“life’s a cool ride, so wave as it passes…”

it hit me. like a shit ton of bricks. i’m in thailand. finally. doing the one thing i’ve always known i had to do. i find myself walking slower, stopping and sitting without worrying where i’m going next, breathing easier, and staring out into the ocean aimlessly. i went through an old journal tonight- on one page i had started writing, but didn’t didn’t get any farther then, “all i can think about is diving…” so much has happened in the past couple years. i got sidetracked, got lost, got confused, go all other kinds of people stuff… i took detours, rerouted, hit the breaks, and took the scenic route. but no matter where ya go, the road leads you to wherever you are, where you’re supposed to be, even if you try to turn around and go back. 

but today it really hit me. bananas! here i am! i’ve been so focused on the task at hand, and scared shitless quite frankly. but things keep falling into their natural place. i’m getting more confident, having more fun, and genuinely enjoying 12 hour days on the boat, not that i ever didn’t. listening to people’s stories, finding out how they ended up on the same boat as me, discovering where their passion stems from… it makes you glow, really. i have been wondering lately if most people ever really know what it feels like, to exhale. 

sometimes i think that maybe i should be feeling lonely, or bored, or stir-crazy. but i’m not. a guy from Texas asked me today, “don’t you get homesick?” i guess i haven’t really been here too long (3 weeks now), but no… i don’t. i miss you guys, of course. and things are really different. but the only thing we can really rely on in life, the only thing that remains constant, is change. and fighting external forces has never really been my thing. xavier rudd sings,

“there will be a time when i will hold you again, with my arms spread out, my chest you’ll rest, and i’ll write you a letter. with everything i know, ‘bout the weight of the world and the way things go… so live it up my friend, step back again, for some things will be given, for some you’ll have to bend, you’ll have to bend my friend, to hold onto this, for some things will come easy, and some will be a test, you’ll have to bend…”

sometimes, you have to be flexible. if you can’t bend, you break. and if you can’t roll with what surrounds you, you’re gonna have a hell of a time fighting it. but when you give up to the universe and stop fighting, i believe you will find yourself saying, “hey… i like it here”. the Duenday homies rap, “life’s a cool ride so wave as it passes”.

touche. 

Dad, 

today when you told me to think of you as i dove, i had to laugh. you ARE the reason i dive. what a privilege to experience the other 2/3 of the world that most people float above! divers are a very privileged group of people. thank you for showing me my passion, my light. because my light is growing brighter than it ever has. i love you, you are always with me when i dive. there isn’t a dive that something doesn’t make me think of you. today i spotted a few christmas tree worms! remember those? we’d poke them all and pretend to play the drums? i had to giggle, not many here. can’t wait to show you my world. see ya in the fall! 

mom, we’re about to do some extreme snorkeling/free diving. practice holding your breath! 

forever and always.

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scuba diving is life, everything else is just a surface interval.

yup. ‘nuff said. 

90% on the divemaster exam. instructor starts wednesday. you know how people say, “bring it”? well, consider it already brought.  

this is how i feel studying for the IE right now. physics, physiology, equipment, logistics, dive maps, briefings, weights, bah… brain fried.

now onto helping teach my first Advanced Open Water course. and more learning.

cheers!

find out who you are and do it on purpose.

i finally bit the bullet and rented a motorbike for the next month! wowzas! the first ride was a little shaky, but after that it was just a matter of getting used to. driving with your hands is slightly different, as is driving on the left side of the road. they gave me a “helmet” that is more like a salad bowl and wouldn’t protect more than a baseball cap if i hit pavement going 30. it also doesn’t fit over my dreadlocks. it’s laughable and looks like i’m wearing a silly small hat. since i’m soooo intelligent, i “splurged” and paid 650 baht (20 USD) for an actual helmet. now i am mobile, and safe. needless to say i spent all of yesterday driving around, getting lost, getting a massage then eating at a Euro restaurant where i met a surfer named Bjorn. he said he would let me borrow a board for free anytime. score!

last night i drove on the scariest road in Phuket to Patong beach, with terrible drivers, and an Aussie i met named Brenton who did our open water with us. we ended up at a Rasta Bar. played some pool, had only 2 beers, then safely drove ourselves home. there was a guy who was making leather hip belts there, and i told him i was definitely coming back to buy one! they are beautiful, i’ve never seen any hip belts, even at festivals, that comes close to his. ladies, i will send pictures, these things trump them all! 

