Surfing will steal your soul and you will be happy to give it away

Photo by  Oliver Sjöström  via Unsplash.  https://ollivves.com

Photo by Oliver Sjöström via Unsplash. https://ollivves.com

A state of intense happiness, sometimes more than is reasonable in a particular situation. This is how many dictionaries define the word ‘euphoria’. Ask any surfer why they surf, and what they feel while surfing and the chances are, that you will hear many different responses resembling that definition. There must be a reason, why so many people pursue this physically challenging sport, often frustrating, exhausting and sometimes even dangerous.

Most people who have tried it once, are hooked for life. If you are one of the lucky ones, born or living near the waves and the surf culture, that probably is your life already. If, like me, you have learned to surf as an adult, suddenly your life and holiday planning is often consumed by an itch of catching waves again. Your sun and sand holidays and pleasures of walking the streets of Rome or Barcelona, are replaced by chasing your next surf destination, which often is not as glamorous. Your five-star hotels are replaced by surf camps and hostels and you trade the comfort and pampering, for shared rooms, 6 AM wake up calls for sunrise surf, exhaustion, frustration, sunburn, blisters, bruises, scratches or worse, if you happen to hit the reef with your back or bum. Yet, instead of complaining, you come home happy, content and already planning your next surf trip.

Why?

Because regardless of all the frustrations, the fear and discomfort you will endure; the inner peace, the feeling of achievement; the mindlessness you experience waiting and riding waves, outweighs everything else.

I started surfing much later than most people, even though I had my first encounter in Bali many years ago, which didn’t end well. I hurt my leg after the first hour and defeated carried my massive board back to the rental place. I gave it another go years after and learned to surf in Lanzarote, where I had the time of my life and many blisters from a warm water and soft board combination. Since then, I traded the pleasures of beautiful hotels for less beautiful surf hostels, but in equally beautiful destinations.

My surf trips are like waves, some are disasters, some are amazing. Sometimes I’m ecstatic with the progress I’ve made, sometimes I’m the biggest kook out there. But it doesn’t matter, because now I’ve got the bug. Surfing may not have changed my life, but it has definitely opened my mind into many different dimensions. There are experiences I’ve had in life, that I wouldn’t have, if it wasn’t for surfing; people I wouldn’t have met and things I wouldn’t have known about myself. For instance, that I can hold my breath, for much longer than I thought…

If you haven’t tried surfing and think it’s as effortless as it looks, you couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s physically challenging and exhausting. Try to paddle a few days in a row, battle with waves to get out of the impact zone, or fall when you think you just caught the wave … Only to start the battle all over again to get back out there and do it again.

Photo by Teddy Kelley via Unsplash

Photo by Teddy Kelley via Unsplash

But when you get to ride that wave, you and your surfboard carried by the enormous energy of the water - the magic happens. The feeling you haven’t experienced before. It’s just you and the monster of a wave… or sometimes a little monster. At that moment of time, nothing else matters and nothing else exists. Your only focus is riding that wave. For the next 10-20 seconds… Because that’s how long it is likely to be. Your mind is free of every other thought or emotion and that is a definition of zen.

The time you spend in the water paddling, wrestling, surfing, or just sitting quietly on a flat surface of the ocean and waiting for waves, is the time, when nothing else matters or exists. Whatever problems, worries, insecurities you have, they are left at the shore. Or if you lucky, they are left far away - at home. Quite often you feel stocked long after your surf session ended and way too happy to think about anything else. All you are interested in, is sharing surf stories with your surf mates at dinner.

Surfing is challenging for your body, it’s a real cardiovascular exercise and you spend about 54% of your time paddling, 28% waiting for waves and only 8% surfing.[1]

Sometimes it’s dangerous. There are rip currents, there is your surfboard which may land somewhere else than the water surface, there are rocks or reef, there are waves that look bigger when you are lying on the surfboard, then from the shore; and stronger, when they actually break over your head and heat you with their power. If you have been hit, or fallen and went down the whirlpool, you will have the powerful force testing your breath holding skills. At times, you may have a thought of your life coming to an end. Even if you are after only a four foot wave and your chances of survival are pretty high. You quickly start to appreciate the nature more. And you start to appreciate your fragility too.

