In just a few weeks I will be leaving for my most epic trip abroad. 85 days. That’s practically 3 months abroad. In the grand scheme of things, its epic because on average, Americans usually Continue reading
As some of you may know, my trip to Utila this past January changed me at a core level. How so? Well, for starters, let me set the scene. You’re on the afternoon dive boat, beautiful clear blue skies, the sun is shining overhead. The boat ties off to a buoy, and the shoreline is literally just palm trees and jungle beyond, with not a hint of civilization in sight. No homes, no hotels, no roads. Just pure Caribbean paradise. You get your gear ready and you happen to take a look over the side of the boat. Crystal clear waters at 40′ depth, fish in every color of the rainbow, large coral formations everywhere and yet there’s one UGLY reminder of civilization. Plastic debris and garbage floating on the surface. Continue reading
“Rules are made to be broken. Be bold enough to live life on your terms, and never, ever apologize for it. Go against the grain, refuse to conform, take the road less traveled instead of the well-beaten path.” – Author Unknown
The road less travelled… Such a cliché saying, but when it comes down to it, still a very powerful saying. Many of us don’t even realize that we had a choice between roads at some point in our lives, so concerned with our jobs, the daily grind and making ends meet, we didn’t even notice the split in the road and just kept going down the path of what we knew, what’s common and comfortable, what’s familiar, and routine. Stepping out of our comfort zone is something most of us are reluctant to do.
I’m no different, trust me, I have also been reluctant to step out of my comfort zone, but I am making attempts to do it. In January 2016 I went to Utila, Honduras for 3 weeks… On my own, never having travelled solo before, and only my third trip out of the country (fourth if you consider going to Niagara Falls leaving the country). My goal there was to complete the PADI Rescue Diver course and log some fun dives in order to prepare myself for eventually pursuing my Dive Master and Instructor certifications. To say that the trip was life changing would probably be an understatement.
Sounds easy enough, head to a foreign country for 3 weeks, all by yourself, and in all honesty, it proved to be even easier than I expected. I will admit, I had a ton of anxiety before going, but within the first few days I realized that anxiety was all for naught, as I had instantly made a ton of new friends, and settled into my life at the dive center for the next 3 weeks. In that time I would twist my ankle pretty bad, complete my Rescue Diver course, swim with a whale shark and dolphins, and forge dozens of friendships with people from all over the world. I would come home with a newfound confidence, and a budding love for travel and experiencing other cultures. I would come home a changed person.
Now I am planning for the next phase of my education, and although it may be a bit ambitious, I think it is still do-able. I would like to complete my PADI Dive Master and my PADI Instructor Development Courses this winter. Typically one would plan for at minimum 2 months, but more comfortably 3-6 months to gain some real world experience while you are in class. I think I am going to push for 3 months, and then see how it’s going. January, February and March. Obviously this is a bit longer than I went for this year (only 3 weeks, which to me was still epic by American standards), but still nothing special when you look at a typical European’s travel schedule that can go for 6, 9 even 12 months!
So the road less travelled for me would seem to be on a tiny island off the coast of Honduras, a magical little island that seems to just pull you in and never lets you really leave, a place known as Utila. And it’s going to be interesting carrying all my belongings I will need for 3 months in a backpack and a suitcase (alongside my scuba kit of course, so I really only have room in the suitcase). I’ll get to rent an apartment on the island for a couple of months, learn to prepare meals with the local fare (much cheaper than eating out, even though that’s kind of cheap as well), and essentially “Go Back To School”! I am excited for this adventure while also being terrified of the unknown. I do know I enjoyed teaching swimming lessons, and managed to pass my Red Cross WSI when I was 17, so I believe I will truly enjoy teaching scuba diving. It’s just such a huge change, but one I think is not only inevitable, but also necessary.
Till then, lots to do on the “To Do List”!
Recently I had a discussion with a friend who mentioned the concept of a mental reboot to me. I hadn’t given it much thought, but my time spent in Utila earlier this year was in a way, my mental reboot.
What is a mental reboot you ask? Well, its a period where you can center yourself, shed away the things you don’t need, and maybe even perform a bit of soul searching and a course correction. It’s taking inventory of what’s really important to ones self, and evaluating your path and progress getting there, and making adjustments if necessary. Continue reading
Maybe this is my mid-life crisis, maybe it’s my life’s calling, I don’t really know yet, but however it goes I have faith that it will be the right path for me. No, I’m not about to go all religious on you, saying God has a path for me, etc., because I’m not really very religious. I’m saying that maybe, just maybe, things all happen for a reason, and even though we may not understand that reason at the time, it needed to happen in just that order, in just that time frame, for everything to work out just as it should work out. A wee bit philosophical this morning, but that’s about it for my philosophy for now.
