Friends! Apologies for the brief hiatus. I escaped to surf in Ecuador and upon my return home was greeted with not one but TWO swells, back-to-back. I intended to write, but the waves were perfect and I gave into their charm all day every day, until today. I’m here now though, so let’s talk…
I hope you don’t mind if I assume you’re reading this because you want to surf in Costa Rica or you’re longing to return here. Believe me, I’ve been there. Sometimes it’s easier to travel through the Internet than it is to physically get up and go. You have responsibilities at home, and your vacation days get snagged by weddings and things like Christmas or whatever. Sometimes, escaping the every day can feel like a job better suited for Houdini than for yourself.
But may I suggest that during your next journey into The Matrix, you at least look for a flight to somewhere you want to go? Somewhere. Anywhere. Because I’m pretty sure we only live once, and the older we get the faster these years fly by. It’s already November for crying out loud; we need to have a little fun before we’re 90.
It’s obvious I’m inspired by my recent trip to South America. But you guys, I almost said no. If I had, I wouldn’t have learned the things I learned, and I would’ve missed out on a lot of fun. Thankfully, I said yes. And this got me thinking of a story directly related to WRSC. One I’d like to share with you now, in hopes that you too will be inspired to pack up your suitcase and skip town.
His name is Hernan Pettinaroli.
He’s been a dear friend of mine for years. I was lucky enough to spent two months working with him at an agency in Miami before my first trip to WRSC. And when I returned, we immediately began working together again. The poor guy had to sit there and listen to me reminisce about Costa Rica day after day. Hernan had never been to Central America. He’d never surfed. And I could see his mouth watering whenever I went into detail about the magic I had discovered in the ocean.
As the days progressed, our project grew more demanding and we discussed Costa Rica less frequently. So I caught him off guard when I looked up from my computer one day and spoke these words:
“I think I’m gonna go back.”
“What! When?” he asked.
“Soon. In fact, I’m buying a ticket right now.”
The next day, Hernan wouldn’t shut up about my sporadic decision.
“Well… wanna come?” I coaxed him.
His somber face replied, “I can’t. I only have two vacation days left.”
Perfect, I said. Sure, I was going for two weeks but he could just meet up with me for the last four. His eyes squinted mischievously, one corner of his mouth smirked upward, and he hopped online to search for a cheap ticket.
Well, you know what? He found one. Suddenly his credit card was out and he had a confirmation number for a flight to San Jose. Yes! In that moment, were so proud of ourselves that we literally high-fived. (Nerd alert.)
For the next couple of weeks, work consumed us and we pulled all nighters like crazy. It was a challenge, but we managed to stay focused. Well, for the most part…
As the big day grew closer, Hernan started doing what Hernan does – buying gadgets. He wanted to document the trip and I had no objections to this whatsoever (you know, because I wasn’t the one buying all the expensive toys).
Finally, our project wrapped and off I went for Costa Rica 2.0. Before Hernan arrived, I spent my days surfing and my nights drinking beers with familiar faces. In my lessons, Flash and I picked up right where we’d left off. I was catching more and more green waves on my own. My idea to return so quickly was validated – I was no longer a “really shitty” surfer, I was a “kinda shitty” surfer and I couldn’t have been happier.
On day 10, I awoke with excitement because Hernan had landed in San Jose the day before and would now be on his way to Tamarindo via Nature Air. I grabbed two cold beers, hopped in my rental car and drove to the airport. I sat on the hood of the car with the Welcome Beers by my side – I knew he’d be able to see me from his window on that tiny plane and I wanted to make him chuckle.
The plane landed. The passengers departed. Only, there was no sign of Hernan. Hmm.
I went home to check my email, and sure enough he’d missed his flight to Tamarindo. Dammit, Hernan! “Long story, but don’t worry,” he wrote, “I’m renting a car so I’ll see you in four hours.” Our trip hadn’t even begun, but the stories sure had.
When he finally walked into WRSC we greeted each other with big smiles, big hugs, and of course another big high-five. We didn’t have much time, but I dare you to watch this video Hernan made and tell me we didn’t have a full vacation. No wait, I double dare you:
In just 72 hours, we had a month’s worth of fun and made a lifetime of memories. And we were refreshed for weeks after returning to our respective lives. (Note: Not sure what that knee-bending, arms-flailing thing I was doing was, but I promise after I saw it on camera, I never surfed like that again.)
This is my longwinded point: Even short trips do the job. So take them.
Hernan and I still talk about how happy we are that we hopped on planes. We still laugh at memories and we still look through photos. If we had let our hesitations own us, we would’ve missed out on 72 hours of it. And the worst part would be that we wouldn’t even know what we had missed. Just like my trip to Ecuador, we are forever thankful that we said yes.
We have to remember that there’s a whole world out there. So go learn to surf, or go climb a mountain, or go do some other cliché ‘finding yourself’ thing. Just go somewhere different from wherever you’re reading this from right now.
We don’t get much time on Earth, and you want to have interesting stories to tell your great-grandkids when you’re 90, don’t you?
Sara is a freelance writer and surfing addict. See her portfolio at www.meetsarashelton.com, and if you’re interested in working with her or want to say hi, shoot her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hernan Pettinaroli is an Art Director based out of Miami, FL. See his portfolio at www.hellothisismybook.com