Judy: My name is Judy Chapman. I am an author of five books. I work in the global spa industry and I don’t have an office. I have pop-up offices, working cafes around the world and hotel rooms. And I’m really comfortable with that and that’s the way I like to work. I’m not really into the office nine-to-five thing which is probably what motivated me, a big motivation, to work in the spa industry. And travel as a writer probably stems from that, because about 10 years ago I was working in Sydney for an environmental organization and catching the subway to work and I was like I can’t do this anymore. I don’t want to be on the train for two hours a day. I need to find a way to live where I feel more free and inspired and productive because I don’t like wasting time. So I definitely support the conscious nomadic movement.
Bram: So in terms of the spa industry, what is it that you have done? What is it that you’re doing?
Judy: I started in the spa industry when I was 23 and my fiancé and I created a spa brand. And we set up spas in Australia. And I did that for seven years and then went—and then in 1998, I published my first spa book. And from there everything really accelerated. And I was offered a job and became editor-in-chief for Spa Asian magazine and was located in Singapore for three years. My job was just traveling the world doing reports on spas and reviews. So that was amazing, a dream job. And I published four books on spas including a coffee table book where I spent two years on and off traveling throughout Southeast Asia with a photographer. Just exploring the history of ayurvedic medicine, Chinese medicine and yoga and how all of that transports into spa treatments today because spa is actually quite a meaningful and interesting… It’s not just about pampering and luxury. There’s a lot of health and wellness ancient rituals and a lot behind spa treatments you experience in hotels and spas. And what else? Then five years ago, I came to do a story on a hotel because I was writing for various magazines by then. I know the hotel is like they hadn’t developed their spa yet and they said, “We’re looking for someone to develop a spa concept” and I said, “I’ll find you some people.” And I suggested a whole lot and then about six months later, I ran into them again and I said so how did it go with the spa and they’re like, “We’re waiting for you to come and do it.” I’m like “I’m not doing it” because I’d already made a decision that I’ll never work for anyone again in my mind. It’s like, that’s no more. And somehow they wrote me into doing it for three months’ trial and it’s been five years now. So the last five years I’ve set up 20 spas around the world, in the Middle East, Norway, Australia, India, Thailand, Bali. And from the beginning I sort of create the concept, work with architects, interior designers, creating treatments, retail, everything. The look and feel and design and also learning the business side of spas which was a big challenge but the makers are more right-winged person eand so it’s been an amazing journey to learn how to do budgets and profit and loss and now I’m really good at that. So I can do both the creative and the business side and I feel it’s quite a holistic way for me to operate now to understand both sides of the business.
Bram: Nice! Can you give us an idea of what the flow of your travel has been like over the last year or so?
Judy: Yeah I think—gosh. Sometimes I’m on the plane every two weeks and sometimes I have like a three-month stay where I might go to the Europe like this year I was in Europe okay for the last 12 months. I’ve been to India. I go to India once a year for a month. And I’ve set up a spa in Australia. And the last year, I’ve been to Dubai twice, this year. Norway because we’re opening a spa in a ski lodge in Norway. And Germany because we’ve opened a spa in the Bavarian mountains. So yeah I’ve done a lot of traveling. Yeah. I love it. I love traveling.
Bram: What are some of the things you find attractive about that lifestyle?