Still, you are unfazed by any of this. You take the challenge, you learn, you adapt, and you know how to deal with it better next time. Because the joy of riding waves is bigger than the challenges you will face. And actually, depending on where you are in the world and what the nature has to offer, it’s not always as dramatic as that. There are places with an easy paddle and beautiful mellow waves breaking gently, where riding them feels like a fairy tale. Places with a crystal blue water, blue sky and a coconut the size of your head waiting for you when you finally had enough, and the skin starts peeling off your ears. It’s good to experience the good, the bad and the ugly, to fully appreciate the joy of surfing and all the different conditions the world’s oceans have to offer. Not only through surfing, but through travelling, blending and experiencing with local cultures and experiencing new things in life. Because you are likely to want to discover new destinations, each of them offering something different and unique.

Surfing is gaining popularity these days, some sources even state, that there are 35 million people around the world experiencing the joy of riding waves. If you have tried, you may have said it’s not for you. But more often, those who started surfing can’t imagine not to do it again. And it doesn’t matter if you are any good. Yes, it’s frustrating when you suck at it and see others doing better than you. Of course, you want to be better. But like yoga, surfing is not a competition. It takes years and many, many surf trips to be really good at it. Unless you are a surf babe or a surf dude born in Hawaii, Australia’s Gold Coast, Indonesia or any other surfable place in the world... Lucky you…

Otherwise, just give it a try and you may get hooked like 35 million of others.

“The best surfer out there is the one having the most fun.” – Phil Edwards

If you are a surfer reading this, I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please leave comments here, or on our social media @tribdapp. If you haven’t tried surfing yet, you might be tempted to try and see if what you have read here, resonates with you.

If like me, you love travel, surf and adventure and would like to meet other like-minded people for your next trip, download Tribd on iOS. Tribd helps you find travel buddies with similar travel plans and interests. 

Follow @tribdapp on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for stories and travel inspiration and join our group of solo travellers on Facebook!

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[1] The Sports Performance Research Institute New Zealand (SPRINZ)

Photo by  Jeremy Bishop  via Unsplash.

Photo by Jeremy Bishop via Unsplash.

 

How travelling helps us to rediscover ourselves

This post is a little bit more philosophical in nature, but comes from the experiences of our guest blogger Mirka, who left the comfort of the London life and her career, to travel the world. After months of travelling around South East Asia, she came back to London, but only lasted a year in her old ways of living. She and her boyfriend caught the travel bug, so they decided to leave for good. Their life is split between India, Indonesia, Thailand, other South East Asian countries and occasionally Europe. Read How travelling helps us to rediscover ourselves by Mirka Duchnovic.

Annapurna Trek, Nepal

Annapurna Trek, Nepal

What drives us to leave the comfort of our life and go travelling?

People have been travelling since their existence on this planet. Some have been doing it out of necessity, others out of curiosity.

Since I adopted the travelling lifestyle, I have been thinking about what drives us to leave the comfort of a modern life and take on travelling. Through my travels, personal experiences and exchanging views with fellow travellers, I have come to see how travel changes us and possible reasons why.

It usually starts this way…

At certain point of their life, some people feel that the space in which they live, becomes too small and shallow for their needs and dreams.

When the opportunity arises, they take a chance to travel, explore the world and rediscover themselves. It might require some courage to decide and stick to it. But once it’s done, it seems to be quite a natural process and one of the easiest things to do.

By jumping into the unknown, people thrive to discover new possibilities. Some of us find new ways, others come back to the old ways and the life they had. However, the time taken for discovering new avenues is never wasted. Because through travelling experience, something else happens - the expansion of mind.

There are many people, who managed to redirect their lives completely through travel, especially solo travel. Every place I have been to, I have met at least few people who have taken the journey to the unknown. Those who came back home, are not the same anymore, a new view of the world and expansion of mindset has changed them.

Do we need to prepare for our travels?

Logically thinking, yes. We should at least have an idea where and why we are going. But it is not necessary to plan it any further.

