Friday April 8, 2016, 10:14 am, my hotel room, Fort Lauderdale, FL
I was sitting at my laptop returning text messages to clients about my upcoming trip to San Antonio when a wayward breeze blew far into my hotel room snapping me out of work mode. I was on a working vacation in Fort Lauderdale to get some much needed R&R and to work on my tan. I turned toward the sliding glass door leading to the balcony of this four-star hotel and walked to the balcony. This beautiful waterfront scene was a long overdue reminder that I am really fortunate to have this job. People always say to me, “Damn you’re lucky to have this job.” Or, “You must love to travel.” Or, “You must make a ton of money.”
All of the answers to those questions have unanticipated answers. I don’t have this job because I love to travel…it’s that I don’t mind the traveling…but, the traveling is finally starting to feel like work. And, it’s not like I plop into every city and have lines of customers throwing cash at me. Most of my clients don’t realize that every city is a gamble. Even some of my most popular cities have disappointing results more often than you would think. So, the money is not predictable and it’s definitely not consistent, but, it’s consistent enough to keep me employed and able to achieve some negligible financial goals.
But, the people I meet, the places I visit, and the stress free life from corporate america are definitely on the ‘pros’ side of the pros & cons list. And, I’m good at what I do and I take pride in the way I acknowledge my clients as well as in the unique way I approach massage therapy. And, the positive client feedback I receive is thee best form of job satisfaction.
I have the pleasure of spending intense one-on-one time with a lot of different men and I travel to unfamiliar places. Recently, I noticed that I equate the cities I visit not with their amazing histories, their beauty, or with their associated industries, but, with the types of businesses I patronize. For example, when I go to Columbus, OH, I always think of that rare freshly roasted coffee taste at Mission Coffee in the Short North, or of ricotta pancakes at NorthStar Cafe, or of designer underwear found in the clearance bin at Torso, or the bonfire at one of my favorite bars – Exile. I have promised myself that before I retire from this job I will take some sort of formal tour of each of these cities to deepen my connection to these places.
And, I don’t mind the driving but I do fly home every two weeks to reconnect with the ones I love. And, though, I usually have close friends or family in most cities I visit, I can’t help but wonder about my own roots in my own city. I want the next chapter in my life to involve less travel and more routine.
There’s a lot to be said for routine when you don’t have it. I want my future routine to be waking up every day next to someone I love; cooking food network inspired meals in my own kitchen with my own cookware; consistent workouts with my dominatrix lesbian vampiress personal trainer (more on her in another post); biweekly manicures and pedicures (so I don’t look like someone who could swoop down out of the sky to catch his own dinner); weekly yoga; movie night with my friends; etc, etc
I continued to stare over the balcony toward the water and compared this career to my last. And, to be honest, I don’t miss my last job…anymore. When the company folded, I endured a very long grieving period because I was there from the beginning. And, like the other staff members, after a few years, my own identity became synonymous with the company’s identity. It was an eighteen year employment history and when the company died a big part of ‘me’ died. But working with my hands on men in other cities forced me away from home and distracted me with new surroundings and new people so I could heal.
And, I will always credit my friend Andy for introducing me to this work. Coincidentally, Andy lives in Fort Lauderdale, and, once again, he has come to my aid by loaning me one of his massage tables so I could save the $150 the airlines would charge to fly my own table to Florida. “…and DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT RENTING A CAR,” he ordered. “I’ll pick you up….SAVE YOUR MONEY!”
My hotel room is not on the beach but it’s close enough. My travel & vacation budget don’t allow for $250/day beach front rooms. My budget in paradise is less than $150/day. And, all of my hotel room costs have been been paid for by working on a client in the morning and a client in the evening. Sometimes, I imagine what it would be like to live in Fort Lauderdale and to visit the beach most everyday. (Sigh) Now, that’s a thought that makes me smile.
Note: It took me longer than I wanted to finish this post. And, that it took me longer was in itself a message to myself to clarify what I am working towards rather than simply waiting for the waves of encouragement to push me wherever. I have noticed in my writing that when I am clear and passionate about a subject the words flow more easily. It was apparent that I was, and, still may not be clear about the subject of this post. But, I’m sure I will continue to explore this area over and over in an effort to make my end destination a more precise one.