Editor’s Note: Cash Lambert, who penned this piece, worked as a writing intern at SURFING Magazine before taking a job with the Miami Dolphins. He subsequently quit that job because, well…
The sweating and ensuing anxiety began about 2 hours into the 8 hour flight slated to land in Honolulu.
It wasn’t a light or unnoticeable sweat; it was the type that felt like I had been doing jumping jacks in a New Mexico summer in an attic while wearing a parka. For some reason, 30,000+ feet in the air and above Palm Springs, that’s when the “what the f—k am I doing?’ hit me square in the chest.
So what the “f—k” was I doing? Depends, ‘cause to some I was being dangerously rash. To others, I was going through an early life crisis, throwing away money and kissing a profitable career goodbye. But according to SURFING Magazine, I was “going for it”.
What does that even mean?
For years, I had inebriated myself with the youthful ‘here’s to now’ mantra that is embodied by both the SURFING staff and their publication. It is to release your grip on commitments and responsibilities and flee and float throughout exotic, wave-rich regions of the world.
One of my personal favorites: “School will make you smart, the world will make you wise. Have fun and pack light,” wrote Editor at Large Beau Flemister in a piece entitled “The World Is Your Mentor.”
Another example: “…They do not settle for ordinary lives and waves close to home,” Beau wrote in 2015 as “An Ode To The Unsettled.” “They never ever settle down. Those men have found a way to float, and while we can’t float forever, our most restless days shouldn’t be wasted on safety and security and sure-shots and cubicles. Be nomadic for a time. Unsettle down.”
Unsettle down? It sounded dearly appealing. I would frequently awake late in the night, reading these mantras by SURFING and saying yes, yes, yes!
But, but but.
I sat at 23 on Florida’s beautiful and pristine but wave-starved Atlantic coast and I had a steady job with steady pay and a steady Friday night and a steady place to live and by society’s standards, I was supposed to be content. But my heart never beat fast fast fast with danger or adrenaline.
So I began to wonder: Does this chatter accurately represent the lifestyle it boasts about? Or was it all just a mirage?
I decided to find out.
After years of thinking about pulling the trigger – thanks to this SURFING Magazine inebriation – I woke and found my hand on the proverbial gun with the bullet hole already in the wall and my heart finally beating fast fast fast. I was unemployed (by choice) and had booked a one way ticket to the North Shore in the middle of the El Niño-fueled 2016 winter season.Photo: Brent Bielmann
That flight was 6 months ago and I’m writing to you from a lanai less than a mile from Pipeline, with the soft wind blowing my hair out of sorts and a tangerine tree in full bloom next to my car and I can be your spokesman, your cicerone, your escort all in favor of you, dear reader, untangling your roots and going for it.
When you go for it and first see your destination all dressed up and walking down the aisle, you’ll learn that anxiety is actually not tangible nor palpable unless you determine it so, and that worry is nothing more than emotion built upon unknown or over-calculated expectations and after you recognize this, the feeling will dissolve and your heart will beat fast fast fast with joy.
When you thrust yourself into a new culture and rid yourself of that ole’ schedule, a few things seem to drift your way. Like a new job (where you don’t have to wear shoes all day), friendships (skydive instructors have the best stories and the best Scotch), waves (so, so many waves) and a certain 48-year-old female (who lives within walking distance and consistently “needs some help with work around the house, especially with cleaning out the damn jacuzzi”).
When you elect to sleep on the roof to avoid an uncatchable demon of a rat in the room underneath, you’ll understand that not only is a good story better than a good night’s rest, but a good story is worth more than a passport stamp. You can never be too uncomfortable, but there is definitely such a thing about being too comfortable.
When you discover that your finances have dwindled, you’ll realize that cliches are cliches for a reason and while a large integer in your bank account is valuable, yesterday and today’s experiences and stories and photos are actually invaluable.
I’d love to talk more… flight attendants on booze cruises who just discovered Tinder, plunging a toilet at the Volcom House, post-surf BBQs in a setting where you’re the minority… but there’s currently a tap tap tapping on my door and standing outside is a loosely-clothed gal with dark hair, even darker eyes, sun-kissed skin, and an accent that I haven’t quite pinpointed yet.
“It looks fun-sized down the road,” she’s saying, her truck filling the soft and salty air with noise. “…Until the winds shifts. Are you ready? Or are you going to make me wait?”