At 10 years old I learned to surf at the Ocean Experience Surf Camp in Oceanside San Diego. I got my first board at 13 – a 6’2” thruster with a drawing of Winnie the Pooh on the bottom. I was so cool.
In high school I started the Westview Surf Team, the only organization that could consistently get high school teenagers out of bed to do anything before school. On more than one occasion I walked into my first period class, wet hair still dripping, equipped with a breakfast burrito from Cotijas.
The first experience of “flow” I ever had was on a wave. The way the world zooms in, hypersensitive, to the single existence and purpose you now serve, riding this wave, encapsulates mindfulness. The serenity of sitting out on the water, bathing in Mother Nature, waiting patiently for the next set is how I imagine Buddhist monks live daily.
We always talked about the surf spots we would hit one day: Costa Rica, South Africa, Nicaragua, Northern California, France. At the top of my list was Indonesia. I can’t tell you why, probably because I didn’t ever have a good reason. I had probably seen some surf video filmed in Indo with a backing track that I really liked. Whatever the reason, it was engrained in my mind that one day I would surf Indonesia.
A few weeks ago, I fulfilled a childhood dream. We took a trip down to Pacitan, about three hours away from Jogja, and pitched a tent on the beach. The shy smile on my face, not entirely sure if this was really happening, tells a fair amount of the story. We surfed for a few hours, taking time to set up our campsite, my hammock, ate nasi goring (fried rice) from a local vendor and lived the Endless Summer for two days.
We woke up to the sound of waves and the nascent smell of a morning fire. Walking back from my early morning session, the beach fluttered with thousands of tiny baby-blue and lime-green butterflies migrating across the beach.
I am thankful for opportunities that allow me to live my dreams. I am thankful for the people that have helped inspire me to chase them.