The last eight months has been incredible! In November 2011 we started our first full season of back to back Unravel Surf Travel Camps. We hosted Surf, Yoga, Horse Riding and Photography Camps in November, December, January, February, March and April.
We surfed countless beautiful waves and we explored South Africa’s breathtaking Garden Route Coastline. The warm Indian Ocean waters allowed us to have as much fun and adventure as one could possibly want.
Some of the travellers at our Surf Camps bungee jumped from the highest Bridge Bungee in the world, the Bloukrans Bridge, on the border between the Eastern and Western Cape Provinces. We went whale watching and we were lucky enough to see some late season Humpback Whales casually cruising along the surface of the ocean before disappearing into its depths.
We practised early morning Yoga on the beach, with no one but seagulls and dolphins for company. We went horse riding through indigenous forests and enjoyed sunset djembe drumming sessions.
And after all of that we surfed some more.
By the end of April we were exhausted. We are intimately involved in every single aspect of the all the Surf Camps we organise, that’s the way we like it, because we don’t want this to become just another touristy business. We want to keep the personal flavour and that takes a lot of cooking.
If you do it right, travelling is one of the most rewarding experiences there can ever be, but it is hard work. Especially if you’re organising Surf Camps and you’re the “local” who’s supposed to always have the inside scoop. Like anything that’s worth the while, travelling is more difficult than getting on an air conditioned tour bus and drifting off into a day-dream.
The end of Surf Camp season was only the half-way mark.
Early in May we left for some surf travelling of our own. We spent a month surfing and exploring Lombok, an Indonesian Island to the east of Bali. It’s been on the radar for quite some time, but unlike it’s famous neighbour, Lombok is still very undeveloped and not yet an over exploited tourist destination. Sometimes it was hard work to get to where we wanted to be, but we were rewarded with surfing empty line-ups and meeting many curious locals who obviously didn’t see that many travellers passing through.
We returned from Indonesia, sunburnt and surfed out, my arms felt like spaghetti from all the paddling. We spent five days recovering in Melkbosstrand, a relatively small and quiet town on the west coast of South Africa, thirty kilometres north of Cape Town. And then it was back to the airport and into another long haul flight.
We were going to Saint Petersburg, in Russia, for a family wedding. We travelled via Moscow to meet up with old buddies from our earlier Surf Camps and to spread the word about our upcoming Surf Camp in the Transkei. An area regarded by many as one of the few remaining travellers’ frontiers’ in South Africa.
After the wedding we trekked up to Syktyvkar, about one thousand thee hundred kilometres East of Saint Petersburg, as the crow flies. By road it’s a different story. At one point the GPS could not tell us where we were. It was an epic road trip and it involved nine-hour stretches of driving and seriously dodgy roads. I’m still deciding who’s roads are worse, Indonesian or Russian. Indonesia would’ve been the obvious winner, if wasn’t for the unfair advantage of having many steep hills where erosion happens so easily.
From Syktyvkar we will fly back to Cape Town, where we will have one day of rest, before we head straight into another long journey by road. We have only a few days within which to make a one thousand-five-hundred kilometre trip. On the way we need to pick up Surf Camp equipment and other gear for the July Surf Camp in Mdumbi, in the Transkei region of the Eastern Cape.
This will be another incredible Unravel Surf Travel Camp, and this time in the Transkei’s wilderness! As always we will surf and do yoga, and, this time, we will also organise meditation workshops. The tranquil and unspoilt surroundings here are perfect for a journey within.
And that brings me to the point of all this.
“The most important Journey we will ever take is the 18 inches from our mind to our heart.” ~ Grandmother Agnes Baker Pilgrim
Through travelling I have come to appreciate that there are a few things that all human beings have in common. One, is the undeniable existence of an internal world of thoughts and emotions. The whole of which is, according to most people, intangible or non physical. And yet, it is from within this world that our most incredible feats, and most horrendous atrocities, have emerged.
This Inner Journey is a universal part of the human experience and it serves the purpose of teaching us who and what we really are. The ultimate lesson: our identity cannot be conceived in thought.
To consciously cease all thought allows for the perception of the background awareness, our consciousness. It is that consciousness which allows for the existence of thoughts.
And that’s the secret. Our thoughts and our awareness are not one and the same. For thought (within the human mind) to exist, we need consciousness (an awareness) … but to be consciously aware, we do not need to think.
This is the essence of the journey from mind to heart. The intuitive mind (the heart) resides within that infinite realm that we cannot describe but that we can become aware of, if we stop our obsessive thinking for a few moments.
So is this the most important journey?
Well, the last eight months of travelling hasn’t been my first time. It did however confirm, once again, that no matter where we go, no matter where we travel, the most important journey is always within.
And this is not meant to undermine the importance of travelling at all. To the contrary, more often than not The Inner Journey requires that you to travel to strange and unfamiliar places first, where you don’t understand the language and you don’t know the traditions and customs. Most often it is such a journey, to a strange place, that ignites the journey within.
I have seen several people arrive at our Surf Camps and leave, a few weeks later, being a different person. More humble, more inquisitive, more calm and more compassionate towards the world in general.
I’ve seen myself change on every journey I have undertaken. I was not the same person when I returned from Indonesia, and I am not the same person now after having been with my Russian family for almost a month. Every journey illuminates another important part of the Inner Journey.
Einstein was a great person. You may ask yourself “what is a reference to Einstein doing in a piece of writing about travelling?”
Well, Einstein was not only a genius when it came to scientific theories, he had incredible insights into mankind’s state of being.
“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honours the servant and has forgotten the gift.” ~ Albert Einstein
So what does this have to do with travelling?
Well, you can call it what you want: Progress, Evolution or the Will of God.
I call it: The Journey of Mankind. And we’ve reached a fork in the road.
We have travelled far and we have journeyed for thousands of years. We have had many adventurers along the way, some of them great, many of them disastrous. But we now find ourselves confronted with the ultimate choice: change our ways OR destroy our own planet.
The dominance of the thinking mind is only one of many stepping stones along the way in The Journey of Mankind. We must now move on, into the present moment, and become aware of who we truly are.
“If you get the inside right, the outside will fall into place. Primary reality is within; secondary reality without.” ~ Eckhart Tolle
If we realise our true identity, pure awareness prior to thought, all the answers we now so desperately need to save our world will emerge from within that infinite realm of creativity.
That is The Inner Journey. That is the ultimate journey. It will determine whether or not we survive. And no other journey will be possible unless we survive.
Yours in Surfing Love and Life