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April 2, 2012 / Wave Tribe

Confessions Of A Traveling Surfer

I was sleeping on the floor of their three bedroom apartment.

There were five of us, three Australians and two Americans. We were one block from the beach. I met the Aussies in Nepal a few months earlier and as we were saying good-bye in the Himalayas they shouted “mate, stop on by for a surf and a barbie.”

At the time I thought barbie was a blond they wanted to set me up with.

It wasn’t.

They said I could stay a few days, it had already been a few months.

I slept in late, surfed when I wanted—I did nothing but surf.

It was Bondi Beach.

It was Sydney, Australia.

I had about 200 dollars left, I had been traveling for 8 months around-the-world and my goal was to take a year off of work and surf the best waves.

I had just realized that I wasn’t going to make it.

The other American in the apartment, or Sepo as the Aussies called us, which means septic tank yank (it’s a long story), was digging ditches for $10 an hour.

Apparently ditch digging labor was the easiest work for undocumented Sepos to get, they probably just wanted to see us sweat.

My Co-Sepo handed me the classifieds and said, “good luck”. He’d come home and collapse every night while I went on about all the waves I had caught that day. No wonder he hated me so much.

Now I was going through the classifieds myself with total disdain.

I still had four months left of my round-the-world trip without any idea of how I would fund the remaining adventure. I was supposed to leave for New Zealand in a few weeks but I couldn’t image arriving in NZ with zero funds. I wanted to surf Angourie and all those other no name beaches on the way to the southern island from Auckland.

I circled a few ads in the classified, finished my beer, and curled up on my air mattress on the floor feeling a bit dejected that my year long no-work vacation was about to abruptly end.

The next morning I got an email from a friend that would reinvigorate my mood. I had loaned money to her a few years earlier, which I had written off as one of those things you do for friends and don’t ever expect to get reimbursed. She wrote to tell me that she recently got this really good job and that she wanted to repay me with interest.

I immediately called her and explained to her that she had no idea how happy I was to receive this news. I sent her the local Western Union address and crossed my fingers that she wasn’t playing some horrible joke on me.

I wouldn’t believe it until I walked away with the cash in hand. I imagined it getting lost in the land of digital wires or the bank withholding it for some unknown reason because I was, yes, a Sepo.

The cash arrived a few days later and I bought everyone in the house a slab of beer.

What I learned from this experience is that you really do reap what you sow.

You never know how a kind act will be repaid or when the universe will conspire to save you from digging a ditch—literally.

I hope that Wave Tribe is helping to sow a few small good karmic seeds in your life and is helping you live in a more conscious way.

I wish these things for you.

DD & Wave Tribe Crew

PS. Want to surf sick barrels ALL DAY LONG and fall sleep in a hammock while listening to the sound of waves? I did. Big ups to Izic, Laure, Paul and Danielle and the Nica crew for proving a rad surf camp. Check out Los Cardones for more info.

PPS. Eco Rad Surf gear at wavetribe.com.

PPPS. Last month’s email was inspired and sourced from this awesome surf rider and female eco warrior: see her OG article here: Confessions of a Surf Addict

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