“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”!