Teaching and Traveling
Pilates Pro’s as you know I love teaching and traveling! But, this week’s guest blogger Roxy takes teaching and traveling to a whole new level. She has a wonderful story to share and tips for you to take your Pilates teaching around the world. I’m going to let her take it from here!
I’m always a bit surprised when I meet people that are fascinated by what I do and where I’ve lived, only because I believe everyone has a fascinating story and I’ve met so many amazing people with interesting lives.
At the end of the day, if you’re serving the world in a healthy manner with something you’re passionate about, I would say that’s special and exotic regardless of your geographical location. However, if you’ve been stung by the ‘travel bug’ or just curious about what it’s like to teach Pilates and live in different locations around the world than I’d love to share a bit of my story with you.
I could write a novel on this subject with chapters that cover; living in one place for an extended period, guest teaching short-term, teaching at retreats, working with a hotel chain, on a cruise ship or moving somewhere new and starting your own business. They are all very different experiences. There’s a difference between working with someone for a week vs. a month vs. 2 or 3 years. There’s a difference between being a guest or living in that environment.
I have lived and taught Pilates in Paris, throughout Turkey, Thailand and Canada, as well as guest, taught or presented in London, Greece, Spain, Beirut, and Germany (not to mention the occasional client in Monaco or Nice).
How did I end up in all of these places? A clear intention.
My World Traveling Pilates Journey
For me, a sense of travel has always been innate, and it was through dance that I was introduced to Pilates. When I finally decided to hang up my dance leotard and make my lulu leggings (aka Pilates career) primary, I went to work. I sent out dozens of CV’s and cover letters to various headquarters for cruise ships, resorts, and touring companies, not to mention talking to colleagues and friends. I was determined to travel and teach; I didn’t even entertain the idea of finding a temporary job.
This was back in 2005, and at that time Pilates was in the midst of exploding worldwide. I knew there was a window of opportunity for lucrative positions in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Mind you; I didn’t do it for the money – I was looking from a perspective that I could earn money doing what I’m passionate about and explore new places without going broke. I also knew that this window of opportunity wouldn’t remain open for long. Teacher training programs were expanding and creating instructor trainers that could lead and develop trainers in their own language and their own countries. Naturally. Hence, why Pilates is a household name.
My Pilates training centre has a Job Postings page, and at the time opportunities were ranging from Iceland to Jakarta. The posting for Istanbul, Turkey, caught my eye. A 3-month contract; perfect for my commitment phobia self. Within two weeks I was flown to New York for an interview/audition (teaching a class) and immediately afterward I was offered the position. I immediately accepted. I had decided before the interview that if I were offered the job, I would take it. Then it was signing contracts (this particular contract covered accommodation, airfare, stipend and a monthly salary), getting the tickets, packing and then off I went less than two weeks later.
I was off to a country that I knew absolutely nothing about. I wouldn’t have done it any other way – I went to Turkey with
no pre-conceived notions or expectations, I was completely open.
Nowadays, I wouldn’t recommend that, especially with our current state of affairs, it’s always a good idea to know even a little bit about where you’re going.
That was the beginning of this adventure, an adventure that branched out to more opportunities, mentors, beautiful friendships, life lessons, new perspectives and philosophies, enhanced trainings and evolving as an instructor.
It’s an adventure that hasn’t ended.
Guest blogger Roxy Menzies
So you may be thinking ‘I don’t even know where to start or how to find a job outside of my own country.’
No problem. First off – use all of your Profitable Pilates networking and business skills and talk to your colleagues when you’re at conventions and retreats. You’d be surprised who you may meet and never underestimate when that chance meeting can come back to you, think of it as planting seeds of ideas. Some seeds grow, some don’t, and some take time. Secondly – check out the websites of the Teacher Training programs, many of them have classifieds with studios all over the world looking for instructors.
There are many different options for teaching Pilates abroad, you may be hired for a particular studio or hotel chain, or your family may be relocated due to your partner’s job. In that case, you could reach out to studios about teaching possibilities before or after you arrive. Another option is to join various community and expatriate groups and offer your services.
