Since my parents got divorced when I was very young, I would spend most of my school breaks with my dad. And while he wasn’t one to buy gifts for me on holidays or birthdays, we did take some great trips together (maybe that’s why I’m so passionate about helping people lose the stuff in their lives and make more memories together!).
From a young age, I remember going on cruises and traveling abroad to some very exotic locales. Traveling intoxicated me to the point that I literally remember thinking that I would be ok if he just left me to live in some of those places!
I have especially vivid memories from a trip I took at the age of six. My dad and I went to a Club Med (my first of many to come) in Eleuthera, Bahamas. Even more than the pink sand beaches, I recall being independent from my dad for one of the first times in my life. You see, they had a kids club where parents could drop us off after breakfast and not see us again until after dinner.
While this may seem like an oxymoron for a trip that was meant for quality time between a dad and his daughter, it was actually very empowering for me and would play a big role in determining my future goals.
You see, instead of hiding in my dad’s shadow, depending on him for my entertainment and self-worth, I spent my days scuba diving, learning French, making friends, swinging from a high-flying trapeze and yes, even climbing on a Ringling Brothers Circus expert with five other kids as he rode a bike around the stage.
This was the beginning of understanding and truly believing that not only is it ok to embrace life, but there is power in pursuing your passion.
From that point on, I knew I would one day work for Club Med…and that I did. After I finished my Masters Degree, I joined the G.O. (gentil organisateur= kind host in French) team and went to live and work at Sonora Bay in Guaymas, Mexico. Not only did I get to use my expertise as a tennis pro, I was able to sing and dance nightly while working on learning more languages and meeting people from around the world. Though the hours were long and the temperatures incredibly hot, my time spent there taught me a lot about myself.
In the next year I would go on to live and work in Paradise Island, Bahamas and become one of the few tennis pros chosen to train with the ATP (the men’s pro tennis tour) and eventually teach intensive ATP clinics to those who wanted a unique tennis experience that involved learning new skills and playing with tour professionals. After becoming their number one rated pro in the world, I suffered a back injury that would eventually lead to my leaving the island and moving to Florida to rehab (more on that story another time…)
My years at Club Med will live with me for my lifetime and always remind me that not only is it ok to try new things, but that you can actually make a living from doing what you love and encouraging others to do the same. While I wouldn’t suggest this path for everyone, the lessons learned can be valuable for anyone.
Until next time,