Wednesday, January 18, 2012


A lot of people ask me, "Why?"

Why are you going?

Why the BVI?


Well, there are a lot of answers.

I've always loved traveling. The thrill of a new place, new people, new sights. Unfortunately I haven't had the opportunity to do nearly as much as I'd like.

From the very beginning of massage school I knew that I wanted to travel with my new career. At first I thought maybe cruise line or resort work, something to get me moving around and seeing more of the world. There were SO many opportunities! My instructor (Jenni) lived and worked in the Caribbean! Holy cow!

I survived the crazy year of massage school and started seriously thinking about my future. This was prior to the spa opening, so I was working on my own out of a little studio space in Tacoma while also working part time at a law office and going to school. Oh, and I had gotten married and bought a condo with my husband. Lots and lots of changes in a short amount of time.

Although my life was feeling pretty settled, I still had the itch to take my hands on the road. My ex and I had discussed the possibility of me doing massage on cruise ships or elsewhere; he knew it was important to me.

A fellow LMP friend tipped me off to a job posting he found for a massage gig at a lovely resort on Guam. I emailed the place. I heard back from the hiring manager. He liked my credentials and my attitude. We set up for a Skype practical interview. He said it was looking very good. We discussed contracts.

Then my husband flipped. He didn't want me to go alone, he didn't want to come with me, he didn't want me to go, period. So, I dropped it. The opportunity slipped through my fingers in the name of marital bliss.

Well, as you most likely know, forever-'til-death-do-us-part didn't exactly happen. We split in late 2009. I spent much of the next year kind of putting my life back together - emotionally, physically, spiritually, mentally - and I was fortunate enough to be working full time at the spa and enjoying the little bit of routine and normalcy that was returning to my life. I thought that nursing school was the answer to my uncertainty about my future. I debated looking into massage gigs in other places now that I didn't have the ex holding me back, but my dad's health was not well and I had the constant worry that I'd be away when The Call came. I'd never forgive myself if that were the case. So, I stayed put.

In late 2010 I returned to classes, started working towards RN prereqs...and then I had a massive mental break down. Three weeks later, my dad died.

My dad died. My dad died. I was 28, I was divorced, I'd tried to end my own life 2 weeks before, and my dad had a heart attack the day after Thanksgiving, went into a coma, and died 10 days later. I thought my world was crashing around me before Dad's heart attack. Then he wasn't there to talk to and bounce ideas off of and laugh with and he was chained up to that hospital bed with the tubes and machines and the beeping...

The night Daddy ended up dying, I had been invited to a grief service at the church of an acquaintance.  Before I left for church I asked my family if I could talk to Dad alone for a bit. I told him how much I loved him, how lucky I was to have him as my dad, how I'd always love him.  I tried to say all the important things I thought needed to be said. Then I told him if he wanted to go while I was gone, that it was ok. That I would understand. Less than an hour later I had texts from my brother and sister that I should come to the hospital immediately. Knowing that I was always the sensitive one, Dad chose to go while I was not at his side and really tried to slip away with no one noticing. He was that kinda guy.

I'll never, ever get the image of my daddy, lifeless and cold, from my brain. To say I lost my shit would be an understatement.

2010 came to a close and I made the choice. It was either let my grief and pain swallow me whole or rise from the ashes and put my life back together. I chose to rise, to thrive, to let my life get bigger and better.

2011 rolled around. As I dealt with my grief (which I am still very much in the middle of), I started to think about what I truly wanted from my life. It became very clear that spa work is my life's passion. After praying and thinking and asking people I love and respect, I decided not to go back to the RN schooling path and to instead commit to the spa industry and further my skills there. Also, I decided it was time to live my life for me. Not for anyone else, not dictated by anyone else. For me.

A dear friend told me she was thinking of moving to the BVI, and the wheels started to turn. I'm relatively young. I'm single. I don't have kids. I don't have a mortgage (I gave him the condo in the divorce). I no longer had the overwhelming fear of getting The Call about my dad keeping me in the area. I have this amazing career that can take me anywhere. I finally had the opportunity to spread my little wings and fly.

So, that's why. Because I can. Because I deserve it. Because Dad would want me to. Because life is too short and precious to not take big risks.

The BVI is safe, it's a spa hub, it uses the US dollar and English is the official language, it's GORGEOUS, and I'll never have to worry about de-icing my car or freaking out about snow. I feel happy and at peace there. I feel close to God, and close to Dad.

So, there's some of the answers to the "Why?" question.