Have you ever felt like breaking out of your cubicle, your uniform, your delivery car, or whatever your occupation might require, and spending your time exactly as you'd like? Everyone does. It's a familiar wish. Think Fight Club. Think Office Space. The monotony of the work day and the harsh reality of the almighty dollar have inspired their fair share of blockbusters, because we all feel the desire to escape. The idea is so attractive because it's so rarely acted upon, and on the rare occasion that it is, people take notice.
“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do since I went to Costa Rica and every once in a while I’d see a California plate down there and think, 'Shit – we can actually drive down here.' Now a few years later it’s actually coming to fruition.”
That's just what four UCLA grads have committed to: the pursuit of happiness. But they're not just dropping their lives to head on the prototypical surf trip – spending lazy days by the ocean and cataloging an endless supply of perfect waves alone; they've got more up their sleeves. They're doing it sans ecological footprint; they're going green.
Traveling the 40,000 mile journey from Newport Beach, CA to Tierra Del Fuego, Argentina (located on the southernmost tip of South America)in a sustainable Ford F-450, they've elected to hybridize their surf trip into an exercise equal parts environmental awareness, surfing, and volunteer work – with a dash of business research on the side.
Sean Robbins, one of the twenty-five-year-old trip planners, comments, "We were like what are we going to do? Just go surf all morning? Okay, then it gets blown out so we drink beers and listen to music all day? After a week of that you're done with it. So we, asked, 'what can we do that's positive and we'll learn from?'"
The trip itself is a Carbon neutral one, and the group has committed to reforestation activities in Nicaragua, working with Habitat for Humanity, as well as distributing children's books that promote environmental awareness to schools along the way. They also hope to research development opportunities that they could hope to make sustainable properties.
Travel mate, Eric Paine, expands on their environmental endeavor, "What kind of started off as a surf trip just to get away has gained so much substance."
So where did the idea come from? Some might say the seed was planted by the Malloy brothers' vegetable oil-fueled Baja trips.
Paine recalls, "I was at a green event in Los Angeles and I picked up a magazine that was talking about the Malloy brothers and their trip that they did, and we met with the same guy that converted their vehicle into a sustainable one and got him to do the same to ours."
Their vehicle can run on any combination of diesel or vegetable oil fuels. The crew hopes to acquire as much gas as they can from restaurants on the route.
"We can go to Mexican restaurants and ask for their extra oil; they have to dispose of it anyways. And when you burn the fuel the exhaust smells like whatever you're cooking whether it's donuts or burritos or Chinese food," says Robbins.
The smell of escape is pungent, especially considering the stale air in Orange Country.
"We live in Newport on the Peninsula, and you know how it is," continues Robbins. "We work nine to five. We party on the weekends, and then the cycle repeats – but after a while the Peninsula is like a bubble. You go to the same four bars, and we really wanted to clean up our lives do something proactive and get out of the grind."
Eric adds, "It ends up being a balanced blend, and a trip I've always wanted to do since I went to Costa Rica and every once in a while you'd see a CA plate down there and think, 'Shit – we can actually drive down here.' Now a few years later it's actually coming to fruition.
It sure is, but that's not to say they haven't already encountered a few cobblestones on their path.
"Our transmission just blew up on us right before we're about to leave," laments Paine. "We were supposed to leave August 15th, but it got postponed, but these two weeks of preparation could make or break the trip."
Adversity must be expected, but for this crew commitment runs deep. Paine reflects, "Our jobs are all done and our girlfriends are sitting on the sidelines… hopefully it's all going to gel together and be complete synergy while we're on this trip of a lifetime."
With many great waves, tales, and achievements in store, the crew plans to correspond with SurferMag.com updating us on their adventures. Planned departure date is August 31, 2007.