Several years ago I was a very small hamster running endlessly around on a very large wheel. The proud owner of a high street day spa and training school in Somerset, UK, that was printing me money, but killing me softly.
At nearly 50 years old, my children were slowly leaving the nest and finding their own way in the world. But grey skies, pouring rain, local council ‘clipboarders’ and high taxes suddenly had no appeal to me, and that wretched wheel just kept grinding on and on, it was definitely time to change my life around. In a previous life, I had been introduced to what is known as the Mediterranean’s best-kept secret – a small island measuring just 14kms by 7kms nestled between Sicily and a part of the Maltese archipelago, known as Gozo, famous with SCUBA divers, and voted the 3rd best dive location in the world.
Not being in the enviable position of being able to retire to such an idyllic place, I knew I would have to find employment, and on an island so small my options were limited to tourism. Something that I knew little of other than booking a flight and packing a suitcase. Not to be deterred, I sent my CV to the owner of one of the two, 5-star hotels on the island, Ta Cenc Hotel and Spa, and within a few hours of sending that CV the owner of the hotel emailed me requesting that I attend an interview.
How inconvenient, I thought, now, in the early days of December, I have to leave dreary, wet, freezing cold Somerset, and fly to sunny, warm Malta, to attend an interview on Gozo! So, that’s how I found myself on a small island in the heart of the Mediterranean, working in a real Spa, not a day Spa, but a proper Spa. A Spa with Jacuzzis, swim in swim out lagoon-style pools, steam rooms, saunas and a garden with endless sunshine, and where guests swanned around in robes and slippers with a soporific look in their eyes, and an ethereal glow to their skin.
I had packed my Renault scenic 4×4 with my worldly goods, important paperwork, my portable massage couch and oils, and my 10-year-old Jack Russell dog, Scoop (now, sadly, accommodating her permanent spot next to my meditation area in the garden) and took the 2500km drive south. Working and living on paradise island with wall to wall sunshine, downtime being spent on the beach, lazy bar-b-ques, and being able to SCUBA dive at the drop of a hat does have it’s own set of problems, believe it or not. But life as an ex-pat living in Malta is another story, for another day.
My days at Ta Cenc finished after 18 months, I felt that my work there was done and that I had achieved as much as I could. Observing the island and what it had to offer for tourists during my first few months living on Gozo, I quickly noticed that there was a gap in the market for high quality, or ‘boutique’ being the new buzz word, bed and breakfast facility. There wasn’t one luxury, high standard, bed and breakfast on the island. It was time to change that, and I think I have found the perfect property to offer such a facility.
I was 57 years old in June, and I think that I am proof that it is never too late to change your life around, despite what life throws at you. For the first time in my life, I am thoroughly enjoying my work, my downtime, and I am in complete control of my life.