i have spent lots of days on the boat in the past week, but gotten my fair share of exploring in and have been making new friends. i’ve also put quite a dent in the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy book series. slowly finding my place, and trying to prepare for me IE in the next month. 

have been in contact with a few dive shops, Barakuda Diving on the Phi Phi Islands wants me to come out some time before my IE to meet and dive with them for a few days to see how i fit in with the rest of the crew. i know it’s gonna be hard to get a good paying job right away, but i need to build my resume and start getting certifications under my belt. 

wherever you are, you are there because you have something to give, something to learn, something to offer to those around you. be mindful, because the present deserves your full attention. and remember, no matter how bad we want to get out, you are exactly where you need to be. i trust that the universe provides, and i wake up with good intentions. i think you do too. if i had been here in October or the year before like planned, my experience and opportunities may not have been what they are now. i am confident that i’m here now because i need to be. and i don’t intend on wasting moments, only creating them.

jag älskar dig,

lauryn

roots run deep.

my mom once wrote me, 

I believe that somewhere

there are other starry skies…

I believe that somewhere 

there are other happy days…

I believe that somewhere

there are other shining seas

where the rainbows are…

when i was younger, i used to drag my sleeping bag down to the hammock by the lake every night in the summer. if i had to work in the morning i’d set my alarm and wake up to the sound of my phone ringing by the lake. even some nights when it was really cold, or the bugs were bad, i’d put an extra layer on, tie my sweatshirt hood around my face and without hesitation march down to the lake, to my hammock. i would listen to billy joel or jimmy buffett. one night i remember hearing a jimmy buffett song, “little miss magic” and something in me clicked. i remembered my dad singing it to me as a little girl. the lyrics went, “little miss magic what ya gonna be? little miss magic, just can’t wait to see”. i was moved, and to this day it’s one of my favorite songs. i have a tattoo on my side that has a butterfly, my dad’s initials, and the words Little Miss Magic written above it. 

today i was going through some notes from family that i’ve gotten over the years. among them was a note my dad hid in my bag when i went to get my advanced open water diver and rescue diver in the British Virgin Islands when i was 15. it said, 

…“and most of all, just continue to let yourself be who ever you want to be. Because you have this beautiful soul that will always shine thru and light your way in the end, then life can never be a dark tunnel but always a ray of hope. And remember, you will always be daddy’s little girl. As Jimmy Buffet says in his song, "your mother’s still the only other woman for me, little miss magic, what ya gonna be?” You decide what it’s gonna be. And I will always support you! And love you, Dad"

i guess here i am, and i kinda always knew i’d end up here, one way or the other. and i owe it to my soul, my family. for always encouraging me to live my dreams, and pushing me when i started to move in the wrong directions. pushing me to be myself. and be happy, regardless of their plan for me. 

i love you (to the moon and back),

Lauryn

here are the lyrics…

Little Miss Magic (Jimmy Buffett)

Constantly amazed by the blades of the fan on the ceiling
The clever little glances she gives me can’t help but be appealing
She loves to ride into town with the top down
Feel that warm breeze on her gentle skin
She is my next of kin

Chorus:
I see a little more of me everyday
I catch a little more mustache turning gray
Your mother is the only other woman for me
Little miss magic, what you gonna be? 

Sometimes I catch her dreamin and wonder where that little mind meanders
Is she strollin along the shore or cruisin o’er the broad savannah
I know someday she’ll learn to make up her own rhymes
Someday she’s gonna learn how to fly
Oh that I wont deny

Chorus:
I catch a little more dialogue comin my way
I see those big brown eyes just start to lookin astray
Your mothers still the only other woman for me
Little miss magic, what you gonna be? 

