Name: Stacy Schwartz
Occupation: Ketanga Fitness Retreats - Co-Founder and CEO
Wouldn’t it be great if you could quit your job and travel for 100 days? Imagine all the places you could go and the experiences you could have. But how could you just pick up and go? What would happen when you returned? What about money? What about job security? It sounds like a dream until you start to imagine that your life might unravel as a result...
Stacy Schwartz had the dream. She also had the apprehension, the fear, the doubt. Finally, she decided to face her fears, give up a steady job in Corporate America, and turn the 100 day travel adventure dream into a reality. Needles to say, Stacey's life changed for good (and for the better) upon her return. Now she is using what she learned through her experience to create diverse fitness adventures for others around the world with her newfound company, Ketanga Fitness Retreats.
Such life changing decisions, though rewarding in hindsight, are also usually the most difficult, the most risky, and the most challenging. We spoke with Stacy about her life before and after her trip, and how she is plans to share the fitness adventure experience with others.
Q. Stacy, what were your biggest fears leading up to the decision to quit your job?
A. The idea of dropping everything to explore the world has always been on my mind, but for one excuse or another, I never followed through. I had proven to myself that I was good at structure and the New York grind, but winging it overseas... and all alone?
I owed it to myself to be challenged, independent, and have the time of my life! I was certainly nervous about what would I would do when I got back, would I forget everything I knew about work? I was also concerned with not having the whole trip planned out since I am very A-type and writing to-do lists is my guilty pleasure. And then there's the whole money issue - how do I enjoy the once in a lifetime experience of traveling without spending all my savings the first few weeks?
Q. How did you overcome these fears and uncertainties?
A. Finally, I realized that as I approach my 30s, I want to do something for ME that has nothing to do with work. I saved up enough money, drew a general plan of where I wanted to go, put a date on the calendar of when I was going to resign from my corporate America job, and I bought my ticket overseas!
I compromised with myself. I decided that I was going to try to 'go with the flow' on my journey while doing something constructive. I blogged on StacyTakesFlight every day of my journey, focusing on ways to be active while traveling, offering local tips and must-try experiences, and sharing ways to stretch your dollars while traveling.
I thought that if I wasn't going to be employed, I should do something to share my journey with the world and inspire others to do something for themselves.
Motivated by a desire to travel and be to be active, Stacy planned a 100 day trip that would allow her explore the world in a very physical way and share her experience with others. Ultimately, her journey satiated her appetite for fitness and adventure, while having a positive influence on the lives of others. Stacy came back from her trip invigorated, excited, and with a new business idea.
I ran to grab coffee with a fitness and travel-loving friend I met in Costa Rica, told her about the idea, and ever since then she has joined in as my amazing business partner!
This travel-inspired idea of Stacy's is now known as Ketanga Fitness Retreats. Ketanga is a niche travel organizer specializing in active vacation packages. Stacy provides fitness fanatics the opportunity to work out in unique locations, and enable travel lovers to fulfill their wanderlust while remaining active... much like her own experiences.
Q. How did your personal 100 day adventure inspire the idea for Ketanga Fitness Retreats?
A. The way I like to travel is with an active perspective. I like to take bike tours of cities, go jogging in local parks, and take part in sports and adventure activities that are popular in that country. So after horseback riding, boxing, biking, swimming, and training across 11 countries, I realized that there is something special there. I knew that my two core passions are travel and fitness, and I was determined to figure out a way to tie those together and make a job of it.
I am not a trainer, but I love planning travel and itineraries and I know a lot of people in the fitness world. So the idea came to me: why not plan and organize fitness and active-based trips around the world and find the best trainers to host them? The fitness professionals get to do what they do best - train - while I do what I enjoy - organize trips, scout locations, and introduce fitness and travel enthusiasts to a new type of vacation!
Q. You have a Ketanga trip coming up in February. Tell me a little about what that experience will be like for participants?
A. Our "Strengthen in the Sun" trip is going to be very special. The fitness includes Pilates, strength training, and TRX, and the 'retreat' includes beautiful accommodations at the Guy Harvey Outpost - a gorgeous beachfront resort in St. Pete Beach, Florida.
The way the trips are structured is that we work out in the morning and evening, using the local landscape as our gym - think: beach workouts, no cramped gyms! - and during the day you are free to take advantage of the resort amenities like the pool, tennis, spa, or just relax on the beach with your new friends.
There is also a day trip included to the beautiful Fort De Soto Park where we will spend an afternoon kayaking on the crystal clear water - not to be missed!
Q. What aspect of the trip are you most excited about?
A. What makes me so excited for this trip is the coach. Dani Rubin is a Pilates studio owner, a former Radio City Rockette, and one of the goofiest and funniest women you will ever meet. Not only is she amazing to hang out with, she teaches incredible classes and will give a killer workout each time. She started practicing Pilates to help her through an injury, so she is great at modifying workouts to different levels or for people with injuries.
Q. What do you hope your participants take away from this experience?
A. Our mission is to connect fitness and travel enthusiasts with the ultimate active vacations that invigorate, challenge, and uplift the mind, body, and soul.
My goal for this experience is for guests to feel empowered, confident, and refreshed. Whether they are looking for a way to jumpstart or step up their fitness routine, or are simply looking for a way to travel with likeminded people, this vacation is as much for the mind as it is for the body.
And more than anything else, I want people to leave with smiles - this is going to be fun! We will work hard, but we will relax and enjoy as well. From s'mores and cocktails by the beach, to kayaking and playing tennis, there are tons of ways to make the most of this trip in ways that are meaningful to YOU.
Q. Now that you are technically back at a “desk job”, how do you incorporate fitness and adventure into you “regular life”?
A. I guess you can say I'm back at a 'desk job' but my desk is actually my coffee table... or one of many coffee shops in the city. Starting a business is obviously a lot of work, but luckily it is work that I can take with me as long as I have a laptop and a phone. But what makes it even better is that fitness and adventure is inherently part of the day's work!
I try out new fitness classes almost every day to find the best trainers and fitness enthusiasts for upcoming trips! I love trying out different studios and instructors and then talking to them about hosting a retreat or working together in one way or another. Also, I get inspired wherever I go. I was recently on a ski trip in Vermont and while I was doing work from the lodge one day, I had the idea of hosting a fitness + snow sports trip... how fun would that be!
Check out upcoming trips from Ketanga Fitness including February's Strengthen in the Sun (February 20-23). There are still a few spots left! If you sign up with code FASHLETICS you will save $50 on the trip!