You probably believe the best way to remember a memorable trip is to capture tons of photos and bombard your social media profiles with them, right? Well, social media isn't the best way to remember a trip, but can hinder your enjoyment. In fact, the chase to get more likes and shares on these platforms can be a goal in and of itself, making you forget the memories behind the content. This process can make you forget what's really important in life; remembering vacations. Some ways to truly have an unforgettable surf trip include being present, volunteering, and living like a local.
Modern day society is very faced paced, making people want to rush through life. In fact, 61% of adults don't even take 15 minutes to finish a meal. This greatly contrasts with some countries, like Spain, where lunch lasts for 2 hours. While you don't have to have a 2 hour lunch to be present, you can implement mindfulness techniques to savor the moment. For example, you can choose to take a slightly longer route to enjoy scenic ocean views, instead of a toll road to save 10 minutes. Also, choosing to walk up stairs instead of taking an escalator is a great first step to escape a fast paced lifestyle.
Two famous mindfulness techniques include meditation and yoga, which provide physical and mental cross training for surfing. Both techniques place a high emphasis on deep breathing and moving slowly. Yoga poses aren't meant to be rushed, and the average length to hold a pose is 10-12 breaths. These breaths last at least 30 seconds and some experienced yoga practitioners or yogis, can hold poses for 3 minutes.
Meditation is similar to Yoga, except that it doesn't have complex poses. Meditation is quite simple, was invented back in 1500 BCE by early hindus, and consists of sitting or laying down while breathing deeply. Meditation is easy to start and beginners should try to meditate for 5 minutes and here are some basic steps:
- Find a place where you can sit or lay down without being disturbed
- Set a timer for 5 minutes (Try to increase this time as you become confident with meditating)
- Close your eyes
- Breath in with your noses, pause for one second, breath out through the mouth
- Develop a mantra or saying that you think while breathing (i.e calm, relax)
- Don't let your mind wander, focus on your mantra
Many surfing hot spots are located in impoverished areas such as South East Asia, Africa, Central and South America. The locals in these areas have very little opportunity and live without basic necessities like electricity and running water. Luckily, many surfing companies have realized this and have created surf/volunteer trips. These trips can help you score epic waves and aid underprivileged people, making you truly have an unforgettable surf trip. Volunteering can also give you a feeling called helper's high, which is caused by the brain releasing endorphins, or feel good chemicals. It can also give you a sense of gratitude for what you have, making you happier. leading to an unforgettable surf trip.
Luckily, there are many organizations that offer surf/volunteer vacations like Give and Surf in Bocas del Toro, Panama along with the Pelita foundation in Indonesia. Give and surf is located on a small island off the coast of Panama called Bocas del Toro. This location has great surf especially beach breaks like Playa Larga, which can offer 12 ft. barrels. Give and surf is a non profit and offers volunteers opportunities to give back to the community in numerous ways from teaching English to building homes for Panamanians. Most locals in that area are Ngobe Indians and lack common resources such as electricity and public education. Thus, qualified volunteers are needed to help teach the youth English and activities like environmental science. Volunteers can also help build homes and other structures for the natives in this impoverished area.
The Pelita foundation is located in Lombok, Indonesia. Like Bocas del Toro, this location offers world class waves (Desert Point and Lakey's beach) in addition to opportunities to help the natives. The Pelita foundation primarily focuses on educating Indonesian children via free after school programs. These children can learn about a variety of topics from English, to digital literacy, life skills and more! The digital literacy program is especially important because the world is digitally connected, which would give them insightful ways to interact with the international community.
Yes, it can be great to fork out thousands of dollars to surf private beaches, but will you have an unforgettable surf trip? Some travelers go to places that are too similar to their home countries, which can take the adventure out of it (think Cabo San Lucas). Also, these travelers can expect to be overcharged for goods and services that locals get for cheap. For example, a beer served at the bar in Nicaragua can cost $2, while a surf resort will charge you at least $6 for the same beer. Thus, it can make sense to live locally in certain situations. Living like a local can be quite insightful, but it should only be done at places that are safe and have sanitary conditions.
Not only will this lifestyle help you save money, but living locally will help you remember your trip. It will help you deeply understand the culture in which you're immersed in and can also help with language skills. Some travelers choose to go to destinations that offer language immersion to become fluent. This in turn, will help you make new local friends. Your local friends will help you understand the culture of the area, give you insight into the best places to eat and more importantly, surf.
Surf trips and vacations can be great, but they can be easily forgotten. Some travelers place an emphasis on getting more shares and likes on social media, instead of having a meaningful experience. It's very easy to have this warped mindset, but some ways to help you truly have an unforgettable surf trip include being present, volunteering, and living like a local. What other methods have helped you remember your trips without being addicted to social media? Please share below!