Yes she loves to ride into town with the top down
Feel that warm breeze on her gentle skin
She is my next of kin

Constantly amazed by the blades of the fan on the ceiling
Those clever little looks she gives just can’t help but be appealing
I know someday she’ll learn to make up her own rhymes
One day she’s gonna learn how to fly
That I wont deny

Chorus:
I see a little more of me everyday
I feel a little more mustache turning gray
Your mothers still the only other woman for me
Little miss magic, what you gonna be? 
Little miss magic, what you gonna be? 
Little miss magic, just can’t wait to see

Its raining, it’s pouring
Your old man is snoring…

it’s daaaa BIG BUDDHA.

went into town today. it’s about a half hour walk down the hill to Kata Beach, i live in Kata town. first time i’ve even gotten to walk around there, because i’ve been so busy. first day off today too, since i’ve been here. feels great. been looking online for potential dive jobs and seeing what it’ll take to be able to work out here. 

it seems like Phi Phi Islands would be a good place for me. they are usually more willing to accept newly trained divemasters and instructors. whereas Phuket is really hard to land a job. i’m not sure how confident of my skills i am to try and work here. i think i need some more time in the water, more dives, more training, and more learning… it’s been so long i feel like i’m re-learning everything. also, i want to be able to work somewhere that i want to live. i really like phuket but i haven’t gotten to really explore it much yet. i hear Phi Phi has kids my age, fire spinning, hula hooping, and easier jobs. i was asking about Phi Phi the other day though and my instructors said that Phi Phi is where people go if they can’t hack it in Phuket. they said the divers there are terrible and the instruction is bad. so maybe i could change that, and be a good instructor! 

but i also want to work with people that take their jobs seriously. i also heard that it’s more expensive to live on Phi Phi but the jobs are easier to get… so i guess i’ll take what i can get. depending on how things go, when i’m done here, i’ll start traveling and stopping at different dive shops. even if i could get a liveaboard job or work at a dive shop as a shop girl at first, you have to start somewhere! 

today i walked into Kata Beach, shopped a bit, ate some food, then took a tuk tuk to Big Buddha, the biggest Buddha statue in Thailand. you have to dress modestly @ temples, even though its really hot. i saw a lot of tourists with open toe shoes, short shorts, skirts, cleavage, and bare arms. disgusted me actually. how do you not know to be respectful? or research before you go? 

big buddha.

they started building it on top of the hill after the December 2004 tsunami that devastated Phuket and surrounding areas like Phi Phi Islands. oh yea, Phi Phi is where the movie “The Beach” is filmed! another good reason to go there? hehe. it’s about 35 meters long and twice that high! you can see it from the harbor when we come in on the boat every day. that huge! i met a monk from Burma and talked to him for awhile. his name was Ashin. he told me that many of the workers are from Burma so he comes often to bring gifts and letters from their families.

i told him i’d been wanting to do a 10 day retreat at a monastery after i get done with my program and asked him where he recommended. he said Phi Phi (ironically the same monastery i was looking at this morning), AND the place i’m thinking of moving onto next. syncronicity? 

i paid 100 baht (4 dollars) for a piece of marble that will be put on the buddha once he is finished. it helps them pay for the construction.

my dinner afterwards, nice view eh?

very enlightening experience. the view is amazing, you can see Chalong and 2 other beaches from the top of the mountain, the highest point in Phuket. feeling great, relaxing day. now more studying…

beaming ❤

it’s alll happening!

lots has been happening lately! got out on the boat a couple days ago again, 3 beautiful dives! yesterday watched Artin teach an Open Water Scuba class, and got to shadow and help a bit (still learning myself). 2 days under my belt on the boat as a Divemaster in training. SO MUCH FUN! really long days then lots of studying but WORTH IT! the Open Water students were 2 kids a few years younger than me, from Canada. we took them in the ocean today for the first time and they loved it. i remember my first time and how excited i was. Mikel said afterwards, “that was one of the coolest things i have ever done”! sooooo true! what a blessing to introduce people to something i’m so passionate about?

welcome to my classroom… jealous!?! 🙂

went and saw a transvestite cabaret called Simon Cabaret with an Indonesian/Dutch couple the other night. met a German/Thai couple too. they took me into Palong beach and we had dinner and went to some bars. so at least i’ve been out twice, but mostly just studying, and i can’t make it too long cuz i’m so exhausted! but boy is Thailand beautiful! goshhh, i can’t wait to see more of it! gonna rent a motorbike soon when i have a day to go find one, then i can get around easier! 

the tranny that made Ramon carry her off the stage, then made him pay for the picure after she jumped on his lap in the middle of the show. sooooooo fun!

ramon & beonka, from Indonesia.

