there comes a time, in most cases it happens over and over again, that you find yourself falling madly in love. for me, this without a doubt always happens when i am least expecting it, and always happens with a place, experience or thing that then is transformed into a form bigger than what i can control. san diego stole my heart in this way. the sense of excitement, familiarity and peace that overcame me immediately – mixed with a little uncertainty and hesitations. a desire to know all the ins and outs of this city and understand why it had the ease to so beautifully exude a welcoming cool, chill vibe.
there’s always a sense of chaos that accompanies travel. anxiety that arises from the lack of familiarity is something that has grown to be a necessity, one that fuels my creativity, confidence and passion. exploration of a new place is something that until this trip, has left a sense of overwhelming with the need to have plans, organization and control over every moment. i found peace in the unknown, solitude, and the letting go as i explored the coast of california.
being my first major trip away from home, i committed a solid month to the west coast with no specific plans and no specific expectations, i found a discovery of myself that had not been revealed in any previous meetings. a sense of freedom and confidence that grew more and more with each sunset that i watched. with every wave that I listened to crash against the coastline, i felt my heart beat slower, calmer and connect with everything outside of me, and i felt a serenity that was birthed in this little piece of heaven on the west coast.
the months that made up this last year leading up to my cali in december trip, were tiresome, heartbreaking and chaotic. the lack of responsibility that was allowed every moment of every day while i was in this temporary home away from home was the therapy that i needed to reboot and recover from the damages done in the previous months. my hours were spent sleeping and resting, eating delicious food, drinking and enjoying company with new friends and laughing so much and so hard that i couldn’t breathe and my cheeks hurt.
i had an openness and patience that i never experienced with myself before. spending nearly everyday with my good friend vanessa, who shared in the healing that the west coast offered. we spent time our time together enjoying music and sunsets, laughing ourselves to tears and supporting each others conflicts through deep conversation.
i discovered a new love and confidence in the sea. i spent everyday that december watching the sunset over the horizon and most of these days were spent seaside, admiring the local surfers catching the last waves of the day. i desired to know what this felt like. i longed to feel the water in a way i had never before, this was my one mission before i headed back east.
unlike times in my past, although i had a stint of nervousness and insecurity, my soul was demanding that i get in the water and get on a board, so i put it out there to my friends who had all connected to the pacfic in the way i was longing to. we headed to the local surf shop rusty’s to borrow some wetsuits and head out to play in the chilly san diego water at scripps pier. being my first time, i was clueless and unorganized. i didn’t bring my swimsuit so i had to buy one. the wetsuit was impossible and i was clumsy and flustered, struggling to stuff myself into this awkward body glove. but i was determined.
snug and stuffed into this water onsie, we walked to the coastline and i was filled with joy, literally. excited to get into the water, i didn’t care that it would be cold, i just wanted to feel the ocean. it felt great. waves splashing in my face and some taking me under, i was happy. the happiest i had been in months. we splashed around in the ocean- swimming, floating and cruising with the rhythm of the water. my friend bernard had brought a short board to play on in the water, and offered me to try it out. giving me a few pointers on how to catch a wave and guiding me along, i caught my first wave, for a belly ride all the way into the coast. that instance, was one i never experienced, and a moment of connection with the ocean and myself that i had never had. i spent the next hour or so walking and paddling out, jumping waves, and riding into the coast on my belly, grabbing the board and running back out into the ocean so i could repeat it all again. as we headed back to the car to peel out of our suits and rise the salt off with a water bottle bath from a jar stored in the trunk, i was mentally determined to land a wave or few before i left.
days past and i spent more time staring at those who knew the ways of the water paddle out, listening to the language of the ocean, and riding waves one by one. my desire grew and i somehow lost all senses of fear that i had ever felt from not knowing or being great at something. the only thing i felt was desire to meditate to the way of the water like i watched these others doing. on my last saturday in san diego and the of 2015, my friend joel took me out again, this time with a foam board and very little waves- the best for learning he said.
joel was the kind of teacher you’d want for your first time. he took me straight into the water and skipped the on land intro other than to determine if i was goofy footed or not. he talked me through the things to note and movements to make- paddling out, pushing up, and not locking out my knees so i could ride the baby waves that were out to play that day. we laughed and had a good time making fun of my inability to decide which foot was my lead, the fact that i insisted on locking my knees and other shenanigans that occurred as i tried to understand the motion of the ocean and workings of the board.
a tiny tot about 4 or so fearlessly challenged the water with her board and i was even more motivated to make it happen. i got up a few times, for a second or two and celebrated inside with a smile on my face, knowing that i would be able to accomplish it but my fun came to a stopped sooner than i wanted by my muscles freezing up with cold from the chilly winter water. as we walked back to the car, my teeth chattering, i was slightly disappointed that my time on the west coast had come to an end but thankful for my new friends discovered, mini goals achieved, inner peace, and love of a new way of being with the ocean found.