If we leave our page blank and venture into an unknown, we experience more and give the opportunity for expansion to occur. No matter how well prepared we are for our travels, there is no way to anticipate everything. Thus, the less prepared we are, the more flexible we become. Things which usually have annoyed us, suddenly become “no problem”.

By doing so, we are stepping out of our comfort zone. But why would we put ourselves through an uncomfortable situation? The answer is quite simple. Whatever our internal reason for travel is; subconsciously we do so to expand our mind. For that expansion to take place, we must first experience the unknown, which is often associated with discomfort. That doesn’t mean putting ourselves in a horrible situation, but the situation we haven’t experienced before. Diving into unknown, with no fixed plan or schedule might feel uncomfortable at first.

By being in uncomfortable situations, we learn to exist in them, often experiencing new thoughts and emotions, leading to a new space opening within us. Suddenly we have new ideas or have better understanding of ourselves.

The change we experience through travel

The process of change we experience through traveling is gradual and happens silently, without our mind permission. As we digest new experiences, meet new people, experience new cultures, we transform our mindset into a new space. Often, only realizing that we have changed, once the process of change has occurred.

Why people subconsciously or consciously look for that expansion to take place?

In my humble and not scientific opinion, it happens because people are creative creatures. The life patterns we nowadays follow, greatly suppresses our natural ability to express ourselves with ease. That new space within us helps connect to that creativity, eventually giving us a feeling of contentment, because it allows us to be ourselves. Eventually, the creativity helps us to rediscover and understand our unique nature. But we need to undergo the transformation, first. Once we connect to our creative force it will never leave us. It’s like a tattoo, letting us to experience much more than mundane routine, in which we are all caught.

Above thoughts have been taken from personal travelling experiences. There is no scientific proof of any kind. I am just sharing and hoping to encourage people to discover themselves through travelling. If you feel, that the space around you is too shallow to satisfy your inner needs, allow yourself to step out of the comfort zone and bring new ways to your life.

I would be happy to hear your stories of how travelling has changed or changing yourself. Please share them in the comments.

If you would like to meet other people whilst travelling, download Tribd on iOS. Tribd helps you to find travel buddies and connect with other solo travellers who have similar travel plans. 

Follow @tribdapp on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for stories and travel inspiration and join our group of solo travellers on Facebook!

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#findyourtribe

Mirka and her partner in Indian Himalayas

Mirka and her partner in Indian Himalayas

 

The ultimate guide to your next skiing destination.

It’s adventure time for winter sports enthusiasts and many of you are deciding where to go for your next skiing or snowboarding trip. The options are plenty and the choice can be tough. We give you an overview of countries and regions in the world, where you can indulge in a fluffy white powder activity with your travel buddies. This is not a resort review, as there are thousands of them, but rather a guide on what to expect in each destination and how your ski experience can be different. Depending on where will you go and what you are after during your skiing or snowboarding trip.

 “A pair of skis are the ultimate transportation to freedom.” – Warren Miller

There are two winter seasons on Earth

Where to go skiing or snowboarding depends largely on when. As the seasons vary between Hemispheres, you may want to take the advantage of winter in Northern Hemisphere or combine sun and surf with skiing in New Zealand and Australia later in the year, as the seasons are reversed there.

In Europe, USA and Canada, the ski season typically lasts since November until early May, whereas in New Zealand and Australia ski season runs between June and October. You can also ski in Japan and the season there typically runs from mid-December until early April, achieving peak in January and February.

Whilst your safest bet for a winter ski trip is between January and February, it is also the most expensive time to go skiing. But, choose wisely and you will enjoy a good quality snow in March and April, for a much lower damage to your credit card. If you want to take advantage of less crowded slopes in March and April (or even early May), choose a ski resort above 1500 meters with plenty of north-facing terrain above 2500 meters.

Right now, depending where are you based, you can go skiing in Europe, USA, Canada and Japan. That gives you plenty of opportunities where, depending on vacation time, budget and desire for the time on a plane.

