That’s what stepping out of my comfort zone looked like recently.
I had been craving a bit of adventure for a while and not being one to ignore my cravings, I decided to look into doing something new and a bit different. I asked a couple of friends for recommendations and one came up with something very appealing, surf camp… in the Dominican Republic!
My first reaction was… amazing… but I won’t do it. Then I started to ask myself why not and all the reasons (it’s too far, too expensive, do I really want to go on my own? etc.) started to melt away as I thought about them. I went from nah, to maybe, to… I’m booking! That was an amazing feeling. I love travelling on my own but this was my first solo holiday and the prospect was very exciting.
I won’t turn this piece into a travel log but I’m definitely a fan of the “getting there”. I have never seen views quite as breathtaking as those flying over the Caribbean. Nothing like soaring above the clouds for a bit of perspective.
Once in the DR my days started early (6.30am) and consisted of two 1.5 hour surf sessions (with the most amazing brekkie in between) and a yoga session every second evening. One of the days we went canyoning (jumping off waterfalls, rappelling down rock faces and being carried along by a river), it was totally exhilarating. There was a very physical aspect to the holiday which I really enjoyed. It confirmed how much I love an active holiday, with some time to work on my tan by the pool, of course!
Surfing was a huge amount of fun and pretty challenging too. Hurricane Nicole had thrown up some impressive waves and although we weren’t riding those, the water was pretty “big” as a result. Getting pounded by a large swell of breaking water gives you a whole new respect for nature. I found it interesting to see myself progress through learning a new skill and to observe my attitude towards it. The elation I felt when I caught a good wave is just something else. I strongly encourage giving it a go and can safely say I’m hooked!
The evening yoga sessions complemented the surfing so well. It felt fantastic to stretch those hard working shoulders and to soak up the atmosphere in the outdoor class. I was surprised at how different I felt the mornings we hadn’t done yoga the night before, the effect of practising after surfing was hugely beneficial. As with the surfing, we had an excellent instructor who was totally dedicated to the experience, which is such a pleasure. Yoga really is a hobby that travels well!
The point of telling you about my travels isn’t to make you jealous (honest) but to share how fantastic it felt to do something totally different. It was exciting and liberating to try new things in a totally new place with strangers who very quickly became friends.
It can be daunting to venture further than is comfortable but it is so rewarding and well worth the effort. I felt a wonderful sense of freedom travelling on my own and a real sense of accomplishment after my week in the water. My body came back humming from all the sun, sea and exertion while my mind has been given a strong reminder to do stuff I love… and a lot more often! Try new things, travel lots and embrace adventure!
If my trip appeals to you then I couldn’t recommend Swell Surf Camp in Cabarete, Dominican Republic more. The people and the experience are well worth the flight!
Photo Credits: Paloma Giulia Agliati Hidalgo, Mareike Bruns, Chantal Kalin, Aisling McCabe.
About the Author
Aisling may work a desk job but loves nothing more than being active and getting out into the fresh air and sunshine. She is a big fan of staying healthy and happy and believes the two are strongly linked.
She fell in love with yoga because of its feel good benefits and continues to reap the rewards of a regular practice every week. She adores the snow and sunshine and indulges in surfing or snowboarding as the season dictates. As a nutritional therapist and a bit of a foodie, she enjoys trying new recipes, looking for the balance between the wholesome and the indulgent!
Aisling has been our Yoga Dublin blogger for over two years and loves sharing her tips and insights for a healthy lifestyle.