"Live in rooms full of light."
I'm spontaneous. And, I'm lucky I have the freedom to be like this. Like that time I had an opportunity to go to Brasil with the only family ever to summit Mt. Everest to cover their first multi-sport race. I got a phone call a week before I would have to go, cleared room in my schedule, then realized that I needed a visa.
"You can't get an expedited visa to Brasil," every travel agent told me. "There's no one who's going to be able to help you with that."
I did my research, found someone on the internet who said that he could. "Why are you able to do this and no one else is?" I asked him, very questioningly.
"I have connections," was what he responded. I did as much research as I could to ensure he was legit, then took a big fat risk and bought a one way ticket to New York to meet him in person, so that he could do an 8-hour turnaround for my visa and have me get on an international flight that night to the capital of Brasil.
I had no idea if, when I showed up, he would actually be a real person in a real office. I thought that I'd get into a cab at JFK and arrive at an address that was actually a defunct office building. But, to my great relief, he did as promised (the man had connections within the Brazilian embassy) and before midnight, I was out on an international flight. All the while, my international departure hadn't been confirmed, I had to do Skype calls from a random Starbucks in Manhattan to coordinate with a travel agent abroad who spoke little English in order to get everything set, and kept texting back and forth with the Romero family, who were themselves prepping for their flights. It was a whirlwind, but absolutely worth the gamble.
Earlier this past week, I met with Taylor Chaput, owner of Paddleboard Bliss, to potentially interview her for an upcoming article in Laguna Beach Magazine. Upon getting to know her, we realized that the two of us could collaborate to bring SUP as an afterschool program for youth.
"We're doing a teacher training this weekend in Morro Bay," Taylor told me with a broad smile on her face. "Do you think you could come?"
I looked at my calendar, rearranged a couple of things, and left at 3am on Friday morning for the road trip up to the Central Coast. And again, I'm glad I did. Because this weekend has shown me what it means to have fun, to be around people who are lovely and loving, who have each gone through their own hardships to become the people they are now. I've never met a group of more laid-back and amazing individuals, each endowed with unique gifts and personalities that light up a room.
This morning, before we went out on the stand-up paddle boards, we were asked to share what our favorite parts about yesterday were. There were those who mentioned the Acroyoga, an amazing practice for what it teaches me about trusting another person and getting pretty intimate in comfortable ways, as there are toes being jammed into crevices in one's body and other slip-ups and touching that can result in interesting experiences. Others talked about vibing off one another's energy, where our evening was filled with one of us playing music, the rest of us moving our bodies in yoga postures before a fireplace.
When it came time to me, I shared that what I've enjoyed the most was realizing that I have permission to play. I never had it growing up, I always had to be quiet and be perfect and go unnoticed, so to be around these freewheeling and easygoing people of such diverse backgrounds and natures was such a refreshing and amazing realization that I can indeed let go... and have boundless amounts of fun!
Yes, I can.