Travel to the Airport and Hotel? Any fun memories or first-time moments?
Travel was long but totally worth the trip and the experiences we had. The fun memories started when we hopped into a Cessna to fly from Puerto Rico to Beef Island (BVI). It was a tiny plane, which had us a bit nervous, but the flight was smooth, we had a stellar pilot, and the views from the plane were surreal. The islands below were an awe-inducing sight. We took ferry boats between islands so much that week that we made friends with the two captains. They taught us about the islands, how to sail, and we shared a lot of fun stories throughout the week. When we arrived at Bitter End Yacht Club, where we were staying for the week, our room was a hut embedded on the Virgin Gorda mountain side. Surrounded by colorful and lush green plants, we had an unobstructed view of the ocean, palm trees, and other islands in the distance. Each morning, before we set out for an adventure filled the day, we hung out on our patio in the hammock. One evening, we ordered a lobster pizza at the local pub and enjoyed it on our patio. This place and this trip were better than any bucket list adventure and relaxation filled honeymoon that we were planning for next year!
What Was On Your Itinerary?
We flew from Los Angeles, connected in Miami, and extended our layover in Puerto Rico for an extra day so that we can explore since I had not been before and wanted to cross off the BUCKiTDREAM bucket list. Viejo San Juan is such a colorful and history filled city. Highly recommend visiting some day if you have a chance. The people, architecture, and food are fantastic! After San Juan, we flew a small cesna airplane to Beef Island in the British Virgin Islands. We then took a water taxi for about 30-40 minutes to Virgin Gorda, where we stayed for the duration of the week, at the Bitter End Yacht Club. Each day during the Necker Cup, we took a 15-minute boat ride to Necker Island.
How Was The British Virgin Islands and Necker Cup?
The BVI’s were breathtaking. The beautiful green island surrounded by turquoise waters were straight out of what you would expect in a Caribbean postcard. They are a vista of what daydreams are made of. Out of a total of about 50 islands and cayes, we were able to visit 3 (Beef Island, Virgin Gorda, and Necker Island) and passed by a number of others by airplane and by boat as we made our trip. While most are uninhabited, it’s incredible to see such undisturbed beauty.
Did you achieve any other bucket list experiences/moments while you were on this experience?
We sure did! We took a sailing lesson and learned how to sail a Hobie sailboat around Necker Island, which was exhilarating. We wanted to also learn how to kiteboard and windsurf, however, we were unable to due to the wind not being strong enough or lessons were booked up. Hopefully next time! I also took my first stand up paddle board yoga class at Bitter End Yacht Club. No better way to start a morning now after having experienced that! We also had an opportunity (or three) to hang out with lemurs, to hold them, pet them, and to feed them. Necker Island is home to many that are part of the conservation program since some are endangered due to poaching in their home country of Madagascar. We fell in love with them and learned so much about their species. And if I had known this could be a bucket list thing, I’m not retroactively adding it to the list and crossing it off; I was offered a ride on a 67-year-old, 600lb tortoise that resides on Necker Island. What a ride and what a majestic animal. We also went kayaking together for the first time and kayaked out to a split bar on the outskirts of Necker Island. We pulled our kayak onto the small strip of sand and laid around and snorkeled around the split bar. Saw some colorful fish! We have also always wanted to jump on a water trampoline and they had one on the Turtle Beach side of Necker Island. We went out there one day and there wasn’t a single person there aside from Zane and I. We swam out to it and took turns getting some air and jumping into the water. We then hung out and had an entire beach to ourselves that afternoon. Unreal!
How were the Necker Cup events? What was your favorite part?
Each day, we hung out at the Beach House on Necker Island which hosted the Necker Cup and we watched tennis matches. As this being our very first professional tennis competition, we enjoyed spectating and meeting a number of players. There were many favorite moments during the Necker Cup and its events. In addition to the matches, each day had a number of memorable and incredible events. The first night, we attended an intimate dinner with Necker Cup guests on a beach, surrounded by hundreds of flamingos on one side and the ocean on the other. We had the honor of sitting next to Sir Richard Branson and his wife for dinner that first night. This by far was the highlight among all highlights of this trip. A dinner conversation we will remember and reminisce for years to come. After dinner, Jewel performed for us as we sat on blankets and chairs on the beach, under the stars. She is such a kind and amazing singer and story teller. The second night after dinner, theAustralian sister DJ duo, Nervo performed and we danced all night. The third night, we met and attended the Mike Tyson Q&A. He has such a raw, genuine, and incredible life story. Super nice guy and what a talented fighter. The fourth and final night, Robin Thicke performed at “The End of The World” closing night part on the beach. This will definitely go down as the most memorable week of our lives to date. It’s something we will be telling our kids about some day.
What would you like to achieve next on your bucket list?
We would love to attempt kiteboarding again since we weren’t able to earlier this month, however, the winter months have arrived so we will put that off until next year when things warm up again here. In the meantime, we’re looking into driving some exotic cars (Lamborghini, Ferrari, Porsche Carrera GT, or a Bugatti), go paintballing or zorbing with some friends, mash grapes with my feet at a winery and channel my inner Lucille Ball, or milk a cow, because, well, why not?
What’s your biggest dream?
I have many, however, one of those biggest dreams came true on Necker Island. Sir Richard Branson is someone I have admired since childhood in terms of how he lives his life to the fullest and how he is a driven and successful businessman who lives life on his terms. I have aspired to do just that with my life in that I have had a bucket list since I was a child and I’m always adding to it and crossing off experiences. I try to do at least once thing each month from it. I also started my first company two years ago and while nowhere near his caliber yet, I look forward to what upcoming years bring.
What inspires you to dream?
Knowing that I have this one lifetime to experience as much as I can and that I have people in my life that I love dearly and want to share experiences, memories, and stories with. Work hard and smart, dream even harder, turn your dreams into reality and help others do the same.
Any last thoughts or comments?
A bottomless bowl of gratitude goes to Buckitdream and your team for choosing us the winners to go to Necker Island and have a week of a lifetime. Thank you.
Check out other items on Akvile’s bucket list, her profile can be found on the app: @akvile