3 months, 5 countries, 12 flights, thousands of waves surfed, countless smiles. Reflecting on a few months of adventure and bliss.
We truly lived, more authentically than before, simpler, in full family love. Just having time to hang out and share every day with the loved ones is an amazing gift.
Time is much slower when you slow down: the three months seemed like 3 years, an experience we have had consistently on our trips. The main reason for this – in my view – is that new experiences imprint on your mind, and at home, on any given week, not much happens that you do not already know, it is the familiar week for week everyday life that we all know. On your travels, you constantly encounter new places, experiences, people – and the unexpected, especially if you travel, like we tend to, without a plan.
Travel style: like the personality, our travel style also evolved over the past decades. From free to Lonely Planet to the micro-explorative spontaneous flow that was our guiding principle on the last world trip 7 years ago. This time we followed an adaptation of this principle. We focused on 1-3 places per country and spent more time there, usually 1 to 2 weeks. The main effect was that we got a much better sense for the energy and dynamics of any given place, we were able to get to know the locals, and it gave us time to zoom in – look at the detail.
Myth number 1: rainy season
We may have just been lucky in the aftermath of El Nino, but surely the rainy season this year did not deserve its name. In 90 days, we experienced no full days of rain, and less than 10 days with any rain at all. In British Columbia we caught 20 days without any rain, unheard of in places like Tofino. In the Caribbean the rain typically hits hard and for a short time, with rainbows and sunshine very quick to follow. Even though it was humid, we never had the experience of unbearable heat. We lived barefoot in shorts and T-Shirt.
Myth number 2: unfriendly locals
We were given the warning that locals are sick and tired of tourists and unfriendly. We found no evidence of this, in fact quite the opposite. The vibe and attitude was quite different: from the clear black and white divide in Barbados, to Latinos in Dominican, Cubans with their fundamental joy despite decades of tiredness from communism, Ticas in Costa Rica who were probably the most difficult to approach, and the surf hippies of Tuff City at the end of the road on Vancouver Island – but in the end, they have all been friendly and open to let us take a peek into their life and share the beauty they are surrounded by. We felt safe everywhere, and were able to let the kids roam freely.
Myth number 3: boring bland food
We were warned that the settings may be exotic, but not the food. Again, quite the opposite was true and we opened new dimensions for our taste senses. One factor in this has been that we were fortunate to sample delicious fresh food from passionate expats in the secret garden locations we stayed at – Asian fusion, curries, Italian, Middle Eastern, local exotic fruit, amazing deserts, and the best cocktails in the world. Some examples of amazing locations with incredible food:
Why these 90 days felt so amazing? For me part of the answer is that I practiced extreme curation – I focused every moment on the few things that I have learned to be contributing the most to my fulfillment / satisfaction / joy / happiness:
- a circle of love within my family
- breathtaking raw nature
- surfing and kiting
- meeting inspiring minds
The first 30 days we kited almost every day, and surfed pretty much every day the entire trip, except for Cuba. We all became better surfers, and took the waves of our lives. They are still imprinted very strongly in my mind, the left at South Point in Barbados, the right at Encuentras near Cabarete, a big bombie out the back at Playa Carmen, the never-ending right at Cabuya, a steep drop at Nosara, a long smooth ride at Playa Uva in Puerto Viejo, and the biggest and most memorable one at Cox Bay in Tofino. I was riding anything from a 6’4’’ fish to a 9’6’’ Walden longboard beast. If I do the math I likely surfed two or three thousand waves on this trip, and every single one was new and different and had its own character. Some smash you down in a big closeout, some fizzle out, but then you get this magic where an empty glassy wall of water opens up below you and invites you to play with it. Surfing does amazing things to me, it moves the entirety of my self onto a different plane, removed from all the thinking, physical reality, past and future, into the pure moment of the NOW. It is so pure and magic – I am truly in love with surfing.
Partly driven by our choice of location we encountered many people who seem removed from this world – in a good sense. They all seem to have run to somewhere or away from something, with the common thread of leaving something behind: hamster wheel, sickness, boredom, depression, lack of joy… It seems like these are the new hippies, the gypset generation. One the one hand the people we met were all very unique in character, they had something about them that set them apart from others. On the other hand they also shared commonalities: acceptance and tolerance of those differences, love and respect for the beautiful nature surrounding them, a simple life without many so-called luxuries of the big city, no need for materialism, a sense of community and support, responsibility to preserve the little world that they are part of. In a way they live the Utopian dream in a secret garden. The other thing they share is a deeply rooted grounded energy, aura of contentment, lack of restlessness and stress. I have seen the exact same energy in mountain guides in romantic mountain villages. Most people on the planet would be scared or apprehensive to live such a life, away from all the comforts and progress. Looking into the eyes of citizens of these spirit places it is very clear to me that they have the biggest luxuries in their life: time, nature, community, love, inspiration from their fellow citizens. For me all these people served as an inspiration, and instilled the desire to spend more time in spirit places, secret gardens such as
We return with some of the energy from these places, and with a large amount of gratefulness for all the love, happiness, bliss… and yes surf, great food, good friends, inspiration,…
“When we enlarge our view of the world, we deepen our understanding of our own lives.” – Yo-Yo Ma
Ready for the continued flow of life.
Categories: Mindful Tour 2016