Dec 17 2022
Written By Liz Rodriguez
This blog is about the essence of travel. And I want to connect that with how it can liberate us, specifically as instructors. We are the rock, the constant in people’s lives. For years I was the recipient of stories from clients when they traveled to far away places. I smiled and nodded as they gushed over the beauty, the food, and the culture. But inside my mind raced. When will that be me? When will I leave these 4 walls of a gym to travel myself, outside of the roughly 2 weeks per year I get as vacation?
I am now on the other side. I am the traveler, the wanderer. When I get the opportunity to sub, I am the relief pitcher. I come in with passion, vigor, new exercises, new experiences for that client. I am the one who gets to tell the stories of my travels, of being a “vagabond” as my mother calls me. Where do you live? I’m not afraid anymore to say “nowhere actually”.
Being a traveling instructor feels like 2 worlds colliding. It’s this faraway gift many of us never fathomed being able to do. We trained our clients while dreaming of the next chapter and what awaited us. It didn’t seem possible yet that we could teach and train in different places. We were taught that staying in the same place is the best way to “build up”, “create a following”, and “create stability” for ourselves.
Living on the road is a bit different than hopping from one resort to another though. It takes patience, trust, and diversity. The days are filled with scheduling. Scheduling workout and shower time, virtual training time, coaching time, cooking time, and camp set-up time. It demands creativity and focus when sometimes the office is the car, a campground table, or even a laundromat.
But we got there. We created the opportunity to wander, to explore, and to experience. We allowed ourselves a new chapter that isn’t inside 4 walls day in and day out. There are days when I miss stability. I miss meeting new clients in person and progressing classes together, watching them grow and evolve amongst each other.
Yet at the core of it all, it’s still the same. I walk into a room with individuals ready to learn about themselves and their bodies. I teach footwork, the 100, and feet in straps as if it’s the first time they’ve ever experienced it. I challenge them through the ab series and long box with vigor and strong cueing. I smile and laugh with them during short box and chair work. I commend them for their hard work after getting through that teaser on the mat to finish the session.
Aside from yearning to travel and wander, we all long to be part of something. Something that is bigger than ourselves, a community, a religion. My career has taken so many twists and turns. But the most rewarding part of it all has always been the Pilates. It has made me feel special, a part of a community that has supported me in Chicago, New York City, Westchester, the suburbs where I grew up in Illinois, Wisconsin, and most recently, Louisville.
We have a common language and it’s called Pilates. Wherever I travel to teach, I am always welcome when I speak it.
Liz Rodriguez is a traveling Pilates Instructor and member of PlankeApp currently writing a book on her overlanding travels; follow her story at https://lizrodriguez.substack.com/p/the-journey-begins?sd=pf.