My love of the ocean, combined with my obsession with travel and yoga, means I am constantly thinking of ways I can combine all three. For a long time I have played with the idea of teaching at a surf camp somewhere in the world but the idea of being a vegan, straight edge yogi amongst hoards of drunken teenagers was never entirely appealing. That was until I found the surf camp that yogi dreams are made of!
I came across Dreamsea Surf Camp on my usual trolling of the Internet. I was looking into different options in Europe and teaching in Spain was definitely at the top of my list: hot weather, beaches and conversing in Español… Perfect! A brief Skype conversation with the boss had me convinced that this was the place for me. All night partying and deep fried food had been replaced with culture trips, relaxing in hammocks and fresh healthy meals. Add yoga to this mix and it was destined for great things.
Fast forward a couple of months and I was making the journey from Australia to Spain. My laptop was loaded with e-books, a list of blog ideas, a thick journal and a strong desire to spend time searching for my peaceful place, my ‘Shanti’. I only had to teach one hour per day and I had great visions of using my free time wisely to reflect, learn, meditate, write and of course spend some time tanning, surfing and enjoying the local area.
My arrival at camp consisted of a line of tight hugs and big smiles from all of the team which instantly made me feel welcome. Within a couple of days I felt like I had known these people all my life. I had sung, danced and laughed with them without feeling the slightest bit of embarrassment or discomfort. I don’t remember any time in my life that I have ever felt so comfortable in the company of complete strangers. So it is not surprising that before long I found myself being sucked into camp life. Staying up late, daytime siestas, goofing around with guests and staff, surfing, slacklining, ping pong tournaments, bike rides, paddleboarding, dancing in local bars… You get the idea. There was a lot of fun and much less reading, writing and reflecting than I had envisioned.
Then after two weeks at camp I spoke to my sister and she told me “You seem different… More laidback… Like the old Kirsty”… Cue panic! What did she mean? What had happened to me? Was I reverting back to ‘the old Kirsty’? Is ‘new Kirsty’ not laidback? I decided to write in my journal and realised that it had been over a week since I last wrote! I started to feel worried… Had I lost sight of what is important? It was as if I had pushed my spiritual practice aside for this life of fun and games.
After some reflection with a friend I suddenly realised that I was being way too hard on myself. I still made time for yoga, I still practiced mindfulness, love and compassion. I didn’t drink, I was sill vegan… I was still ‘me’. But I came to the conclusion that Shanti (peace) is not about always being disciplined or studying or meditating and all of these beautiful things. Shanti is a place of equilibrium. A place of peace. Perhaps my life had become so structured and disciplined that I needed this experience to teach me to laugh and be silly and do seemingly mindless things. Maybe yoga had allowed me to connect with myself but I needed time to remember that it is just as powerful to connect with others too.
So after three weeks in Spain I feel myself learning more about my Shanti more and more. Every day I move closer to that place of equilibrium. A place where I can love deeply, live fully and laugh loudly but still stay connected to myself and the source. Lucky for me, I have two more months in paradise to explore further.
The moral of this story? Sometimes what you think you need and what you actually need are two very different things. So do something that scares you, stop taking life so seriously and definitely don’t stop playing.
Kirsty is a passionate vegan, gyspy-spirit, summer-chasing anatomy nerd who loves kirtan, AcroYoga, dancing, random acts of kindness, being in nature, and being upside down. You can catch Kirsty somewhere around the world sharing what she loves.