Europe

Europe is heaven for ski and snowboard enthusiasts, with many skiing opportunities within two-hour flight, or if you live in one of the countries, a few hours’ drive. From the well-established Alpine resorts in France, Switzerland, Austria, Italy and Germany, to the less crowded slopes in Bulgaria, Slovakia, Romania, Poland, Czech Republic and Andorra and finally Nordic countries, Finland, Norway and Sweden, where snow runs in people’s bodies instead of blood. Well, it doesn’t but it’s an integrated part of life.

What to expect in the Alps?

Alpine ski resorts are likely to be your European benchmark, once you have taken a trip there. You will end up comparing your Alps experience with that in Eastern or Northern Europe. Alps and ski resorts in Austria, Switzerland, France, Italy and Germany offer world class ski opportunities with vast ski areas, modern lift systems, diversity of resorts and accommodation, fabulous views, picturesque towns, high-altitude slopes for your spring-time skiing, gourmet food and of plenty of ‘après-ski’ options. They can also set you back quite a few Euros, depending on the luxury level of your trip.

Andorra and Eastern Europe

Andorra, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Poland will offer slightly different experience. Whilst you are most likely to get more for your money there, you will also have less diversity and glamour than Alps. But that’s not to say that you won’t have a great trip. Each of these regions is unique on its own. One thing is almost sure, you certainly have less crowds there.

Virtually tax-free Andorra is a tempting option to explore for your next skiing or snowboarding trip, combined with some shopping opportunities. With plenty of high-altitude resorts, English-speaking ski and snowboarding schools for those making their first attempt at skiing, great après-ski venues; it’s a perfect skiing and snowboarding destination for beginner and intermediate ski enthusiasts.

Eastern Europe may not offer the same experience as skiing in high Alps, but you will save a lot of money on ski rental equipment, accommodation, lift passes and food. Virtually everything. Skiing is not a new sport in these countries and there are well established ski resorts, with good amenities, transport link, pistes, post-ski saunas, baths and relaxation possibilities. If this is your first ski trip, you may want to start there, as majority of the slopes are beginner and intermediate friendly.

Scandinavia

You may go there to see Santa Claus, you may go there for the opportunity to ski during the 24 hour daylight. Imagine going to the least populous European countries, where two things are guaranteed: snow and quiet slopes. Less party more gourmet food, sunshine, silence, post-ski sauna and unspoiled views will all be experienced in Sweden, Finland or Norway. And without a sunscreen, a sunburn will most likely be experienced too. If you are after fireplaces, rugged, unspoiled landscapes, empty pistes, husky rides, you know where to look now.

USA

Hello and welcome to ski heaven. USA offers one of the best skis and snowboard opportunities in the world.

The most popular USA ski resorts are Aspen, Beaver Creek and Vail in Colorado, Lake Tahoe or Mammoth Lakes in California (read our blog about Northern California, to find out more about Lake Tahoe), Park City and Salt Lake City in Utah, Breckenridge and Telluride in Rocky Mountains, Vermont, Stove and Killington in New England on the East Coast, Sun Valley in Idaho. You can also ski in Alaska.

Expect to pay a small fortune for a weekly lift pass, in exchange for the world’s best ski areas with well-groomed slopes, magnificent mountains, endless pistes, super-fast ski lifts and opportunities for skiing in both East and West Coast. USA ski and snowboard packages are more flexible than European, so you can combine your Vermont ski trip with a Boston city break for example. One thing worth mentioning, is that in the USA, the ski resorts are quite spread out, unlike Europe, so car rental might be a necessity to move between them and take advantage of your multi-resort ski pass.

Canada

Expect to combine your skiing trip with hiking trails, shopping, dining in fine restaurants, diversity, spas, friendly people and picturesque ski resorts (just Google-image Banff to get the idea). You can actually ski in most parts of Canada, but the most popular provinces and ski destinations are in British Columbia, neighbouring Alberta, and Quebec in the east. Similarly, to the USA and Alpine resorts of Western Europe, you will have a world class ski experience in Canada.

For many people, Canada offers the most beautiful views in the world to enjoy during their skiing and snowboarding trip. And like in Europe, you will have an opportunity to visit several resorts within one day. Something, which may not be easy to do in the USA.

