15 Minutes: Giving people a reason to smile | TahoeDailyTribune.com

15 Minutes: Giving people a reason to smile

Amanda Fehd

Jim Grant/Tahoe Daily Tribune 15 mins - Moya Sanders

Moya Sanders is a massage therapist who has lived in Tahoe for 10 years. Her philosophy in life follows the likes of the famous book “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” She is helping her friend start Jenna’s Detailed Cleaning and Natural Supply, which provides hand-made cleaning supplies.

Q: What made you decide to move to Tahoe?

A: I saw the sun go down blood red on the lake, so I turned around and moved here.

Q: What kind of name is Moya?

A: It’s Greek. We’re from Iowa. My father’s mother is from Creet, so that’s how I got the name.

Q: You’ve been here a long time. As Tahoe changes, how do you think we can keep our sense of community?

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A: I try to stay in established neighborhoods. Also, I try to stay involved by going to meetings about things like signage and water.

I was just in San Francisco and I was there for four hours before someone smiled at me. That’s definitely a plus in Tahoe. People are kind, they help you if your car slides off the road or if you are in trouble. Even the tourists do it.

Q: What do you think this community needs?

A: Get the people involved. You go to council meetings and there aren’t any people there. We need more people interested in making a difference, instead of going to the coffee shop (complaining) about it.

Everyone here has a vacation rental next to them. Instead of 3,000 properties per property management company, you have to make it so that they have less, so they can check on them every once in a while.

Q: What inspired you to be a massage therapist?

A: I was a construction worker for 10 years – I’ve always worked with my hands, and I couldn’t stand the men anymore, so I went into a business dominated by women. I’m a caretaker and I needed an outlet for that.

Q: How long ago did you switch?

A: Five years.

Q: There seem to be a lot of people in your profession here.

A: There’s 350 of us in South Lake Tahoe alone.

Q: Do you feel any competition?

A: I primarily treat injuries and chronic pain. I work mostly on people who fall down mountains, get in car crashes and get hurt. I work in a chiropractic office, so I see more of that.

Q: Whose practice?

A: Dr. Borges across from Staples a the “Y,” in the Tahoe Valley Pharmacy Center. The number is 544-5800. Thanks to the signage laws, we don’t have a sign. I also work for Massage for All Seasons.

Q: Do you think people receive touch enough?

A: Absolutely not. I have a lot of elderly clients who come in simply for the touch therapy. You’d break them if you gave them a full-on massage, but they are here for the touch. I’ve also had a couple of terminal cancer patients.

The comfort zone of the massage is it makes you feel like a human being again; it’s becoming a human being with the disease, rather than just the disease.

Q: Is there anything people don’t know about you?

A: I don’t think so. I’m a chatty massage therapist, and I can be that way because I work on injuries. I get to learn a lot about my clients and they learn a lot about me.

Q: Any hobbies?

A: Skydiver, snowboarder, motorcycle rider, water skier. I got my skydiving license when I was 30, just to show myself I was still alive. I travel a lot, and meet a lot of interesting people. Anywhere I can get to in a car. I take planes and trains, too.

Q: Do you get to snowboard more because your job allows a little more freedom?

A: Yes. I only go on powder days. I’m a Kirkwood powder snob.

Q: Any guiding philosophy in life?

A: The meaning of life is definitely “42.” I’m a big Douglas Adams, “Star Trek” fan. A techie and a Trekkie. People may not know that about me.

In “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” they ask the computer, what’s the meaning of life, and it says, “42.”

The point is you didn’t ask the right question; you have to ask the right question to get the answer “42.” It’s not the end, it’s the journey. The end is “42.” It’s what leads up to it that is the important stuff.

Q: What’s the plan for the future?

A: I’m helping a friend start a cleaning company in town: Jenna’s Detailed Cleaning and Natural Supply. We make all the products by hand. I’m making all the bath and body products and we’re going to be selling all the products online. This cleaning stuff she invented, she put it on her bathtub, and the grime just comes right off.

Q: Any closing words?

A: Every day is a new adventure. Don’t stop. Don’t be complacent.