Shake things up this year. Good surf and temporary new digs might be calling your name.
By Morgan Sliff
As ocean-dwellers, our no-filter experience with nature is downright soul tonic. We enter the sea as wide-eyed foreigners, and respect for its power is substantiated with every wall pitched towards you. Solitary sessions wrapped in its vastness provide you with deeper understanding of self. Not a soul in sight can spot your perma-smile, but each disconnect from the mainstream brings you back to center, and the medicinal properties of the sea, even along with its chastening (yet strangely life-affirming) beatings, wash over you with each passing ripple in the surface.
To continually feed that sea-induced lust for introspection, many surfers take to the air to probe new coastlines. There are different paths to choose when ambling through countries - traveling and vacationing each have different outlooks. Travel rouses an enterprise of unexpected exploits, and although the leisurely recharge of a poolside vacation can be tempting to many 9-5-ers who need a serious intermission of any and all brain activity, the yearn to dive headfirst into a rugged and real culture shock and the possibility of an untouched pointbreak behind the peninsula is the epitome of why we seek the road less… traveled.
Pico Iyer, world renowned travel writer, states “we travel initially to lose ourselves, next, we travel to find ourselves.” Stripping down the superficialities and making ourselves equals in far off lands - playing soccer with the locals on dusty Nicaraguan roads, or sharing a few waves with young Salvadorian street vendors, really brings you face first with the foundation of what entwines all of us at the baseline of human warmth.
The deep inner satisfaction and sense of contentment that surfing brings has been recognized as one of its most appealing benefits. In one of the first outsider observations of the sport of kings, surgeon William Anderson aboard Captain Cook’s The Resolution writes of a Hawaiian wave slider “I could not help concluding that this man felt the most supreme pleasure while he was driven so fast and so smoothly by the sea.” Known for its effectiveness in treating PTSD in veterans, calming those with cystic fibrosis and autism, and lifting depression and overall mood, surfing alleviates ailments by demanding that all your senses are engaged in the moment. Even when you’re back to the grind, you bring with you that feeling and further develop it into your daily routine. In the French seaside town of Biarritz, doctors have actually started prescribing surf lessons for a variety of conditions. Combine the benefits of surfing with those of travel and experiencing new cultures, and you have the most potent dose of spirit lifters in human history.
By taking these two things – mystical waves in far off lands, and throwing ourselves into a deeper appreciation for different walks of life, we turn vacation into travel, and adventure into “oh-my-god-that-was-the-best-trip-ever.” So in 2017, be good to yourself. Surf more. Travel often.