SURFING IS MY FAMILY

Author & Photos:  Missy Lukey  @missy.jeanne

 

We were sitting in a coffee shop in Cabarete, D.R. when I opened a book and the following quote jumped out.  

“It's the idea of going to a place and not just surfing but appreciating the people, the customs, and the diversity of life.  Travel and interacting with others improves us all” ~ Dustin Humphrey

I instantly felt an overwhelming sense of admiration for this passionate explorer, and in a few clear and concise sentences he sums up exactly how Kyle and I feel as we embark on each new crazy adventure.   It’s the wind and the waves that bring us to each new destination, but the people that truly make a place magical.  The waves entice you in, but the people bring that place to life.  These are the reasons we long to stay for ‘just one more day.’

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It’s that time in the Philippines when we heard about this unbelievable surf break that we just had to experience.   With very few details we embarked on an incredibly adventurous journey.  After a full day of traveling, we arrived to an itty-bitty little remote island in the middle of the sea, and greeted with cheers by an entire village.  We did not speak a word of their language, nor they ours, but we instantly felt welcomed.   It was during the times waiting for the incredible surf that this island made us fall madly in love with her.  The early mornings waking up before the sun to go fishing with paw-paw, and the afternoons spent playing tag with kids.  The evenings drinking ‘nipavino’ while singing karaoke until the generator wore out.

It's the joy of watching in awe, at an entire community that lives and thrives without the modern amenities we so easily take for granted.  A community that welcomed us in as their own.  A community we will always treasure for their generosity, hospitality, and enthusiasm to not only share their incredible wave, but to cheer us on as we paddled out. 

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Or that time we showed up in La Ventana with nothing but our kiteboards and basic camping gear.  Our kind neighbors generously took us under their wing, and fed us, shared their spare gear with us, let us use their amazing warm showers, and showed us a different way of living.   A way of living that sparked a fire in us.  A fire that has grown into a passion to travel, explore, and truly see the world.

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It’s that time we drove to the southern shores of the Dominican Republic with a vague destination in mind.   Having embarrassingly horrible broken Spanish we somehow managed to find the one and only surf school in the area.   Before we knew it, our days were spent scouring the coast for rideable waves with a van stuffed full of enthusiastic local surfers.  By nightfall we were back in our bungalow learning the secrets of mixing the perfect ‘La Bomba’ (or as I like to call it ‘Death by Bomba’), while the whole crazy gang sang along to Ed Sheeran.

It's that moment when your sitting around a table, and the rum starts flowing and you can only vaguely understand each other's words, yet the stories are still told. Slowly the laughter sets in, and before you know it your laughing so hard you are crying and you hold your stomach begging the story teller to stop before you pee your pants.  True story.  It’s that moment when you begin communicating on a whole new level...not through words, but through the universal language of kindness, love, and a shared passion for adventure.

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It’s coming home to Sheboygan, WI where your van has been permanently infused with the essence of wetsuits and Hamms.  Where every story starts and ends with ‘O hey dare hey, dontcha know...and where your Friends have become Family.  They excitedly welcome you back with giant bear hugs, anxious to hear your tales from afar.

Try being somewhere new where nobody speaks the language.  Where everything seems so very foreign.  Where you're not sure if you will ever fit in.  

That is what keeps our dream alive.  It’s what motivates us when things start going wrong.  It’s what inspires us to keep going as we embark on each new adventure.