Ok, most of us use the USB charging port on our phones for just that, charging them. Most people don’t realize that you can do more with that port, and I mean a LOT more…
Personally, I have a Samsung Galaxy S5. I don’t always have the latest and greatest, and I “upgraded” with the “new every two” program from Verizon to an S5 when the S6 was out for a while. Prior to my S5, I had a Galaxy S4 for the past couple of years. And not once during all that time did I realize there was any other use for the USB charging port other than charging or connecting your phone to your PC to transfer photos or music (while using the computer as a controller, and the phone as removable media). Continue reading
On a recent vacation in Cozumel, Mexico, I had the privilege of volunteering with the Ecology Department of Cozumel to help liberate baby turtles that may not have otherwise made it to the ocean without our intervention. These were baby Green Sea Turtles, an endangered species, so every last baby is important.
On the evening of a release, you meet with the Ecology Department workers at a trailer in San Martin (aka the “wild side of the island”), where they give a little seminar on what we’re expected to do, and the general rules of the release. The teachers point out that flashes and regular light bulbs (in a flashlight) are bad for the baby turtles, as it confuses them. As it turns out, the babies use the light from the moon to guide themselves towards the water, and flashlights look like many many moons to the little guys. Continue reading
I’m writing this blog this morning while waiting for our ride to the airport. Praying that all our transfers and connections are made, and we get to Cozumel tonight and not stuck in Cancun. (time between landing from Miami and getting on the island hopper to Cozumel is kinda tight, 1.5 hours.. But as my friend Henry said:
“You’re not going to be the first person in history to complain about being stuck in Cancun overnight with a suitcase full of craft beer, are you?”
I guess there could be worse alternatives..
Only one workday left until my vacation begins.. And let me tell you, today was a crazy day trying to tie up all loose ends before vacation. I was given the task of creating an instructional DVD for a rather large pond we built this summer at SUNY Plattsburg. In the middle of August we went up for a major cleaning of the pond, and got some footage to use in this DVD. Sadly my bosses decision to use an iPad mini wasn’t the best, and the audio portions of his lecture were all but unusable.. Maybe next time he’ll work with me using a better camera (maybe the GoPro?) and a wireless lavalier mic setup. Needless to say, this put me in a bad position when it came to usable footage for this DVD, and I had to improvise… BIG TIME…
Well, the boss liked my improvisation, and I ended up making 6 seperate videos for this instructional DVD. Crisis averted. On top of that task, I also had to complete the graphics work for our Moonlight Pond Tour (that will be happening when I am away) PLUS create some mailers that need to both go out, one for tomorrow, and one is scheduled for next week while I am away. Needless to say, it makes for a long day.
But that all melts away when I consider that I will be on the bottom of the ocean, one week from today, enjoying sights like this:
Yes, its going to be incredibly hard to pull myself away from it and come back home. But nobody says that I can’t return.. And who knows, I may return sooner than I thought, and stay longer than expected next time.
What an incredible experience this is going to be. And I have so much to do yet. Obviously I haven’t packed yet, but I have started creating a pile of things I plan to take. Honestly, its just some clothing, GoPro and mounts, laptop and toiletries for now. I do need to pick up a gift for my gracious host and manage to pack that safely for the flight. Trying to keep everything to 1 carryon bag and 1 checked bag. If I wasn’t bringing my host a gift, I could skip the checked bag, but knowing how happy it will make him, and how generous he has been, I can’t skip the opportunity to use a checked bag to bring him things that are not available there.
Then I have to actually PACK..
Oh, and I may also have to go to the Verizon Store tomorrow. Yeah, just what I wanted to do on the night before I leave for vacation. All day today my phone has been a bit funky. Touch screen working, then not working. And rebooting over and over after I pull the battery and replace it. Eventually it boots up, and I have touch screen again. I am currently doing a factory reset / restore, and if that doesn’t work, I will have no choice but to visit Verizon.
But then I think… French Angels… Sea Turtles… Scuba Diving….. Tropical Island…..
And its all good…
Ta Ta for now!