I’m proud to say I turned 50 last year and am grateful for all my life has been so far. There have been many adventures along the way; one of the most significant was learning to surf 2 years ago. It changed my life completely. Surfing is a constant challenge, there are days I'd love to give up and say it's too hard, and there have been plenty of times I've been knocked down and had no choice but to get back up again. Interestingly, I've learn't just as much about life from my 31 year-old Balinese surf coach as I have about surfing. Who would have thought? Life's like that sometimes. So back to adventure...SHE thinks it's what many of us are looking and yearning for. We're currently asking our fans and followers to inspire us with #AnewAdventure to win a learn-to-surf holiday with SHE in Bali. If you have a story to share about an adventure that changed your life, here's your chance to share it with us. Here's a little about my story that's led to a new business, working in paradise, doing what I love every day...
I’ve worked in events and hospitality for most of my career and established my own event management company in 2002. It wasn’t until the tender age of 48 when I visited Hawaii that I finally worked up enough courage to take my first surfing lesson; it was the most amazing experience, like nothing I’d ever done before, I was hooked and terrified at the same time!
Aside from the feeling of sheer joy that comes with riding a wave, I loved the feeling of freedom, my body becoming stronger from hours in the water, how much fitter I felt mentally and physically, and being able to eat pretty much anything I liked on the days I surfed! Two hours in the water builds up quite an appetite!
I took my new-found passion for surfing, my knowledge and love of Bali, and my personal and professional experience of travel as both an event manager and an independent woman to create SHE surfs in 2014. As a frequent business traveller I soon found many other women who didn’t really want to travel solo, but didn’t necessarily want the constant company of others on their holiday. Most simply weren’t interested in travelling on standard tour groups but didn’t know what other options were available. Experience has shown me that these women (and I am one of them) still want time to themselves (including their own room), enjoying what SHE calls ‘barefoot luxury’, and almost all are looking for a new adventure – that’s where SHE comes in.
It's not surprising to me how many women would love to learn to surf with so many of us having grown up near the water, watching the boys have all the fun! Learning to surf is a great leveller; there is no room for egos out in the water. We learn so much about ourselves when we’re facing our fears, struggling to paddle back out, really wanting to give up because it's easier. Then there's gentle encouragement from a surf coach with the patience of a saint who doesn't understand what giving up means. Come on, let's try again. And everything's back on track. Amongst this there’s always a lot of laughter, sharing of stories, and instant friendships are forged.
Over the past year I’ve taken seven groups of ladies to Bali to learn to surf with our incredible local surf instructors lead by the wonderful Frengki. Without sounding melodramatic, it has been life changing for all of the ladies – so they tell me. I see it shining through as they say goodbye on their last day.
Age is no barrier where SHE’s concerned and it’s been inspiring and humbling to see women try something like surfing later in life. We care less now how we look in a pair of bathers, whether we’re wearing the trendiest outfit, or what other people think of us – how refreshing! The lessons we all learn from the ocean, Mother Nature, and being among the beautiful Balinese people are life affirming and translate across our personal and professional lives in extraordinary parallels.
So that’s a little of the story behind SHE travels and now SHE surfs. I’d love to hear about #AnewAdventure you’ve taken in your life – you might just find it leads to a new adventure with SHE… click here to follow the link to share your story.
Director, SHE travels