“I just find stuff I like, and then I do it.”
On April 19, I spent an afternoon hanging out with senior Gabe Fann. As we walked to his apartment, he introduced me to his rabbit, Felix, and told me an anecdote about how the bunny’s manure had revitalized his sage garden.
A moment later he was leading me through his home, showing me his new greenhouses while explaining the principles of aqua- and aeroponics with an ambitious glint in his eyes.
A shaggy-haired renaissance man and dilettante, Gabe spends his spare time DJing music and playing on tribal drums—that is, when he’s not surfing or spearfishing lingcod out by the bay. (Of that, he says he “kind of just went out spearfishing one day…I just bought a gun and went out and luckily caught a few fish the first time.” The rest is history, as anyone who’s tried his fillets can attest).
But above all, Gabe’s true passion is the art of massage, and the practice of helping people through it.
He says he knows Balinese massage, although he’s learned about Thai massage from his mother—also a masseuse—and is currently studying Esalen massage.
“The philosophy behind Esalen massage is healing through touch,” he says. “It’s all about being present with your hands, [having] intuition and guiding the body, [and it’s] because our bodies have this innate capacity to repair themselves. It takes a lot from osteopathic medicine.”
It’s something that runs in his bloodline, too: Gabe’s mother, aunt, uncle and grandmother are all masseuses.
Gabe says he only got serious about massages toward the end of his sophomore year—and that he looked toward the people close to him for guidance.
“At that point in my life, I was like a lot of kids,” Gabe says. “While we’re living with our parents, a lot of kids build up this animosity toward their parents. But going into junior year, I said, ‘No, that’s not what I want to do.’ I wanted to learn as much as I could from my parents before I moved on.”
In spring 2014, he left school for a month and flew all the way to Bali in order to earn 180 of the 250 hours of experience needed to earn one’s primary masseuse credentials, a process he describes as “intense.”
Fann has already finished his 250 hours, but as of late he’s been working toward the 500 hours necessary for a deep tissue certificate by taking the initiative and sitting in on massages at Esalen—a process comparable to student teaching.
“I think that’s something really important…just acknowledging what you’re given, and acting on it,” Fann says. “It was a big part of what got me into massage.”
Like his family before him, Fann hopes to end up at Esalen in the near future: He says he has worked with three of the five massage staff “graders” at the resort and has gotten thumbs up from each of them. In the meantime, he intends to study at Monterey Peninsula College in the fall and continue learning massage theory.
But no matter what happens, one thing is for sure: Gabe Fann will be going places. When we talked about his trip to Bali and journey toward being a masseuse, he said that he “just realized the opportunity [he] had and pursued it.”
Here at Carmel High, that’s something we could all stand to learn from.