In our world, opportunity rarely occurs twice. The question is, do you have the valor, prowess, and tenacity needed to risk your entire life to engage that opportunity. Are you willing to risk throwing away your comfortable, predictable, steady, middle class story to pursue a precarious lifestyle; one that attempts not to go through your comfortable, prosperous, respectable, insipid adult life dead, unconscious, a slave to your head and to your natural default-setting of being uniquely, completely, and imperially alone, apathetic to your own existence, day in and day out.
Our world is increasingly becoming consumed by fake experiences. Artificial and digitized activities all severely decrease the significance and effort needed to experience real emotion. The problem is, no fabricated experience will ever provide the same depth, meaning, substance and knowledge that real ones do.
Nothing you do or watch online, on TV, in a movie, or in some sort of fabricated experience will ever top real life. Nothing will ever be more exhilarating than dropping into the face of a wave and hearing the loud thundering crack of the lip smacking the base. Nothing will top the constant spray of seawater stinging my eyes in a small sailboat planning downwind. There is no way to replicate the sensation of sinking into waist deep powder on a frigid clear day. No fallacy will ever come remotely close to the fatigue yet sense of accomplishment and power that standing on the summit of Mt. Shasta gives. No video game, movie or, social networking site will ever top the experience of seeing a bear sit next to my tent in the middle of the wilderness and realizing that it is bigger than my entire tent. No website can ever replicate the love I feel from being hugged. Nothing artificial, whether it be an experience or a material object, will ever come remotely close to helping me find who I am and more importantly who I want to be.
Our world strives so hard to create an illusion of real experiences when, in fact, it would not be very hard to actually do them. I want to throw away that illusion and embrace the rich, meaningful experiences that come from living a life in the outdoors.
I sat waiting in the cool morning air. The sun was not yet visible, but over the last ten or so minutes it had begun its daily climb over the coastal mountains. It gave a darkish blue color to the previously jet black sky and allowed me to see farther out across the ocean’s horizon. As I floated over a swell I strained to get any glimpse of an adequate wave to paddle for. Chilly water lapped over my surfboard and I shivered. I had been waiting for 20 minutes to find the perfect wave and was getting a little frustrated. The minute I had doubts that any such wave would ever come, I saw it. The smooth swell grew larger and darker with every second and I turned to paddle. As my neoprene covered body rose with the water, I paddled vigorously until I felt the familiar sensation of being drawn down a wall of water. I stood up just before the menacing wave curled behind me and shot down the steep face. My recently purchased surf board was fast, almost too fast. By the time I had reached the bottom of the wave, the board was 2 feet in front of me and I was half way in the water.
I felt the water violently suck me through the barrel and slam me back down. Somewhere within the commotion the violent currents threw my limp body around like a doll. I was a nail being hammered into the shallow sandbar that was creating these vicious waves. Although the churning break water had only held me down for about 6 to 7 seconds, the wait seemed eternal; my lungs screamed for air. I grabbed my left ankle where the surfboard leash was strapped to my leg and furiously yanked at it. In the white water, buoyant surfboards are almost always at the surface. By pulling my leash I finally reached the surface in time for my lungs to initiate an uncontrollable gasp which consisted of a mixture of white sea foam and air. Relieved, but still heavily panting, I swam through the thick foam to my surfboard. Before mounting my surfboard, I glanced back toward the ocean in time to see the second wave of the set break, letting loose a 4 foot wall of enraged break water 20 yards away. Swiftly situating myself on my board, I paddled straight for the violent beast in attempts to get beyond the break point. I was determined to find the “perfect” wave.
My name is Bevan Waite, and I have a passion for the outdoors. I am a climber, skier, surfer, backpacker, hiker, kayaker, biker, runner, orienteer, and adventure racer. I went on my first backpacking trip when I was 6 years old and have ever since been awed at what the world has to reveal. To me the most important thing in one’s life is to be connected with nature in one way or another. I have had opportunities for retreat in many of the beautiful national and state parks in this country since I was young. Through these experiences I have realized that “mountains” and “minds” really belong together.