Coming Unstuck – Today’s Travel Inspiration


“There was once a man who became unstuck in the world. He took the wind for a map. He took the sky for a clock and he set off with no destination. He was never lost.” -Castles in the Sky

One of the greatest things about surfing is that it so naturally goes hand in hand with travel.

I’ve just emerged from a month in Bangladesh, where we surfed nearly every single day. And while Bangla’s waves can hardly compare to the world-class breaks of Indonesia where I spent the previous 2 months, it has consistent swell and the beach breaks can get as fun as anywhere. But here it wasn’t about the quality of waves but the adventure: walking through villages where the locals were dumbfounded at never having seen this ‘surfboard’ thing before, exploring the coastline, finding and surfing unnamed breaks near the Burmese border, just you and your friend, the first and only people to ever have surfed these breaks. This is what made it so memorable. Surfers are adventurous, DIY types – it’s always been a part of the culture since the days of The Endless SummerMorning of the Earth and The Forgotten of Santosha. You have to be. The search for waves has led me to places off the beaten path that I never would have ended up otherwise. But whether you’re a surfer or not, I recommend the surf-travel movies Sipping Jetstreams and Castles in the Sky. I hope they’ll stir the wanderer in your soul and inspire you to walk out the door on that next unexpected, unforeseen adventure.

Happy trails:)

Song: The Summer We Raised You by Years around the Sun

Gearing up for a mission in Cox’s Bazaar. Destination: St Martin’s Island, Bangladesh’s southernmost point, next to Burma.

Boarding the ferry at Teknaf, stoked for exploration and uncharted waves.

Bengali boats in the hazy-bronze light of the late afternoon.

Commandeering a fishing boat to access distant reef breaks. The locals were amazed and confused.

Late sun and traditional fishing boats on an inlet near the Burmese (Myanmar) border.

Alarm bells.

“I’ve always wanted to sail the South Seas, but I can’t afford it. What these people can’t afford is not to go. They are enmeshed in the demands of security. And in the worship of security we fling our lives beneath the wheels of routine and before we know it our lives are gone…

…The years thunder by, the dreams of youth grow dim while they lie caked in dust on the shelves of patience.

Before we sense it, the tomb is sealed.” -Sterling Hayden, Wanderer

Nov 7, 2011

If there’s one thing that I’ve never understood, it’s people who lack motivation. I’m sure you know the type. To be honest, they really bug me, and there’s really few things that bug me these days. I just can’t understand why some people choose to wallow in apathy, or are just plain lazy; seem to lack the spark that we should bring to each day.

Maybe it’s partly due to a narrow vision, a smaller view of the world, an isolation from the bigger picture?… I’m really not sure what. Guess that’s why it’s something I just never understood.

I was lucky that my upbringing exposed me to about as broad a horizon as one could’ve hoped for. Doubly lucky to have a background in high level sport, which weeds out the softies and surrounds one with those who display some of the highest examples of strengths of character. Like many of my former swimming peers, I’m still making the slow transition from a full-time athlete to something else; and I see the same thing in my friends and former teammates. Taking their drive and energies and pouring them into that which comes next: projects, businesses, careers, social and philanthropic endeavours, trips about the globe. They can’t sit still, and neither can I.

These backgrounds combined with increasing travel and exposure to different places and peoples has broadened my views of what is possible to the point where I laugh when I see others unable to see past their current state, bemoaning their current situations. They are the masons of their own walls, built upon the mortar of their self-restricting beliefs.

We are in such a unique point in humanity. Anyone who is reading this now is amongst the luckiest of people that ever lived I reckon. We are now able to transcend time and space like never before. We can instantly travel to far off lands. We can project our voice to almost any location on planet earth. We can learn and educate ourselves with about as much information as our mind can handle. Modern transport, the internet, photos, movies and media of all types, the archiving of history, an abundance of food (in the developed world), the increasing exposure to the frothy soup of ideas that is the inter-webs. It’s all there, things that were never imaginable a few generations ago. What were once luxuries, impossibilities, that might not’ve made it past fantasies and daydreams, we can create in RL (real life) with these tools at our disposal. We have the luck and benefit of the wisdom of great thinkers packaged for us (TV, docs, books, videos…). We can go and watch the wise, the motivating, the mind-expanding at the click of a button. We can travel back in time to watch them, hear them, read their words, see them. We can study history and learn from the past like never before. Of great mistakes, of wars and follies of past societies, from long ago to the very recent. We are so so lucky and it’s something that’s difficult to really gain a perspective on, or appreciation of because we’ve grown up amongst it all.

When I slow down, the learning of history will likely become a growing component of my life. Age and an ever expanding view have only served to increase my appreciation for where we sit at this moment. Maybe it just isn’t possible to fully appreciate these things until we begin to get older and amass a greater range of experiences, sights, lessons and stories in our brain.

