2020 has been a banner year for me. I kicked 2020 square in the nuts. I'm realizing my dream of living in Mexico and learning Spanish. I live right, smack on the Pacific Ocean. I hear the waves crashing when I fall asleep at night, then I wake up and ride them. I finally learned how to surf here, and I have been surfing twice per day. Surfing is at the center of my long term plans. I have big goals for 2021 and beyond. Bigger goals than ever. But I'm not telling anybody what they are. Not even my Mom or my best friends. Nobody.
I do the same things every day. I surf in the morning, work at the coffee shop in the afternoon, then surf again in the evenings. It's been cold in the mornings and I have been the only person on the water. I've been doing dawn patrol by myself each morning since I stopped working with my instructor. We went out together every morning until I learned the basics, but now I am on my own. I keep going out alone every day, even though I miss my coach. Surfing with friends is always more fun, but if I want to be a surfer then I will be surfing mostly alone for the time being.
There have been no other surfers out in the mornings and nobody on the beach except for a few local fisherman. The fishermen are the only ones out there to see my good rides and my good wipeouts. I've been surfing at such a feverish pace that I have given a myself a new nickname: The Surfing Machine. Surfing took hold of me so quickly and so mightily that I have already asked myself many times why I'm doing it. There is no single answer. There are many. This list is not exhaustive, but here are 10 reasons I surf:
1) Surfing makes me a happier and therefore better person.
- I am kinder and more generous to people on land because I am energized by surfing. Surfing improves my attitude and energy level for the whole day. Surfing relieves stress and elevates my whole sense of being.
2) Surfing is great exercise.
- I know of nothing - and I mean nothing - that burns more calories than surfing. Surfing will help you lose weight. It will also improve your cardio, even if you are a already high-level professional athlete.
3) Surfing is a great way to make new friends.
- The surfing world is full of interesting people. I've already gotten to take surf trips with my local friends here in Mexico. Of course, being able to speak and understand the local language is key.
4) Surfing connects me with nature.
- It makes me completely present. I'm focused purely on what I am doing. I'm not thinking about anything else. All distractions cease to exist while I am out there on the waves. It's an escape from "land problems" - the bullshit government and the bullshit people in my life mean nothing on the water. Civilization could crash and burn and I wouldn't even notice, let alone care.
- The sensation of dropping down the face of a wave and riding along the surface of the water is priceless. The feeling could never be described adequately. It can't be captured by words. It's something that must be experienced. It must be felt. There's a saying: ''only a surfer knows the feeling." This is the feeling I speak of.
6) Surfing provides schedule structure.
- My day follows the surf schedule. I surf in the mornings because that is when the surfing conditions are best, and before the sun is too high. I surf again in the evenings for the same reasons: good surf and low sun. I do my research and writing during the day because that is when I'm not surfing. I eat and sleep in order to fuel up for surf sessions - there's almost no other reason. I live to surf.
7) Surfing demands endless learning.
- Surfing is an art. Like any art, it takes a lifetime to master. A real artist never stops learning about his art. There are endless dimensions to surfing. Every surfer is also an amateur naturalist, oceanographer, weatherman, medic, handyman, geographer, cook, nutritionist, linguist and travel agent. You keep learning for life.
8) Surfing demands self-sufficiency.
- Surfing engraves a self-sufficient ethic deep into your core, through fear. Being out there in big surf, all alone, on a small piece of fiberglass is humbling. You realize that you and you alone are responsible for your well being. Whether you have a great experience, or a near death experience, depends purely on your skills and the decisions you make. Show me a great surfer and I'll show you someone who is remarkably self-sufficient. They had to be self-sufficient in order to become a great surfer. Surfing, by nature, targets and weeds out excuses for not surfing.
9) Surfing is a reason to travel.
- I can't think of a better way to see the world than through an endless string of surf trips. This idea is so appealing that they made two movies out of it: Endless Summer I and II. These movies are classic hits, and they continue to be the beginning of the surfing journey for thousands of people. People absolutely lust over the idea of travelling the world surfing. I'm living that fantasy as we speak, and I plan to keep it up as long as possible.
10) Surfing is a reason to care about the environment.
- The first time you get diarrhea or a skin infection from polluted water, you will know what I'm talking about. The first time you arrive at an isolated beach to find it covered in trash, you will know what I am talking about.
After my morning surf, I walk about a half mile to the coffee shop to do my deskwork. I arrive at roughly the same time and sit at roughly the same spot every day. I know everyone who works here by their first name, and they know me. I greet them every time I come in. They must laugh at me because I am so predictable. They joke with me that the coffee shop is my office - and it is. I show up every day, like clockwork. Except on Wednesdays because they are closed. If they were open on Wednesdays, I'd show up on Wednesdays, too. I do research and writing at the coffee shop every day until it's time to surf again.
Nobody makes me do any of this. Nobody checks my time card to see if I showed up. Nobody cares. That's what I like about it. I don't have a boss. I show up because I want to. I show up because surfing means living the dream I've had since I was a kid. Living my childhood dreams gives me a great sense of pleasure, satisfaction and accomplishment. Learning to surf wasn't easy. It took dedication, drive and commitment - but living out my childhood dreams is incredibly gratifying. It's so gratifying that I've decided to keep doing it forever. I plan to perpetually follow the desires of my inner child: the one who wants to do nothing but have fun all the time.
The success of my life and my career will be measured in only one currency: how much fun I have. Not by how much money I make. Not by how many girls like me. Not by how many people read my blog. Not by any position or rank I hold. Only by how much fun I have. I am going to live this lifestyle as long as I can, and I am going to share updates. So stay tuned. The coming years are going to be humdingers. 2020 was just a warm up. I have only begun to surf.
Living this lifestyle is serious business, though. It's not for everybody. Freedom must be balanced by responsibility, or it will turn into chaos. It takes a strong backbone and a strong moral compass to live this free. You have to remain focused on your goals, or you will fall off track. There are plenty of ex-pats who leave their country claiming to be on some righteous mission, but don't have anywhere near the discipline or dedication to actually follow through on their commitments.
There are plenty of guys down here in Mexico who claim that they are "learning Spanish.'' Some of them have lived here for more than a year and still can't even ask for a menu in Spanish, let alone order from it. I stay away from these guys.
There are also plenty of guys who are "learning to surf.'' They have a board and speak surfing lingo well enough to fool non-surfers into thinking they know what they are doing. This ruse ends the moment they hit the water. Whether you have been surfing or not, your skills will show it. When it comes time to paddle out, you will not fool anybody - least of all, yourself.
The only reason I even mention these guys is because I am tired of being mistaken for them. I've been putting in the work every day. It takes time to develop real skills like Spanish and surfing, and only time will tell who has been putting in the work and who hasn't.
But make no mistake about it: time will tell the truth. The bums will remain bums, and those who've been putting the work will graduate to new levels. I've never been more excited about things to come.