Surfing through 2014, or Another Year in Review

The year 2014 is coming to a close, and, as it does with any year, it causes one to be a bit more reflective. This year has been a rollercoaster in the live of me, with many new experiences in many different places.

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I started the year off by studying abroad in Costa Rica. Among the relationships developed on that trip was the one with myself and the incredible froth that is brought on by surfing.

©2014 Katelyn Vancouver

©2014 Katelyn Vancouver

This experience, I feel, is highly relevant to how my year continued. I’ve found that surfing is a lot of waiting and a lot of paddling and a lot of wiping out, but the moments that you spend riding waves are what make the whole thing worth it. More on that later, though.

Not long after my adventure to Costa Rica, I joined my father on a voyage to Connecticut to visit our extended family who I, at least, hadn’t seen in a long time. It was awesome to hang out with my dad, aunt, and uncle as a fellow adult of legal drinking age…a different dynamic and a nice one. Reconnecting with family is always good, too. Speaking of family, I gained some (unofficially, I suppose) in my main squeeze’s family. Soon after the trip to see my own, I flew to Chicago to meet up with Q and meet his (enormous) extended family. Needless to say, they rule and I love them. Our Chicago adventures were extremely cold (it was the only bit of the great Polar Vortex that I experienced) but that resulted in some phenomenal Bean photos…because it was so cold that we were the only people in Millenium Park!

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After a week or so in Chi-town, we embarked on a road trip with the ultimate destination being the Florida Keys for the Spring Season at  Sea Base. Stops included Ohio, the Carolinas, and Jacksonville and boy did it rule. Off season touristing is amazing. We went to Jockey’s Ridge, and despite the wind and the lack of open restaurants, the solitude in the park was worth it.

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Between Spring and Summer in the Keys, I checked an item off of my bucket list – graduate college on time.

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And then another road trip to Florida for another Summer at Sea Base.

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This past summer, I also got the opportunity to mate on the sailboat at the fancy resort next door to our island and it was a unique opportunity. Not something that I could spend my life doing, but highly enjoyable and some way to make a week’s paycheck in a day.

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Upon the completion of the season, Q and I became real Floridians when we moved into our apartment (TOGETHER! An enormous commitment). Living with my significant someone has been great. Living on my own for the first time, and not even totally independently from my parents across the country, and being unemployed for several months was less great. I admittedly fell into the gaping rut that I will not-so-affectionately refer to as Netflix for hours…no, weeks, on end. We did fix up a trash picked surfboard that is too short for both of our surfing skill levels, which was the best thing I did for several months. Getting ‘real people jobs’ is not an easy thing and it takes a lot of time. It took a few months to score a seasonal retail position at the local mall, which I actually love, but the time between work at base and work here was long enough to put a serious strain on the bank account. It has gotten better and will continue to do so. The two of us only have a few friends here, and don’t go out often, but when we do it is an awesome time. We go fishing and surfing, more me than Q, but he has caught a few solid waves since moving here. We moved here to surf and even though we don’t do it as often as we would like to, we’ve made some improvements.

I was lucky enough to (allegedly irresponsibly) venture down to NIcaragua to do some of this improving when I signed up for a Surf With Amigas surf retreat on a whim that was highly encouraged by Q. It was an amazing experience and I met a lot of very empowering women and rode some green waves and volcano boarded and galloped down a gorgeous, pristine beach on horseback. It was wild and a wonderful way to bring my year back up toward the top of the rollercoaster.

Coming up next, in 2015, I will be making a dash across the country to work in California for about six months. I am extremely excited for this new adventure on a new coast and with new people. I am going to miss the heck out of Q every day, but I believe that in the end, the distance will make us stronger both as individuals and as a team. I can’t help but think sappy thoughts when I think about him and I know that we will be more than alright.

The year 2014, like surfing, involved a lot of waiting, a lot of paddling hard, a LOT of wiping out, and more than enough excitement to make all of the really hard stuff worth it. I am frothing to drop into 2015 and all of the hard work, new friends, and new thrills that will come with it.

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Blessed as Heck

I recently returned from a week long surf/yoga/adventure excursion in Chinandega, Nicaragua with Surf with Amigas. I signed up for this trip on a whim, and didn’t really have the money for it, but I did it anyway and I am glad that it happened. I learned a lot about surfing, did some really restorative yoga, and got away from the rut that I had been in here in Florida.

I had a lot of new experiences including volcano boarding, which is like sledding but on volcanic ash instead of snow, riding green waves, and galloping on a horse down the beach a la romance novel cover. I also learned that I can travel by myself and that I will plan the whole trip myself next time, that I need to learn how to speak Spanish, and that just because I have a shitty shortboard here doesn’t mean that I have to keep it.

We stayed in the nicest place I think I ever have, ate some of the best food that I think I ever have, and met some of the coolest and most empowering women that I think I ever have.

I don’t have a lot of photos, but I have a lot of memories and that is what truly matters.

Returning home has been nice, especially because I have a job here and a friend or two! A friend who wasn’t Q came and saw me at work today! Yay!  I do want to establish that I do like living here, and I love living with Q, but the months of unemployment did a number on my confidence and my bank account. Unfortunately/fortunately, I will only be here for another few weeks. In January, I am hopping across the country for a job! After that, I am not sure what I will do, but it will be back here in Florida with Q.

Well…

In not even two days, I will be boarding a plane at an ungodly hour to hop over to Nicaragua to spend a week surfing and adventuring with a group of women who I haven’t met yet.

I am excited as all get out.