A Curvy Expat’s Global Spa Memories

Exploring Spa Therapy around the World

Karla Fraser
6 min readDec 17, 2019


Inside a Hammam (Turkish Bath)/Canva

So, I don’t remember exactly when I started going to spas as part of my stress therapy from work and life. I also did not know any black women who went to the spa other than those in the movies. But my movie-watching got me thinking that this was an experience worth having at least once.

However, I vaguely recall when I started going to spas. It was in the early 2000s when I worked and traveled as a meeting manager. Over the year, I have tried and enjoyed various experiences during my travels or while living abroad. Stay with me for a few moments while I share some memories from my spa journey. My hope is that they will encourage you to try this form of relaxation as a part of your self-care routine.

Seksak Kerdkanno/Pixabay

Pennsylvania, USA

My first memorable experience was in Hershey in 2006. I opted for a day of pampering that was blissful. I was still a novice in this world of spa, robe, tea, cookies, and reading or small talk with other guests in-between treatments. Mind you, I was the only dark-skinned woman in the room, and heads and eyes did turn when I walked in.

I recall two women made me feel at ease, as they were regulars, and it was clear that I had “newbie” written on my forehead. The Spa at the Hotel Hershey was known for its chocolate treatment which did not appeal to me. I opted for the sugar treatment, which was all fashioned after the owner of the property visit and experiences in Cuba.


My 2007 Icelandic trip included the northern lights, glaciers, geysers, waterfalls, and a day at the famed Blue Lagoon. Now, the geothermal spa is a popular destination. I had a fun-filled day enjoying the hot and cold spot of the natural pool of volcanic, mineral water amidst the lava field that surrounded it. Again, in the vast, light blue water with rising steam, I was the only brown woman soaking up the benefits of the natural wonder.

I enjoyed the thermally heated seawater, a tempered outdoor massage in the October breeze, and a stroll by the hot…



Karla Fraser

Current Expat | Global Educator | Higher Education Consultant | Expat Career Strategist | Higher Education Professional | Founder of Roseapple Global, LLC