There is something to be said for traveling. I’m not sure if it’s due to the exotic locations that people head to, the activities we do there, or simply the feelings of freedom from regular life that can bring about sheer delight over small actions. However, I do know the feelings that are evoked through travel. The day before leaving to go home, I grabbed a board and tagged along with a few coaches and guests who ventured up north for a session. The conditions weren’t ideal, with a strong current threatening to pull anyone around the bend or into a rocky shore, and extremely choppy swell. However, I made the decision to stay for a few extra hours, and I was rewarded for it. Not only did it rain and help calm the seas, but additionally the 20+ surfers initially present trimmed out to less than 10, and I got my chance to set up on a wave all to myself. I ended up catching the longest ride of my short-lived surfing career on an unexpected cleanup set rolling through.
Our director Whit Arnold presented me with a question before I left; what was the greatest thing I learned from my time at the school. Of course, being an ignorant grom, I was unable to produce anything before taking off. However, after hitting the cloudline, I realized that my time at Rincón Surf School taught me to simply go out and conquer whatever challenges lay ahead.
Obviously the thought is cliché, but it’s true; my motto for the trip was “nothing to it but to do it”. When the opportunity to play soccer first presented itself, my initial thought was that of extreme panic, as the last time I was coached in soccer, it was around the same time that Lunchables were still in my backpack. After getting out on the field however and making some passes and successfully stopping a ball with my face, I soon felt blissfully happy to be on the field (partially when I blocked coach Bryan Young’s shot and drew tears). Similarly, when offered with a chance to try a roadside pollo & plaintains stand, naturally I had my worries. I was rewarded though when I first bit into the chicken that slid right off the bone.
If nothing else can be taken away from my ranting as an angry intern, then I implore you to consider the benefits of travel. Traveling brought me out of my comfort zone, but once there, I was presented with a world of opportunities. Not only have I been able to learn about a world-class business operation, but I’ve been fortunate enough to simply experience sincere happiness in the form of catching a wave in the golden rays of a Puerto Rican sunset, followed by a beer and recap of our session with some of the RSS family in the midst of Rincón.
There are many intended morals from this reflection, but the primary one is this; don’t worry, there’s nobody there to watch you fall when you come try out surfing for the first time with our school. Rather, there’s a chance for true adventure, and see the world while doing it.