Richard Branson Reveals What It's Really Like to Vacation With the Obamas
It sounds even more fun than expected.
Mere days after leaving their official duties as the President and First Lady of the United States, Michelle and Barack Obama were on a plane headed to Richard Branson’s Necker Island.
The gorgeous location, nestled in the British Virgin Islands, was apparently the breath of fresh air the couple needed after eight long years of serving the public, according to Branson’s new autobiography, "Finding My Virginity." In fact, in an excerpt about greeting the couple on the welcome dock to the island, Branson says Michelle turned to him and simply said, “We’re free.”
“I’ve never been one for reserve, and Barack and Michelle were eager to do away with formalities, too,” he wrote in his book. “When one of our team asked how to address the former First Lady, she gleefully shouted, ‘Michelle!'”
This isn’t the first time Branson has shared details about the Obamas' visit to the island. In a blog post, the famed businessman detailed their time together on Necker, including his time in the water with Barack.
“One of the first stories Barack told me when he and Michelle arrived on Moskito Island was how, just before he became President, he had been surfing on a dangerous break in Hawaii,” Branson wrote in the post. “When he came in from an exhilarating session, the new head of his security team turned to him and said: ‘This will be the last time you surf for eight years.’ For the next eight years he didn’t have the chance to surf, enjoy watersports or do many of the things he loved.”
So to indulge the newly-retired president, Branson took him out on the water for a day of fun-filled activities including water skiing and kite boarding.
“Barack started learning to kitesurf on the beach on Necker for two days solid, picking up the basics and flying a kite as if going back to being a child again,” Branson said. “Then he went into the water, standing up and getting a feel for the kite. Finally, he put the board at his feet and gave it a go. Being the former president of America, there was lots of security around, but Barack was able to really relax and get into it.”
According to Branson’s book, the Obamas enjoyed themselves so much that at the end of their 10-day stay, Michelle got a little teary-eyed and asked, “‘Can we just bottle this up and keep this vibe?'”
Of course, the former commander-in-chief’s family vacations didn’t stop there. As Travel + Leisure reported, the couple has since been on an around-the-world adventure, stopping in Italy, Bali, French Polynesia, and more — so perhaps Michelle figured out how to “bottle” that feeling up after all.