Time to Take Care of Yourself


George at Schwedagon Pagoda, Yangon, Myanmar

For nearly seven years, I worked on a cruise ship. Everyone thinks it is such an easy job but we did work every day! All jobs have stresses and everyone needs to take care of him or herself. My friend, Nancy, and I even used to offer to be the tester in the Spa for new employees. We would let the manager know if they gave a good massage.

Recently I read in Psychology Today, “A strong work ethic is great—until it backfires. If vacationing seems too “lazy,” think of it as a needed strategy to stave off depression and disease.” Lately, I have heard so many people tell me, “I cannot take a vacation.” As a near perpetual traveler, I am not always sure how to respond. But I think I have the answer from my co-worker at Princess Cruises, Nancy, who is now back in England and mother of three. She told me she had a great massage in London. With the pressure to succeed and the uncertain job market, it may be true that some people cannot take time off to go far from home and really recharge. Whatever you do, you need to take care of yourself. If you can find an hour or two for yourself, that may be enough to regain perspective, recharge and move forward to the live the life you have always wanted.

Learning Thai Massage in Chiang Mai, Thailand

When my husband, George and I were in Chiang Mai, Thailand in 2008 we took a five-day massage class. I could not believe how hard it was! We worked from 9am to noon and from 2pm to 5pm. Of course, half of the time you were giving a massage and the rest receiving. I had no idea that giving a true Thai massage was such a workout. It feels a bit like passive yoga. I loved being in the class and thought when we returned to regular life that we would make an appointment to give and receive Thai massages. Sadly, that did not happen. When we went back to work, we just felt too tired to spend one hour and a half giving the other a massage. We did keep other commitments we made to our relationship but we still have not practiced what we learned in class.

Now back on the road for another year as a true vagabond, I am grateful for having my dreams come true. George and I spent 27 days in Burma in October for my 45th birthday. There were moments when I felt tortured by the 40degree heat and my series of five broken bicycles. I wished for an ice bath and a UK Spa Break, but overall it was an incredible inspiring trip. Every day on the road or on vacation is not postcard perfect but I hope we can inspire you to take a step to making your personal dreams come true. Each one of us needs to be pampered and remember our goals.

Lisa Ellen Niver

Lisa Niver is an award-winning travel expert who has explored 102 countries on six continents. This University of Pennsylvania graduate sailed across the seas for seven years with Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean, and Renaissance Cruises and spent three years backpacking across Asia. Discover her articles in publications from AARP: The Magazine and AAA Explorer to WIRED and Wharton Magazine, as well as her site WeSaidGoTravel. On her award nominated global podcast, Make Your Own Map, Niver has interviewed Deepak Chopra, Olympic medalists, and numerous bestselling authors, and as a journalist has been invited to both the Oscars and the United Nations. For her print and digital stories as well as her television segments, she has been awarded three Southern California Journalism Awards and two National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards and been a finalist twenty-two times. Named a #3 travel influencer for 2023, Niver talks travel on broadcast television at KTLA TV Los Angeles, her YouTube channel with over 2 million views, and in her memoir, Brave-ish, One Breakup, Six Continents and Feeling Fearless After Fifty.

3 responses to “Time to Take Care of Yourself

  1. I’m quite disappointed that someone as well traveled as you two would lie down in a revered temple (Shwedagon) in front of a Buddha statue. Not only is this incredibly rude to the local people and Buddhists, your foot is pointing toward the Buddha AND a nun.

    Would you pose like a statue of Jesus in a cathedral? Or like a Hindu god in a Hindu temple?

    1. Anne, Hello! Thank you for your comment. I can understand your feelings. Since I was not sure it would be appropriate, we did speak to a monk on site. He gave us his permission to take the photo and in fact, told us he liked it. I think I will work on a piece about reverence and respect. Thanks for the idea! Lisa

  2. If you were given permission to do so I would presume they don’t see it as a disrespectful act. Thanks for sharing, it was enjoyable to read.

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