Before You Embark On Your Journey
Here are few things to think about before you embark on your traveling Pilates journey.
Everything starts with a why. Your why gives you clarity and the foundation with which to make decisions that will enhance your experience. There’s no right or wrong answer, is it simply to say that you ate a croissant under the Eiffel Tower while you worked in Paris? Did you want a new experience and want to embrace working in a different culture? To learn a language? Save money? Escape a relationship(s)? To cross off a line on your bucket list?
Knowing what drives you will help you determine if you want an experience that’s short-term, long-term, in a warm climate, under what circumstances and working conditions and whether it’s feasible for the present moment or in the future. Going back to your why when you hit any obstacles will keep you motivated.
2) LOOK AT YOUR LIFE & BE REALISTIC
I’ve met instructors from all walks of life ranging from retiree’s to the young and single to families with young children that make it work. That’s why it comes down to your intention. If you’ve recently opened a studio, then it’s probably not the right time to go and teach abroad for six months. If one of your why’s is just to travel and explore, then you may be better off just taking a plain old vacation or attending a retreat or convention. That may end up being more worthwhile for you. If you’re in a committed relationship can and will your partner travel and work abroad as well? Anything is possible and at any phase of your life, but you do need to be smart about it, and it should be financially viable. You don’t want to end up abroad losing money and/or working crazy hours only to be too tired to enjoy the experience.
3) BE OPEN BUT KNOW YOUR BOUNDARIES
In general, you want to be open to the various opportunities out there, but you’ve got to be clear about your non-negotiables. Be clear about what your maximum hours are, the lowest you’ll accept as a salary and any other job expectations that you’re willing to do. It’s easy to get excited about a job opportunity in an exotic place and then later realize the expectations are not suitable for you.
Remember to breathe and take a moment to really think about any offers. It’s not always about money either, you may work for less pay for an area you’ve always wanted to go to, or there may be other perks to the job that outway a less ideal aspect (example free high-quality training for CEC’s or other modalities). And remember to follow your intuition, if something doesn’t feel right, honor that feeling and explore it further. You may decide, ‘I don’t care, I want
the adventure, I want to go with the flow’ that’s cool too, just always know that you made that choice. I’ve done that a few times, but now I’ve been in the game long enough and my current life priorities are different – so I’m much pickier. I can’t even count the number of people I’ve met that went on a holiday to a new place, fell in love with the city or a person, took a leap of faith and have never looked back. Anything is possible.
4) HAVE A CONTRACT
Make sure you have a contract, and you read through the whole thing. If you’re offered a job in a distant land, and they are not clear about the logistics or don’t want to use contracts – trust me, nine times out of 10 it’s going to be a headache for you. Some companies want a year or 2-year commitment, and the contract may have a clause that if you break the contract you have a penalty fee or you reimburse the company for certain expenses (work permit, etc.).
5) KNOW YOUR TAX EXEMPTIONS IN YOUR OWN COUNTRY
This is especially important if you live and work abroad long term. Each country is different and has their rules and regulations. You don’t want to be in trouble with the ‘tax man’ at any point.
There you have it, a few things to get you started. Adventures are fun and you never know where your life will take you. Teaching around the world has been invaluable to my growth not only as a human being but as an instructor. I’ve met amazing people as clients, friends, colleagues and I even met my husband abroad.
Roxy Menzies, originally trained in STOTT® Pilates is based between Istanbul and Toronto. Currently developing programs for Michael King Pilates she has taught dance and various movement modalities for the Canadian Educational system, professional dance companies, and Cirque du Soleil. She has presented, guest taught or performed in London, New York, Paris, Beirut, China, Turkey, and Thailand.
Got the travel bug? Or, just ready to try out a new location on for size? Be sure to comment, share and check out more from Roxy on her handles below. Thank you Roxy for your wonderful tips and beautiful story.
And, one last note from our dear Roxy
“The world is all gates, all opportunities, strings of tension waiting to be struck”.
RALPH WALDO EMERSON