27 JUNE 2017
I had always been interested in surf culture growing up, and even more so in the ocean. I thought it was beautiful how man had crafted this relationship with the ocean, and how one could interact with such a powerful force in such a magnificent way.
Come to find out, there are few, if any, feelings that match those you get when surfing. In my experience, traveling is as close as it gets. A feeling of exhilaration met with slight discomfort, but an equal amount of bliss. With surfing there is an added layer of physical exhaustion, at least for a beginner like myself, but a heightened sense of exhilaration, and when you finally catch a wave, equal parts bliss.
I booked a plane ticket to Nicaragua in May of 2016. By complete and total chance I discovered Barefoot Surf Travel, a company that hosts surf camps in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, and after a week of internal deliberation I decided I needed to go. So here I was with my first solo trip booked to a country in Central America I knew nothing about to try my hand at surfing, something I had never tried, and all of this was only a short three weeks away.
With no expectations I hopped on a plane, completely unaware of what was about to occur. There wasn’t one specific ‘ah-ha’ moment, but the combination of new places, people, and experiences that occurred over the course of seven days in this little beach town in Nicaragua undoubtedly changed my life. First and foremost, this trip introduced me to the idea of traveling and gave me a glimpse of its magic. While seven days was too short of a period of time for me to fully grasp and articulate what I had experienced, those seven days introduced three specific realizations that shaped the year to follow.
First and foremost, this trip introduced me to the idea of traveling and
gave me a glimpse of its magic.
I originally traveled to Nicaragua to discover something bigger than myself, to step out of my comfort zone and push the limits and boundaries that surrounded me at the time. When I decided to embark on this trip I didn’t know what to expect, all I knew was that I was saying yes when it would have been much easier to say no. If anything, this eye-opening experience taught me to say yes more, yes to new places and yes to new opportunities. Say yes to these experiences, even when you're not sure what you’re doing because the outcome is always better than wondering what could have been.
I followed this trip up with three weeks in Argentina in January followed by a return to Nicaragua in May. My second trip to Nicaragua was a very different experience that brought a lot of things full circle for me, closing the cycle on the most transformational year of my life. I returned to San Juan del Sur to allow myself the opportunity to be secluded and self-reflective. There was a contagious sense of purpose in the air during my time there and I left feeling overwhelmingly inspired. It gave me this undeniable feeling that I was meant to do much more with my life, meant to see much more and experience much more. I always had an idea of what I wanted to do—something entrepreneurial, something creative, and more importantly something fulfilling. But there was always the question of how or when. It’s much easier to sit back and let life work itself out than to steer it in the direction you desire.
It’s much easier to sit back and let life work itself out than to
steer it in the direction you desire.
In addition, Nicaragua taught me that nothing is more beautiful than human connection, regardless of your physical surroundings. The people I met gifted me with not only connection, but with insights and direction. When you travel, you get to be the person you desire to be and you commit to it, for at least the length of your trip. There aren’t the existing perceptions of who you are that exist back home, or any kinds of standards you have to live up to. The longer you stay the more that person evolves and the closer you get to realizing or developing your true purpose.
The experiences that have resulted from saying yes, the beautiful connections made, and the overwhelming inspiration gained—the kind that truly makes a difference—during my travels this past year will forever hold front row in my heart and memory. They’ve inspired real action and have led me to pursue that undeniable feeling that I’m supposed to be doing much more. These experiences and realizations, and ultimately travel, were the life-changing moments that led me to finally take ahold and decide to shape my future with my own two hands.