Please keep in mind that I know how totally ridiculous the title of this post sounds, but you’ll understand in a few moments.
If you follow along with me on Instagram, you likely noticed that I took a little escape in early June and headed south to St. Lucia, specifically to The BodyHoliday at LeSport. What you might not know is how profoundly magical this place has been in my life.
A few months back, the Academy of Culinary Nutrition had a booth at the Yoga Conference and The BodyHoliday had a booth directly across from us. I don’t believe in coincidence and when Andrew, who was the hotel manager when I worked there eight years ago, suggested I come back down and check it out, there was no way I could say no. See, it was The BodyHoliday in St. Lucia that first lit the spark for the work I am now doing.
Let me explain.
My first job after university was for a company called My Travel Canada, which runs discount charter holidays (putting my fashion degree to work from the start!). My job, or part of it at least, was to write the resort descriptions that went into their annual holiday brochure. I had to review the specs from the hotel and travel agencies and update the descriptions as needed. As I would plough through these resort blurbs, all sounding like the same cookie-cutter heat-lamp buffet mass hotel, The BodyHoliday stood out. I wrote about the focus on healthy food, the abundance of activities from yoga to hiking to sailing, the intimate size, the amazing dining options, and the clincher for me – the daily inclusive spa treatments.
I moved on from this job after only three months, but my vision of this place stayed. I thought I had discovered paradise. Their slogan “Give us your body for a week, we’ll give you back your mind” had me sold. I was very sick at this time, miserable in my job, totally lost and reading the self-indulgent poor-little-first-world-young-adult book: “Quarter Life Crisis: The Unique Challenges of Life In Your Twenties“.
Six months later, for my 25th birthday in 2004, my mom and I used up my travel credits I’d earned in my short time at that job and went to The BodyHoliday. And it was perfect. As my mom and I were eating dinner one night I said to her, “I need to figure out a way to work at a place like this.” I had no idea that the sparks that were flying in the cosmos and that the universe was suddenly lining everything up to make that possible.
I had no idea the sparks that were flying in the cosmos and that the universe was suddenly lining everything up to make that possible.
As life rolled along my health continued to deteriorate, until in 2006 my Crohn’s diagnosis inspired me to go to nutrition school. Part of completing my designation required a co-op work placement. I made my wish, cast it out in the universe (and sent the biggest self-promoting-cheerleading letter I could draft up to the spa manager at the resort). I got a great big YES in return. It was set, I would be going back to The BodyHoliday to work as their resident nutritionist for four weeks (later extended to three months).
And it was awesome.
I spent my first three months as a nutritionist interning at The BodyHoliday. I worked a lot with the chef to offer guidance on gluten-free and dairy-free menus, I created a fundamentals of nutrition course for the massage therapists and aestheticians, I did trainings for the staff on nutrition, food sensitivities and allergies, I did presentations for guests on whole foods, and I offered one-on-one consultations. When I said that I needed to figure out a way to work at a place like this, in my mind, I assumed I would be moving and stacking beach chairs. Never in my wildest imagination did I think this is how it would all unfold.
And so when I saw Andrew at the yoga conference and he suggested my husband and I come down, I felt like once again, the universe was waving the magic wand.
Josh and I travel quite a bit, but much of our travel takes a little bit of work. We need to find places to stay with kitchens, seek out the nearest health food stores and markets, find UnDiet approved restaurants. It’s mighty fun but it takes planning. All inclusives do not. The problem is that most all inclusives are more about partying, cheap food, chlorinated pools and discos. Not my jam.
All I had to do for this trip was book the flight, pre-select our schedule of spa treatments and pack a bikini, a sunhat, and a few basic supplements. I mean, come on?! We were literally jumping for joy the whole time we were there!
Of course, as with any hotel, you can be as conscious or as indulgent as you choose. We choose to eat light breakfasts, and loads of juices and smoothies through the day. We had our lunch in the main restaurant and were able to put together customized salads with organic greens and a selection of toppings. We were able to eat gluten and dairy-free, and many menu items were labelled (I did suggest that ALL items, buffet included, carry the same labels so hopefully that happens soon). I would also love to see a few more UnDiet approved menu options, and perhaps some protein-rich vegan options too, but they are definitely well ahead of the game on both of those fronts. Our most common bar order was soda water and lime as we don’t do the cocktail thing. We kept our beach towels for a few days to reduce the amount of laundry, declined house keeping for most of our stay, and used our own coconut oil for massages as I prefer fragrance-free rub downs.
Most of all we played. We were up early to do a spinning or yoga class, would have breakfast and then more activities. As we were there for “Jive June”, there were rockstar dance instructors teaching classes and how I wish I could share the video of Josh rocking it like MJ to “Beat It”. I was all over the aqua fit, while Josh hit bulls-eyes at archery. I hit up Pilates while Josh played volleyball, and water-skied. We beached, we napped, we ate and most of all – we had the most perfect time.
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Our computers were kept closed the entire week (and there are no TVs in the rooms). No decisions needed to be made except for what we wanted to do next – where no wrong choices could be made. Many of the St. Lucian women I got to work with at the spa seven years ago are still there and it was so sweet to get to see them and catch up. Working here was definitely a dream come true, but getting to come back for vacation with my husband, and to review if for you – well this was truly one of the best holidays of my life!
Coming back to The BodyHoliday eleven years after I wrote about it at my very first grown up job tied up the last decade of personal challenges, development and professional evolution in the most perfect sun-soaked little bow. This experience invited me to see how true it is that the universe conspires in our favour. Our wishes are the commands of our lives. We really have no clue what will happen in the future. We don’t know at the time what conversations will stick with us, what thoughts will be the ones that ultimately become manifested, or what role people and places will have on the directions we travel and where we land.
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