Sail n’ Surfing Safari

Sweet or Salty? Sweet. 

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Dogs or cats? Dogs (oh my dear Texiedoo)

Coffee or tea? Tea

Mountains or sea? Ummm, can't decide, close tie.

Season? Endless Summer, at least for 2018. 

Beatles or Rolling Stones? Beach boys (well, err. maybe tied with the Beatles)

And I'll cut it off there. 

Beach Boys-esque wheels in Byron

Beach Boys-esque wheels in Byron

On many occasions, my parents have told me that I was their water baby. Even when my lips turned blue they couldn't get me out of the water. To this day, little Linny comes out in full form when I go for a dip, channeling my inner mermaid, I feel playful and care-free, good vibrations abound while splish-splashing around without a care in the world. 

It was time for me to shed my mermaid tail for some sturdy sea legs when my dad bought a yellow hulled keelboat aptly named Popcorn, on the Ottawa River. I was 12, and before I knew it, I was tying knots in my sleep, talking nautical, and was known as my dad's secret weapon when it came to race night. Race nights were such an adrenaline rush, the start line and the mark rounding, my dad took it quite seriously to say the least, and I loved every minute! I learned to walk on eggshells working the foredeck, constantly trimming the sails and reading the lay-lines on our upwind tacks, and setting the spinnaker and flying the ‘chute going downwind. Meg and I eventually got our own Laser, a simple speedy little dinghy, which we eventually brought up to our summer camp to teach windsurfing and sailing. Our next boat's name was Deuce Coupe, she had the fastest set of sails in town. Growing up I didn't have a dedicated sport, but when sailing came into my life, I was sure hooked. 

I wonder sometimes if listening to the Beach Boys on repeat growing up played a role in my love for the sea? It's likely. Growing up in Ottawa, so far from any ocean, California had me dreaming like nobody's business on many-a-winters day. I yearned to be closer to the water.

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 So I moved to Vancouver, I couldn't have found a better spot to base myself than my beautiful home overlooking English Bay.

 So I moved to Vancouver, I couldn't have found a better spot to base myself than my beautiful home overlooking English Bay.

After the sloop came into my life, I knew I would take my love for H2O further, always thinking wouldn't it be nice learning to surf? So slowly but surely, I am doing just that. I have a looong way to go and one thing is for sure, I want to keep going. The little girl who never wanted to get out of the water when I was little is still in me. 'Catch a wave and you'll be sitting on top of the world', without surfing himself, Brian Wilson sure had his wits about him even if it didn't always seem so. Anyone who bobbles up and down facing out to sea waiting for the right wave can tell you that surfing is rather addictive, and on a rare uncrowded, warm and glassy rolling day, I could stay in the water forever. If the swell is rip-roaring, or if I'm in Tofino and my arms and legs are in a deep freeze, then rationale kicks in. After many years of being a flight attendant, I certainly get around and have always asked for Honolulu overnights, for obvious reasons. I have travelled far to catch some waves, the wildest and most remote being out alone on the Wild coast of South Africa, with nobody in sight but the image of great whites cemented in my minds eye from a recent shark cage dive. The other night on a nice little wave after sunset in Noosa here in Australia, I overheard a fellow surfer girl say 'I feel like shark bait, it's time to get out'. That was my cue too. 

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Noosa 

Noosa 

Living on a surf break was the first thing I had written on my dream list before setting out on my year off. I've always wanted to get into the rhythm of the simple life, along with nature, to wake up at dawn, surf, eat, chill, surf, chill, read, surf, eat, sleep. Much of my time in Sri Lanka was just that. Unfortunately, that hasn't been the case here in Australia, with a cyclone off the coast creating a rip-roaring salty mess when I was in places I was hoping to surf. But all was not lost, I had many more amazing experiences, and today I leave on another adventure that incorporates two items on my 'bucket list'. To sail on an ocean and to dive the great barrier reef. 

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Sunrise with my fellow surf sisters in Sri Lanka. More of us after our super smiley session underneath👇, we had the wave to ourselves that morning. 

Sunrise with my fellow surf sisters in Sri Lanka. More of us after our super smiley session underneath👇, we had the wave to ourselves that morning. 

I volunteered at the Byron Bay Surf Festival, although most of it was rained out, the sky cleared on the final day making watching some of the best having fun and free styling the 🌊 s real 👌

I volunteered at the Byron Bay Surf Festival, although most of it was rained out, the sky cleared on the final day making watching some of the best having fun and free styling the 🌊 s real 👌

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I heard from a bosun many moons ago while working at the Nepean Sailing Club that crew is always needed for boat deliveries. This planted the seed that will be sprouting today during this watery pisces growing moon. I signed up to a maritime crew resource upon arrival in Oz, where this opportunity presented itself to me the very next day (with oodles of other tempting offers), delivering a beautiful 37' catamaran up to the Whitsundays. The people I'll be sailing with sound great, all skippers with so much experience, we'll be sailing day and night, taking it in 8 hour shifts. It's the perfect opportunity to learn so much more, and to get a quick glimpse into what life will be like on the ocean without having to commit too much time. I hope to continue where I left off with my pops all those years ago, all the while making him proud.

