Coming Full Circle (Part 2)

gallery vitality 7Once I was content with having worked at the best hotels and spas on the Australian island resorts, I turned my attention to opportunities abroad. I finally left years of the island lifestyle to pursue work in the beautiful Cotswolds region of the UK, working at a spa at an old manor where the treatment rooms were once horse stables! Then onto an unforgettable stint in the remote wilderness of Vancouver Island in Canada, working at a spa located on the rocky cliffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

These experiences were just getting better and better, and I realised that I was in fact living my dream – to work and travel at the same time. The more places I travelled to, the more I learnt about other places and spas. Before I knew it, my list kept getting longer and longer. To this day, that has not changed! And this excites me!

I have a strong belief that everything does happen for a reason, and to trust that the Universe has plans for us that are far greater than what we could ever imagine! So, as it turned out, the Universe did have other plans for me. Plans that still continue to evolve.

Just when my career in the spa industry was getting more exciting and the opportunities kept flowing, I was to encounter a massive curve ball. I got burnt out. Big time. I injured my back so severely that I could not move or dress myself. The most debilitating and excruciating pain I have ever experienced. I was now physically and emotionally burnt out. The years of always giving, giving, giving, and rarely receiving, had finally taken their toll. I had battled skin conditions such as dermatitis from being a therapist, and the obvious muscular aches and pains, but nothing as serious as spinal degeneration. The constant repetitive actions of being a therapist had damaged my L5 and S1 vertebrae. I could not massage. I could not perform any spa treatments at all. I could not sit. I could not stand.

How ironic, working in the Wellness industry, helping people understand the importance of taking care of themselves by being fit and healthy, when in fact, I was not taking care of myself!

So after this wake-up call and much soul searching, the next progression in my career was to become involved in the management side of the spa industry and be exposed to the operational aspect of running a successful business. My background as spa therapist was essential for this, and over a period of 6 years I took a step back from being a hands-on therapist. My role now was to operate Spas, train and manage teams of therapists by implementing all of the skills I had learnt over the years. These were perhaps the most challenging and rewarding years of my spa career, and ultimately set me up with the knowledge to operate my own small business today.

Taking a break from being a hands-on therapist also ignited a new passion for me – fitness. I had always led an active lifestyle and had an interest in fitness, but now I was starting to think that I would like to become qualified as a Personal Trainer, and incorporate this new skill with my current spa background, to offer guests a complete package of Wellness services. I could focus on a holistic approach to helping people achieve their Ultimate Lifestyle.

And this was to be the start of yet another amazing chapter! I became a qualified Personal Trainer and for 12 months managed a hectic lifestyle of training clients at the gym before working my full time job as Spa Supervisor, then train more clients after work. I was putting in 14-15 hour days, 7 days a week, and did this for a year! But I did it because I loved what I was doing! Eventually I made a very hard decision to leave the security of my full time spa job to focus on operating my own small business. I was at the stage where I knew that everything I had learnt over the years could be implemented into my own business to build my own dream, instead of being hired to help someone else build theirs!

Like any journey, the road was not straight. It had obstacles. There were hill climbs and vertical drops. The road curved and bent and was full of pot holes. Sometimes the road was busy with traffic and sometimes I was travelling solo. There were signs everywhere “CAUTION”, “REDUCE SPEED”, “GIVE WAY”, “STOP”, “GO”, “ROUNDABOUT AHEAD”, “EXIT”, “ONE WAY”…….

Fast forward to today and I am still travelling on that same road. Aware of the warning signs but keeping focused on my destination.

Because I want to be the best version of myself that I can be, I am always open to new opportunities that I can learn from. Opportunities that challenge me and take me out of my comfort zone. Opportunities that allow me to travel and share my love of fitness and health. I’ve recently returned from the wonderful experience of working and living in the Maldives, where once again my passion for what I do was re-confirmed.

I love how life flows in unexpected ways. This is what excites me – not knowing what will happen next, but trusting that I am on the right path for right now.

Writing this blog has made me so proud of what I have achieved so far. It has brought back wonderful memories and reminds me of how far I have come on my journey. I urge you to try it – write a story of your life so far. I guarantee it will be filled with incredible chapters. But just like my story, your story will also be full of blank pages that are yet to be written……..

 

 

 

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Coming Full Circle (part 1)

20160125_100158 “you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards”

“A massage therapy course…….that sounds like fun!” These were my thoughts back in the late 90’s when I didn’t really have much of a career plan. Little did I know at the time, that some 14 years later I would still be working in the Wellness industry as a qualified massage therapist and personal trainer, operating my own small business empowering people to live their Ultimate Lifestyle.

When I started my massage therapy course, it became clear that I was really good at it and I actually enjoyed doing it! I just kept signing up to learn new modalities and after 3 years of full time study, it was time to put all my current knowledge into practice. The opportunities that are available in the Wellness industry are endless. Now I needed to decide which direction I wanted to go. Would I work for myself from home or offer mobile massage? Did I want to do corporate massage? Work in a physio or chiropractic clinic? Or did I want to work in the spa industry and offer other treatments too? The one thing I was certain of, was that I wanted, no, needed, to travel.

So for the next 14 years my journey presented me with the opportunity to travel to the most exclusive destinations around the world, sharing my passion of fitness and health with people.

I started working on the tropical island resorts along the east coast of Australia, where I was fortunate enough to be trained by numerous spa care ranges, learning an extensive menu of services that I would offer as a Spa Therapist. How exciting to learn body exfoliations and wraps, facials, hand, foot and scalp treatments, hydrotherapy and vichy shower treatments, to name a few.

Now that I had been welcomed into the world of Spa my passion grew even more. I loved the variety of treatments I could now offer, which made every day at work totally different. Having studied Aromatherapy at college certainly helped with learning all of the new spa products and their ingredients, and I loved learning the philosophies behind the product companies.

Over the years I refined all of my techniques to offer exceptional services to discerning guests including high profile celebrities and royalty (sorry, no name dropping! Confidentiality agreement. But let’s just say that although I have experience looking after this calibre of guest, I treat all of my guests with the same high level of service)

So the next 4 years were spent offering luxurious spa services, and working and living in paradise on different island resorts. The spas were all very unique in their own way, and certainly incorporated the surrounding beauty of the island.

My lifestyle became very different from living on the mainland. I no longer had a car or the freedom to do what I wanted when I wanted. Accommodation was shared living and all meals were served during allocated times. So, if I didn’t get along with my roomie or didn’t like the food options, I just had to learn to accept, adapt and learn from the experience. It takes a certain type of person to leave the comfort of their home and freedom of the mainland, to move to a remote island only accessible by sea plane or long boat rides, and live there for 6 months or even 12 months. It takes courage and risk. It means stepping out of your comfort zone and being open to new opportunities.

But it also means creating wonderful friendships with new friends, laying on white sandy beaches, diving in crystal clear warm water, taking helicopter and sea plane flights above the incredible Great Barrier Reef, hiking through pristine Daintree rainforest, eating fresh seafood, sunset cruises, whale watching, swimming with dolphins, watching marine turtles dig their nest to lay eggs, and then months later helping the little hatchlings safely reach the ocean, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding,  enjoying picnics on secluded islands, watching beautiful sunrises and sunsets………just some of the wonderful memories I have!

And I can say with all honesty, that the decision I made back in 2002 to start my career in the Wellness industry and travel the world by doing it, has been the best decision yet!

 

Want to know what happens next? I continue my journey in “Coming Full Circle Part 2”