“This is your life. You have complete freedom. We live in an era where the world is more accessible than ever. You’re not a slave or a peon or a prisoner. You can do WHATEVER you want. So why aren’t you doing exactly what you love? Money, fear, indecision, lack of knowledge, girlfriend/boyfriend and “I’m content” are not answers to that question.” -Jordan Lejuwaan, Wake the F**k Up!

We all have dreams. What do you want to do with your life? What have you always imagined yourself doing one day? Seeing? Experiencing with others? What do you see when you let your mind wander to that which it wants? You have to ask yourself, for how long are you willing to let your life slip by before doing these things? A year? Till you’re done school? Till you have a job? Till you’ve made the down payment on your house? Till you’ve done the renos? Till you have a certain amount saved? What if your situation changes? Something else comes up? You meet someone? Your priorities change, you loose health, have a kid, or whatever whatever. How long are you willing to wait? How much time will you let slip past? Because each passing day buries your life a little bit more. Each time you lay your weary body down at the end of the day, the likelihood of you achieving and experiencing that which you were meant to decreases. Beware ye of the buried life!  That’s not an alarm bell that wakes you every morning. It’s a death knoll. Seek not to know for whom the bell tolls, as it’s right there on your fucking nightstand and it’s ringing shrill and loud for thee.

I distinctly remember reading an article a long, long time ago. It was about a man who engineered and manned single-man submersibles (like mini submarines), free-dove and explored successfully for sunken treasures in the environs of the Carribean. He had done quite a bit of what one might consider exciting, pioneering and/or dangerous. It seemed to the interviewer that nothing fazed this guy, and finally he felt compelled to ask “Is there anything that scares you?”. The guy pulls out a worn, folded piece of paper. On it were 100 rows with 52 squares per row. The little squares were filled in individually over the years with all manner of pens. The guy explained that each square represented a week, each row one year. “I carry this with me everywhere. Every week I colour one square in… I can see my entire life before me.” He wasn’t scared of dying. He was scared of not living, and used this to remind himself to never loose that fear.

There are fewer limits on us now than ever afore. There is no roof but the open sky, no walls unless you let yourself believe in such things. So don’t. Be stoked. Be energetic. Be motivated. Believe your imagination. If not for you, then we all owe it to those souls, both current and past, to take advantage of all that we have and that they didn’t and don’t. I really respect this guy, what a rad story…

The Best Year of Your Life and Project Island Mist Leak

Oct 2,  2011

“For the past 33 years I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself, ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘no’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.” -Steve Jobs

I’ve recently been updating my website with posts I had written at the beginning of this year, back when I made a vow to make this the best year of my life. If got off to an amazing start out of the gates, but sometimes it’s hard to retain the momentum and not fall back into the day to day of routine, of habit.  After 6 months I did a self check at the halfway point to see if I was on track. I wasn’t living each day the best I could, but overall so far so good. With the 9 month period just up, I think I’ve lost a bit of that mentality. Don’t get me wrong, things have worked out fucking fantastically to date. Plan strategically, but act opportunistically has been my motto. Borneo, New Zealand, Thailand, etc…. they all met at the nexus of strategy and opportunity. Those experiences blew my mind. But I know I can do more. Not only that, but I know I’ll be travelling well into next year.

So I’m setting myself this challenge: make 2012 even better than 2011!

It’ll be a tall order, but I’m game. And while we’re at it, why wait until the new year to get going? Plan strategically, act opportunistically.

Air Asia was having a sale, so last night I took a really, really deep breath…and purchased flights to Bali, India and Paris.

Fuck. Yes. Boom! Just like that, I’ve set things up for an epic year already and given 2012 the best chance possible.. Fucking Paris?!? Are you kidding me? I still can’t even believe it’s real. If 2011 has been the year of the working holiday, 2012 is gonna be the year of the straight-up holiday. I have no idea what the hell I’m doing, but I do know that there are now 3 dates where I have to be at a certain location. All the rest is just freestylin.

<<Sound of record needle scratching>>. Hold up son. 2011 ain’t over yet. So sir, and there are some big things in the pipeline to make sure 2011 goes down swinging. My friends Phil, Marty and myself are working on something that makes me so excited I want to explode. “Project Island Mist.”

“A boat trip to the Mentawais changes lives. It opens minds, and feeds the soul. The amount of quality waves packed into this part of the Indian Ocean is unbelievable.”-Sumatran Surfaris

Everyday offshore.

It’s still in the early stages of planning, but we’ve committed, and that’s 2/3 of the battle. In point form: surfing, Indonesia, Mentawai Islands, spear fishing, filming, documentary, barrels, one long haired-bearded hippy (who will that be? You’ll just have to watch the film to find out!), camping on a deserted island… oh yeah, did I mention surfing in the Mentawais?