tuk tuk ride back, while trying to eat! Lek & Henrik (can’t remember his name), amazing people 🙂

made friends with a mamma kitten and her 3 babies. they have stubby little tails and one of them is really adventurous. it follows me around and meows, the rest are shy. mamma is a good mamma. i started feeding them, now they love me. 

so many great things. been making some good connections and hopefully will be able to find some people to travel with before i find a job. eeeeee so much to do, but i can’t stop smiling! hope life is treating ya’ll beautifully, too. 

after years of festivals and music and love. a HUGE part of my life. i begin a new journey, and a new beginning. here’s to everything and everyone that got me where i am. and a new chapter. here’s to writing the story we want, and making our life what dreams are made of. 

do you want to make a scuba?

saturday i couldn’t go out on the boat, big bummer, because there wasn’t enough people. so Artin, my instructor, jumped RIGHT in with the instructor exam questions, which are physiology and physics. fuck me. i haven’t taken a math class, let alone physiology or physics since high school. i am STILL trying to figure it out. i can get it, but it takes me awhile to work through it all in my head. thank god that’s only 1/5 of the test. but jesus Artin, right away? at least he gave me practice problems, so i’ve been working on them. 

sunday i finally got out on the boat! yes yes yes! butttt…. right when we get into the water, i realize how strong the current is. the waves are about 5 meters (15 feet), and there’s an older, heavier couple that Artin and i are diving with who panic immediately. so the current is pulling us apart, we’re trying to get them back onboard. the crew is throwing them a line to pull them in. i’m bobbing up and down and up and down trying to use my snorkel, which i realize is useless, and decide to put my regulator in. meanwhile i’m kicking towards the boat and going nowhere. i’m exhausted after 10 minutes. first dive, alright. i thought i may die. i used up half my air at the surface just trying to fight the current. at least i know once we descend i can breathe normally again. great start? i think PADI was like, “hey asshole, thanks for taking a 5 year break, how about this for a refresher?”

because it’s rainy season, the waves are HUGE (the norm) and the visibility isn’t too great (about 2 meters, or 10 feet). i realized how much you have to pay attention when i stopped to look at some christmas tree worms and all of a sudden couldn’t see anyone. great! i banged on my tank, Artin heard it, and shone his flashlight, to which i followed it until i found him again. thank god. since my computer was broken i couldn’t ascend on my own (comforting).

once we get back to the surface, i’m playing the same game i started with. fighting the current, trying to catch the ladder as it goes out of the water then smashes back in! oh shit… quite the timing game. i’m struggling to get my fins off, trying to breathe, and kicking with all my might to make it to the ladder. i kept invisioning it coming down on my head and knocking me unconscious. literally not an irrational worry. 

it was all quite comical really. at least later. at first it was shocking. but, once you get down there, you remember why you can’t live without it. i was pretending to fly, finding my perfect buoyancy, playing with the coral, hanging out upside down, and holding my fins while cross legged letting the current take me. finally, my happy place. music and scuba diving. the two things in this world that while happening, take the place of any worry you may have. you can’t think of what’s going on besides it, because nothing else matters. i remembered why i do this. and i felt at home again. 

in the past few days i have stepped out of my comfort zone more than the past couple years of my life. and that’s what this is, constantly keeping me on my toes. from physics to giant waves to motorbikes at high speeds to straight-up culture shock. i think constantly remaining unbalanced is the key to life. if we feel too comfortable, we forget how to move. we become stagnant. this is how we learn to live, to put ourselves in a position where we may feel unnerved. because we grow stronger every time we prove to ourselves that we have everything we need within us. 

tomorrow if i go on the boat, i have my first day as a Dive Asia divemaster in training. i get to help plan dives, assist patrons with gear, and “enthusiastically” keep people entertained. bah, that sounds like me! (Artin said if i do really well, Dive Asia will offer me a position) gaw’ddddd! and i’m gushing because i just got new gear! found out that a lot of my old equipment was only for recreational diving, and that since i’m so little, i need a BCD with more lift otherwise if i’m towing a diver, they will drown me. which doesn’t sound too great, especially if the waves are 5 meters again. another problem has been switching to the metric system, damn you America! now i have to think in terms of meters, liters, kilos. my brain is fried like an egg. 

but hey, can i really complain? 

keep sending that positive energy family, i carry you with me always. thanks for all the kind messages and words in the past 5 days.

I LOVE YOUUUUUU.