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How I Decided to Leave Everything Behind (Almost)

How I Decided to Leave Everything Behind (Almost)

Taken just a few days ago by my friend, Meg, capturing me with my one and only board, Sugie. I couldn't imagine a better photo of us both.

Taken just a few days ago by my friend, Meg, capturing me with my one and only board, Sugie. I couldn't imagine a better photo of us both.

A few months ago, I made the biggest decision of my life...

I got married.

Just kidding! I wish I could tell you that I was but I wasn’t. I resigned from my first full-time corporate job.  

It was not an easy decision. It’s not for everybody, I guess but I couldn’t imagine passing the chance to live the life I’d always imagined. This was my big “what if” that I never wanted to remain a “what if”.

With blessings from my parents and from the family I’ve formed through the four years of working with the company, I bade my farewells. It was bittersweet. I was surely going to miss the familiar environment yet I looked to the future with so much excitement.

This is it. Without the fireworks and the glamor, pursuing one’s passions really means you start from the bottom. It’s going to be a long journey but I know this is going to make me alive.

I hope, that through these stories, you’d stop ignoring the itch in your gut and just do ‘it.’ Whatever ‘it’ may mean for you – a new career, breaking a bad habit or having the courage to ask her out.

Or if that itch has now been tamed and content, that these stories may entertain you the least or place a little smile on a stranger’s face and maybe make this world better.

Small Beginnings

If I thought how this all began, it all started with a deep unquenchable desire to be with the ocean. As a little girl, it didn’t matter how as I could be with the ocean that was enough for me. At first it was venturing beyond the platonic admiration of what was on its surface. After all, that’s almost what we always see – the endless expanse of the ocean’s surface.

Next, I allowed myself to play with the waves on the shore. It was during these hours that I knew how dynamic the ocean could be. Chasing after fish, diving in after the waves and jumping off my father’s back to the deeper waters – these were warm memories of the ocean for me.

Fast forward to the present days, I find myself still continuously drawn to the sea. Only realizing later in life, my love for the sea has earned me the moniker that probably embodies best the ocean’s daughter, a mermaid.

It wasn’t always this way though. I used to be afraid of the deep. I still am up to now but I don’t let this fear stop me. It’s the fear in us, whatever form the fear may be, that stops us from fully enjoying being alive. I’m sure you know how it feels to be afraid. But we can’t stop just because we’re afraid (more on this soon). 

My siblings and I (with the fins) waiting for another wave to crash over us in Laswitan, a rock pool formation in Cortes, Surigao del Sur.

My siblings and I (with the fins) waiting for another wave to crash over us in Laswitan, a rock pool formation in Cortes, Surigao del Sur.

Trying to Go Pro

Two years ago, I bought my first GoPro. I felt comfortable diving in the ocean because I used to be an athlete in swimming in my elementary years. I wasn’t that scared to go deep, as long as I could still see the bottom I’ll be fine.

Fresh out of college, buying a GoPro was no easy task.  I basically had zero savings. I sold some gadgets (which my Dad bought out of pity but at super discounted price, sighs). I knew I had to justify the cost of buying this and there began my underwater journey.

Before the GoPro and the monopod (yes, that’s what selfie sticks are really called) like the GoPole were socially acceptable, I shamefully carried these gears wherever I went.

My favorite photos were always those where water was involved; either underwater, over water or those middle under-over shots. I have always been allured to the rare beauty of underwater photos because this is not something we see everyday.

Just like any other creative product, taking underwater photos was not as easy as it seems. Plus the GoPro was an unconventional camera that took sometime to get used to but I enjoyed every moment of the discovery.

Then GoPro came out with an ad with surfers. It totally got me hooked. It attracted me like insects to candlelight. I never thought of myself as athletic considering my lifestyle after college but I just had to try.

Becoming a Weekend Warrior

I was not the type of person to be contented with wishful thinking. So in May 2014, I headed out with a handpicked group of friends to the nearest surf spot we knew – Dahican in Mati, Davao Oriental.

From then on I got hooked really bad. During the Amihan season of 2014-2015, I would most often be found in Dahican every weekend and during holidays. Surfing until my body couldn’t surf anymore.

One of those rare occasions when I'd take out my GoPro to surf. It was almost all wipeouts and this was the only decent shot. Hello to Miko on the side! 

One of those rare occasions when I'd take out my GoPro to surf. It was almost all wipeouts and this was the only decent shot. Hello to Miko on the side! 

Allow me to manage your expectations: I am not a good surfer. I just love to surf and to be in the sea. It's the constant desire to be a better version of myself that keeps me going back to the ocean even if it's a sure wipeout after wipeout.

This period of my life allowed me to see the world in a different perspective. I learned to value experiences more than items. Moments rather than photos and the difference of merely living versus feeling alive though I still love taking photos (if I remember to).

I was the definition of a weekend warrior. I lived for the weekends. Do you recall the foreboding feeling – like clouds on a supposed sunny day, if it was time to head back to our weekday lives?

You would always hear that “Back to reality!” phrase every single time that you’d have to leave paradise. It dawned on me one day while I was out surfing and the sun was fading into the darkness, “Why can’t I make this a reality instead of an escape?”

A friend of mine once quipped that “back to reality” phrase. I forgot what he said exactly but I remembered it like this "We have a choice with the reality we’re living in." It might have been too much seawater in the brain but that resonated with me even until today. 

The coolest boss I ever had once gave me a ref magnet that said this quote:

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

I guess that's exactly what I did, I made the choice to live the reality that I wanted. Sure, there would be a lot of trade-offs for the kind of lifestyle I envisioned myself to live but I cannot let it pass by and remain a "what if". 

So this is my story, well a part of it. How about you? Do you have any "what ifs" that you've crossed off your list or are you still contemplating whether to make that first step or not? I'm curious! Let me know your thoughts by the comments below.

If you liked what you read, please show some love by sharing! :)

Until the next wave! 

~Ferina

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