At the helm of a friends boat in English Bay last summer

At the helm of a friends boat in English Bay last summer

And then to dive the Great Barrier. Doesn't really need an explanation, other than I wanna see it before it's all bleached away and in ode to someone who really really wanted to experience it, but no longer can. 

What better way to experience the reef then to sail my way up there? Two dreams in one go, pretty perfect. Back to the water I go, my endless summer continues, along with the search for my perfect wave. 

Where will I go afterwards? Aruba, Bahama, come on pretty mama to Key Largo, Montego, how about them Florida keys or India, Fiji, Bali, Polynesia, NZ, Japan, Vietnam? God/wind only knows... 

 A little chuckle to send you off.

Darker Times-Part deux

 

Thank you all so much for the encouraging and kind words after sharing the precursor to this post with you, I sure feel the love. It's taken me some time to conclude this story, as Sri Lanka has fully captivated me, enrapturing me in all it's bounty and beautiful warmth - though the heat, spice and smiles. Pulling out my computer has kinda been the last thing on my mind...

Now, back to where I left off. Let me Waynes’ world time warp you back to last spring when I was feeling the travel jitters for entirely different reasons. Rather than looking forward to a world of opportunity, I was dragging my heels through some real thick mud. 


Leaving him, albeit on my birthday, was maybe the most difficult thing I’ve ever wilfully done. I shed enough tears to last me a few solid years. To make it easier on both of us, I was saying see you soon, but deep down I had a sinking feeling it was goodbye.  

It was like ripping off a big ol’ bandaid, without the wound being healed underneath. The wound was so raw, and flying so far away from him and the caretaker existence I knew felt so uncomfortable. The thought of healing myself was a complete afterthought, I was fine...Right? Maybe not. 

When I arrived in England back in April, I was broken. Thank goodness I had Jess to lean on and the innocent delight of my nephews to help put me back together again. Jess brought me up to her and Tim’s ‘lodge’ in Norfolk, gently exposing me to a different world. It was a soft intro, the charming English countryside during the thick of spring, it was ever so dreamy. In reflection, the land during the season of new life was somewhat metaphorical. Life was in in full blossom all around me, encouraging my heavy layers to melt away and allowing the sun to shine down on my sluggish winter blues. The giggles, games of Snakes and Ladders, handstands, beach combing in search of dinosaur fossils, and runs along the deserted endless coastline were so therapeutic. I had my fair share of solo time to get introspective, to reflect, scream into the eroding sea cliffs, to sob and sob some more, to sing, make friends with horses, to stare out over the North Sea, to journal, to admire the beauty, and to just be still and quiet.

Along with going to England, a birthday gift and a bit of bribery added to the draw for me to leave Vancouver. My family wanted to send me away with Jess to Morocco, incorporating my love of travel, surf and yoga. It wasn't all that easy, I wasn't my usual happy-go-lucky travelling self, finding it somewhat hard to socialize and have fun with new friends, all the while it sparked some joy through experiencing a new culture, incredible food, good company, and berber rugs!!

When it was time to go back home to Vancouver, things were different. I had visits with him over the course of the next few months, they were lovely and also so painful knowing we just couldn't be. Having to relive the hurt of saying goodbye every time I went to see him, and not wanting to mess with his emotions, I had to tear myself away and rip the bandaid off for good. 

My life started to take a new form as I had gained strength to return to work. Although I wasn’t feeling like being back in the public eye so much. Shortly after my return, I was presented with a status and base bid, meaning I could apply for part time. So I jumped at the opportunity, asking for part time out of Vancouver, second choice, Toronto. The result of that, was both my status and base changed, I got part time out of the YYZee. I was ready for the temporary change of scenery that would bring me closer to my sisters while figuring out how to be back on my own two feet. A few days after getting part time, work had another life altering proposal. The first time it had ever been offered in the history of my patriotic airline, a whole year off! I could barely believe it, this to me was a dream come true and something I had been asking for since I started flying. Once again, I didn’t waver, I’ve never felt so sure of anything. I have always envisioned having this time in my life, and I still can barely believe it's actually happening. Life can be so mysterious, had I not asked to be based out of Toronto, I wouldn't have received this year off. One door was forcefully shut, and another mysteriously opened.

2018 is my year to journey, to go and do whatever I please, and to heal my heart. Living life on the open road has always made me feel so inspired. Where will the open road take me? No idea. It's open. My no-plan-plan, I'm literally going where the wind, word of mouth and my heart takes me. To fly by the seat of my pants and slow down like a sloth; I'll flow with the water, and gaze at the world from moving windows and mountaintops. 

