When I was younger, travel for me was mostly about escape – about getting away from my so-called life to pretend for a few days that it was actually much more exciting and interesting than it really was. Traveling back then was also about projecting a certain status, about adding to the list of places I had been that could later be rolled out as needed to show my "sophistication" and worldliness to others. "Oh I've been there, haven't you?" I just loved to say.
Now, travel relates to learning about people. I thoroughly enjoy immersing myself in a new place, exploring the neighborhoods, watching people go about their day doing what they do, going where they go, being who they are. I like finding out about their ideas, customs, and cuisines, and why they think, do, and eat what they do. By learning about others in this way, I get outside of my own routine and perspective, often finding there is a different or even better way to live. Opening myself up to these other cultures of people gives me the chance to see what else is out there, what opportunities or practices exist in the world that fit me, and that I might adopt into my own life.
So what in the world does this have to do with the spa? In my mind, everything. While you may not have the sort of wanderlust I was born with, there is still a great opportunity to open your eyes and learn about the world around you right in your own workplace. In fact, it is highly likely that the staff inside of your spa or salon is as varied and diverse in their own cultures as all of the continents and countries of the world, although not necessarily by their nationality. I've had employees with many different backgrounds and groups: male, female, black, white, Asian, Israeli, Philippine, Pakistani, American, Hindu, Christian, Jewish, Southern, Northern, gay, straight, vegetarian, vegan, and carnivore. And let's not forget massage therapist, nail technician, aesthetician, cosmetologist, and support staff as an entirely different group of cultures!