Often the most interesting things about surfing the planet are not the waves you score, but rather the people you meet and experiences you have beyond your sessions. I relish this aspect of surf travel and have always been conscious to seek out and soak up these transcendent occasions.
Our world is so big, diverse and ever-changing. If you’ve ever stood atop a 14,000 foot mountain and tried to make sense of the enormity of the world around you, sat in a foreign lineup and tripped out on a pre-historic jungle hugging the shore, or even marveled at feats of engineering in a concrete jungle of towering skyscrapers, then you understand what I’m saying.
Our lives are fleeting. In the context of time, we are not on this earth for a moment. Not even a breath of a moment. Tomorrow is not promised to us. Not even the next second. You’ve got to seize every opportunity to experience life, and just “go.”
It was with this mindset that I related the importance of surfing and traveling in my life to my bride-to-be long ago, as we planned for our future. As someone who has enjoyed the indescribable blessings of a true soul mate and happy marriage for years, I can inform you that helping to ensure this has the best chance of being the case doesn’t require all the formalities of pre-marriage counseling and meetings with a Pastor– just the simplest bits of common sense.
My wife and I established our compatibility and commitment to one another over the course of a couple of years of dating (always wise). As a result, when our minds turned to something a little more permanent, something like a lifetime – well, we actually got things squared away in about half an hour.
Had we both dated long enough to know with certainty what kind of people we wanted to spend the rest of our lives with? Check. Did we share the same religious beliefs? Check. Were we good with combining bank accounts and tossing everything else into one big pile? Check. Could we agree to hold off on kids for a bit to ensure that our marriage was sound, and to play with each other for a couple of years? Check.
It wasn’t rocket science.
But as a surfer, there was one more thing that I had to add to that list – my undying love for and commitment to surfing and surf-travel. (Until death would do us part.)
I informed my future wife, Gretchen, that years before the time I had ever met her, from those earliest days until eternity, I had already committed to a lifetime of chasing waves and new experiences in places near and far. And I wasn’t about to go back on this promise to myself. As I looked into the future and imagined a day when kids, careers and yard work might slowly pilfer away the friends that I had once surfed and traveled with, I assured her that I would never succumb to these same “traps”– that I would forever be limited only by the resources that enabled me to continue to “go.”
I told her that if she were willing, I would love to share these experiences with her. And that if not–if she wasn’t interested or resolved in the idea of a bit of adventure. And, if one day the boys just couldn’t pull it all together, well then, I’d still be going.
I’d just be traveling solo. Fortunately, she was stoked. And we never looked back.
Today, while we’ve still only seen and surfed a fraction of the places on this earth that beckon, sharing these adventures with her, and now– our children, has made chasing these moments all the more pressing and fundamental.