Before I was granted the leave, while operating a long flight from Vancouver to Toronto, I found myself on the plane with some spare time, so I sat down and wrote a list of all the things I've ever dreamt of doing if I had more time. The list is lengthy, and since that day, it keeps growing. Not sure what I'm capable of tackling in one little year, but I plan to scratch the surface. Oh the places I’ll go...Or not go. I may never leave Sri Lanka. This country, the people, the scenery, the surf, the food, it's blowing my mind everyday. 

Oh, Sri Lankaaaaah. This pic pretty much sums up exactly how I feel since arriving in this majestic land. 

Oh, Sri Lankaaaaah. This pic pretty much sums up exactly how I feel since arriving in this majestic land. 

We all have stories, they shape who we are, adding layers, depth, and more pages in our evolving lives tale. You can get caught up in the story, so much so, that you don't see opportunities when they arise. Pausing and taking a step back is never a bad thing when the overwhelm kicks in. If I hadn't taken the time away to be in London back in the spring, I most likely wouldn't be sitting here in Sri Lanka allowing my story to keep evolving.

As it evolves, I expect I will encounter many challenges. I will continue to miss him dearly, longing for his company and the way things were. Moving through the grief is all apart of the game, to shed some more layers, allowing space to make new memories, and to build myself up and be happy in my own company.  My life thus far has had a decent dose of highs and lows, remaining in equilibrium just ain't a thing, and I believe it truly takes the darker times to fully appreciate life's lighter times.

Leg 3

Onto my next stop, where may that be, you’ll have to read and find out (or skip the story and scroll to the bottom). It’s a tad more mysterious than Ottawa and London, I promise.     

Up high in the sky once again, some 38,000 feet over Klosterneuberg(?), I’m sprawled out in my own row, living the lap of luxury, flying Qatar from Heathrow to Doha. Sipping on a smooth red (dry January is officially off), being serenaded by Miles Davis and waving cheerio to jolly ol' England. Hugging Jess goodbye earlier today, I felt my first pang of serious nervousness, leaving all familiarity as I know it behind. I am now officially taking off on my year of adventure.

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All packed up and ready to go. See the nerves?!  

All packed up and ready to go. See the nerves?!  

I am certainly no stranger to living out of my backpack/suitcase being a flight attendant for the past 10 years. When the opportunity presents itself, I take advantage of all the perks that coincide with my glamorous flying gig-the travel privileges, the heaps of time off, the ability to easily drop shifts to extend my many holidays, the forced savings/stock options(!), getting paid to go to exotic locales such as Waikiki and Regina, wearing red lipstick, and tossing cookies. Life on the road has become my home away from home. So why am I nervous?! Oh man. I’m not that nervous, or am I?. This red wine may be messing with my emotions...

Me, poking my head off my room’s lanai in Waikiki. No Regina pics, sorry folks. 

Me, poking my head off my room’s lanai in Waikiki. No Regina pics, sorry folks. 

Many many hours later, I’m writing under the flashing lights and glitzy facade of the decadent Doha airport in the wee hours of the morn. This airport does not rest, there must not be any curfews on landing and arrival times in this faraway land where the Arabian dessert meets the Persian Gulf. I have spent the past 16 hours attempting to get some rest amid other less fortunate travellers stuck in transit. Perhaps my nerves leaving London were intuitive knowing my flight would be running behind, forcing me to miss my connecting flight, and then the next flight (because it was full) and hopefully not the next...Flying standby is not all it's cracked out to be.

All bundled up and bleary eyed in my very own fort under a couple rows of chairs in the family quiet zone. 

All bundled up and bleary eyed in my very own fort under a couple rows of chairs in the family quiet zone. 

I finally just gave into the draw of the lounge, for one reason-shower. The priciest shower of my life, $80, felt like a million! It came along with a comfy seat where I am now reclined back in the lap of luxury, sipping some more, this time a smooth Karak tea (an arabic take on a chai, with loads of cardamom), seranaded with silence, devouring as many baklava's as my tummy can handle before attempting this flight thing once again.  

I said at the beginning of this post that I was leaving all familiarity behind, that's not entirely true. I’m leaving one sister to meet another, my soul sistah Sarah! And where’s our rendezvous?

I knew the moment she said yes to joining me on the Santa Monica Pier rollercoaster that we were destined to be friends. This was our very first rendezvous, our first time hanging out on a seriously special LAX layover 1.5 years ago💕

I knew the moment she said yes to joining me on the Santa Monica Pier rollercoaster that we were destined to be friends. This was our very first rendezvous, our first time hanging out on a seriously special LAX layover 1.5 years ago💕

In Sri Lanka! We’ll be travelling together on trains and tuk tuks through the mountains and jungle, where we plan to hike, see elephants, seek some Ayurvedic treatments, explore temples, eat spicy curry and fresh fruit, visit tea plantations, and then find our way following the coastline in search of waves, then ending up in a retreat to practice loads of yoga and of course more surf.  Yippee skippee, I cannot wait!