Lake Louise is one of Canada’s top resorts and part of the three world-class ski resorts- SkiBig3, comprising Banff Sunshine, Lake Louise and Mt. Norquay all located in Banff National Park.

Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains have been rated top North America’s ski resorts and are a skiers’ dream destination. The resort is located between two massive mountains linked by gondola, which is an attraction on its own.

Another world class ski resort is Big White, located on the west side of Canada’s Rocky Mountains. The local climate in the area provides endless supply of dry, light, fluffy champagne powder with excellent skiing conditions.

 

Japan

Not just sushi, tea and cherry blossoms, but also amazing skiing and snowboarding opportunities and heavy snowfalls courtesy to the cold Siberian air.

There are over 500 ski resorts in Japan, with the best ones being in the northern parts, Hokkaido and Tohoku and in the mountains along the Sea of Japan Coast (Niigata and Nagano). If you decide to travel thousand miles to Japan for your skiing or snowboarding trip, you won’t be disappointed, as great quality white powder is guaranteed here. A trip to Japan, won’t be just a winter sports adventure, but a full cultural experience, with amazing hospitality, great food and a dip in Japanese history and culture. Something you may not easily find elsewhere in the world, but it’s definitely possible in Japan, is night skiing, with most Japanese ski resorts keeping the slopes open for some midnight snow adventures. For your ramen to go with your skis and a full cultural immersion, Japan is a great winter sports destination, for those on shoestring and those seeking high-end luxury during their adventure time.

 

New Zealand

People go to New Zealand for spectacular views and best in the world trekking and hiking opportunities. But that can easily be combined with something else. A ski or snowboard trip in the middle of European Summer. Chasing the snow? Why not! And even more worthy, if you are to experience the same skiing conditions to that of Western Europe, but in an unspoiled environment. It is the Land at The End of The World after all.

The four ski regions of New Zealand are alpine resorts of Queenstown, Christchurch and Canterbury Plains in the Southern Alps, small town of Wanaka nestled on the edge of Lake Wanaka and the Mackenzie region with Lake Tekapo at its heart.

A ski trip to New Zealand means you will be inhaling the cleanest and purest air on earth, whilst experiencing awe inspiring views combined of picturesque towns, alpine peaks and azure lakes. You will also be likely to combine your ski adventure with trekking, wine tasting, exploring waterfalls at a great value for money prices. And those seeking pure adrenaline and freedom, you will have the opportunity for the ultimate Heli-skiing experience, with plenty of local operators offering Heli-trips. Regardless if you will be going off piste or with the crowd, remember to take plenty of sunscreen. In New Zealand you can be burned even during cloudy weather, as the country has the highest UV ratings in the world, due to its pure and clean air.

 

Australia

At Tribd, we regularly check which destinations are popular for different activity types, so we can provide insights to our adventure community. When Australia came on the list of countries for ski trips, I thought that it was on error. Skiing in Australia? But it’s surfer’s paradise…!

Well, it turns out not just, there is snow in Australia and there are skiing and snowboarding opportunities too. Skiing conditions in Australia can be found mainly in the two states of New South Wales and Victoria, and Tasmania.The two top ski resorts in Australia are Perisher and Thredbo, around six hours drive from Sydney, or seven hours from Melbourne. Perisher is the largest, Thredbo is the highest resort. Both offer great equipment, slopes for all levels and an après-ski nightlife. Perisher has the most expansive ski terrain in Australia and is also the largest resort in the Southern Hemisphere. Whilst your skiing experience won’t be the same to that of Europe, North America or Japan, it’s worth knowing that you have an option to put the ski boots on, when visiting Australia, or if you fancy skiing in the Summer, just hop on a plane and head a few thousand miles South.

If you would like to meet other people going skiing or snowboarding and take a trip together, download Tribd on iOS. Tribd helps you to find travel buddies and connect with other solo travellers with similar travel plans. 

Follow @tribdapp on social media for travel stories and travel inspiration and join our group of solo travellers on Facebook!

https://www.facebook.com/Tribdapp/ 

#findyourtribe

Snowboarding photo by  Yann Allegre  via Unsplash

Snowboarding photo by Yann Allegre via Unsplash