miami beach, fl
biking, bodysurfing, hiking, kayaking, standup paddleboarding, surfing, skiing, wakeboarding, sailing, swimming, yoga
not much of a gear person, i travel light.
going your own way and being somewhat untethered can feel very lonely and aimless at times the wanderlust chameleon tells us. but this feeling is one short lived for a woman who is continually deep diving into risk taking and growth.
we caught up with good friend shayne benowitz and pried into just what’s made her not only a jack of many trades in the activities department, but how she’s been able to do it all on her own terms. she shared with us the back story of how being land locked catapulted her forward down a path one may have suspected but maybe not charted to the exact course.
spend a few with shayne in our Q & A and find out how growing up around the west coast waters shaped an adulthood lived full of curiosity, travel and story telling.
how did you get into boating?
growing up in southern california, the beach and the outdoors were a way of life. i was constantly outside, riding bikes with friends, running around the trails of the back bay where i lived in newport beach, bodysurfing and boogie boarding at the beach on weekends, swim team. i had a deep love for the water from the start. it wasn’t until after college, when i was living in new york city that i decided i wanted to learn to sail. i took lessons on the hudson river with the plan to spend a summer in key west and work on sailboats. that first summer turned into five years of living freely in key west with my life revolving around the water.
five years later, what’s keeping you in and on the water?
for me, a love of the outdoors and the water is linked to exploration, travel, self discovery and, yes, testing my limits. as a kid, i was always the chicken in my family. i was scared to try so many things. i’ve enjoyed pushing myself through that fear. i also like the physicality that comes with sailing, boating, surfing, wake boarding, etc. it’s like meditation. there’s something so seductive about that feeling of freedom when you’re surrounded by the mysteries and beauty of mother nature.
i’m not competitive by nature and i’m a total amateur in all the sports i participate in. it’s for the love of being outside and feeling my body in motion.
what are some things that have helped you push past your fears and gain confidence with the water?
i’m a planner. i get an idea in my head and then i figure out the steps that need to be taken to achieve it. as far as sports go, i took a sailing class and got my basic keelboat certification with the asa. in key west, it was on the job training to learn how to crew 65-foot catamarans and work on parasail boats. i’ve taken up surfing recently and have taken lessons everywhere from southern california to rockaway beach and also did a weeklong surf camp in costa rica.
you’ve moved on from days filled of sailing around the keys, what are you up to now?
today, i’m a full-time freelance travel and lifestyle writer.
i love charting my own course. i love having the freedom to pursue my interests, to push myself intellectually and creatively and i love that i’m in control.
that’s a big part of the driving force behind the career path i’ve carved out over the last five years as a full-time writer.
why the shift into writing?
there are so many things i want to do within that field and different genres i want to pursue. there are also so many places i want to live and discover and explore. i love that i’ve managed to figure out how to do these things on my own terms. i believe writing is a lifelong pursuit, and i have a lifetime to hone my craft, take risks and achieve my goals. a friend recently asked me what my goal was, and the best way i could put it was, i want to continually grow creatively and be self-sustaining.
when was the moment or thing that confirmed for you were making the right decision?
i’ve had a few of them, i guess. they’re realizations that wash over me with a feeling akin to love. key west had that affect on me. from the first time i ever visited the island, i was totally bewitched. i was smitten by how free the lifestyle was, the wildness of that, and how great the feeling of being on a boat far from shore was. i knew I had to live there one day. i also had that moment the first winter i spent in paris during my key west tenure when i was writing my novel. i had saved the money to finance the three month trip, i executed the idea and i was writing. it was an absolute dream and i couldn’t believe i’d pulled it all off by myself. it was a true feeling of independence and capability, and i just felt like the sky was the limit. that was when i knew I had to figure out how to live the writer’s life full-time.
when you’re not planning out your next adventure or writing about the one that just passed, what’s taking up your time?
i love yoga, i love reading, i love hanging out with my pomeranian, rascal. i like tv, movies, comedy. hanging out with friends, going to the beach, pizza, cheeseburgers, stuff like that.
thanks for sharing your adventurous curiousity with us, see you out there soon. until next time…
Stranded on Land