Project Island Mist is currently scheduled for early December. The setting, along with the people involved (two of the most positive, stoked and motivated friends I have) already guarantee that it’ll be a truely epic, memorable and defining experience.

This is what life’s all about. Stay tuned!

The vast fetch of the Indian Ocean pointing right at the Mentawais!

I’d also like to take this opportunity to challenge YOU, my friends, to ask yourself everyday for the rest of 2011 “How can I make this the best day ever?”, and plan strategically to make 2012 the best year of your life. Maybe even share with us how you plan on doing it in the comments section that’d be pretty rad!



February, 2011 

“One day I hope to say that I’ve seen the world. But that day is not here yet.” –Scott Wilson, Departures, Season 2

Growing up, I was lucky enough to be surrounded by an extensive National Geographic collection. Like any kid, I particularily I loved the photos of exotic cultures, fauna and flora, etc. I could sit there and stare at an atlas for hours, memorizing the names of exotic lands and imagining adventures in these far flung places.

A brief sabbatical to SouthEast Asia a half decade ago did little to slake the thirst for adventure, simply whetting my palette for travel and ever since, I’ve been chomping at the bit to head out again. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that the ancestors whose blood runs through my veins are the ones who coined the term Wanderlust; Perhaps their spirits and echoes are that which tickles my feet.

Regardless, the past few years have seen me spatially trapped by other responsibilities

and activities whose time and place was at the fore, but which have now come to fruition. It’s time. Time to move on, time to head out, time to stop being surrounded by the day dreams and pictures and Youtube videos as vicarious stand-ins. It’s been a long time coming, but I’ve been able to put myself in a position which will allow me to once again head out for a good long ‘walkabout‘.

“Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.” -Henry David Thoreau

It’s Tuesday and I am boarding the China Eastern Airlines plane to Shanghai, and begin my life as an expat. Mixed emotions of excitement, nostalgia, sadness and fear and something which can only appropriately be described as… stoke. It’s gonna be an adventure.

So to all my friends, wherever you may find yourself in life and on the planet, I invite you to join me in this adventure, whether here or in person. Stay tuned!

When we take a long imagined dream, formerly relegated to our thoughts, and breathe it into life… at first it’s hard to compute….. At first.


Jan 28, 2011

“On a long enough timeline the survival rate for everyone drops to zero.” –Zero Hedge

Travelling is good.  In a small way, I feel that right before you leave for a big, long trip, it gives you the sense of what it’s like perhaps when you are old, or when you know you are going to die and your days are numbered. Before I left for Asia 6 years ago, it felt like I did more living in the 2 weeks before I left than I did in months leading up to it. Now, I find myself once again leaving for the Asia-Pacific region, and again, the same thing is happening this time around.

It makes me wonder what life would be like if we lived this way everyday. With a real sense of the fleetness of our existence. I mean, people pay lip service to the brevity of life all the time. But alas, we invariably fall prey to the day to day, to ruts, to excesses of time wasters, and of roundabout or slower than needed approaches to life’s unfoldings. I think this is especially pertinent when it comes to personal relationships. How many times do we know we want to express something to someone we care about, but either don’t, or perhaps leave it unacknowledged. Like that girl that we really like and tell ourselves that we’ll get to know her and eventually ask her out. Why not just walk right up to her out of the blue and ask her out? Would save you a lot of time, that’s for sure. Especially if in the end it ends up being wasted time for all intents and purposes. And those friends we are always meaning to hang out with, that we have so much fun with and care about, but perhaps we decline their invitations to outings due to school, work in the a.m., etc. Or some plan, adventure, thing you really want to do or see, that has been in the back of your head, you’ve been meaning to get around to doing for a while now, but just haven’t had the chance to. These things, this life we desire and that our subconscious thinks of and craves, but we rarely create in RL with the immediacy it deserves until faced with a deadline. Then all of a sudden your perspective will change. Hesitation and planning becomes action and immediacy.

I feel that an impending change of scenery such as that provided by a long, distant and protracted voyage, gives one a taste of what it may be like to be faced with an imminent terminal deadline. The details are forgotten and the essentials are sought and enriched. I just wish I could live my live like this at every turn. Indeed, I feel as though some do. We see and come across them all the time. And sadly, I would have to say that I’ve come across the opposite as well. People who don’t value straight up honesty, bluntness and straightforwardness, who might be apt to avoid an honest h2h, who are unsure, unable to make a decision as it seems too big, too important, too immediate for them to deal with. Who delay something that could be good, for the day that something they tell themselves could potentially be better comes along. Who tell themselves “not today because I have other immediate priorities right now, but tomorrow though!”. I’ve been there, I’ve done this ad infinitum, guilty as charged. These few occasions before a big ol extended vacation however, have shown me what it truly is to live like any mortal being should.