About a month ago, I decided to go on a solo trip to Nicaragua to focus on my surf photography. After being in cold water and thick neoprene suits in Canada, I needed a small escape to the tropics to get me through the long gloomy months. I wanted to leave home, in search of calmness, great surf and good vibes. For the ones who know me, they know that I suffer from anxiety and well, I was in deep need of some relief far from my busy life.
Anxiety and I have always had a love-hate relationship. It is so incredibly difficult to overcome and deal with. Sleepless nights, constant thoughts racing through my mind, random panic attacks. The list goes on. But through all the negativity it brings, I learned through time (and I still learn) that my anxiety also gives me strength and power. It has pushed me further in my career and through it, I keep proving to myself that no matter how hard it can get, I can do it.
Leaving for Nicaragua alone was difficult at first. My nervous system was ticking off every other moment that I will be spending in the next 10 days alone. Of course, for you it might not have been a big deal. But for me it was. Going on this trip would get me out of my comfort zone, give me some time for myself and finally allow me to feel the warm salt water on my skin. Which it did.
Floating in the water with my waterhousing, it felt damn good to be in a bikini and let my skin touch the salt water as the waves came over my head. I felt relief, even though the surf was powerful. It’s that instant connection any surfer or surf photographer experiences when the water hits their face. For the first time in a really long time, I had multiple days without enduring the pain of my anxiety. I actually only had one anxious moment in total on my trip, which was pretty amazing if you ask me.
Maybe it was because I was so close to the ocean, and that life in that part of the world is so laid-back, that I started to regain my strength and creativity. From the long winter months, it was getting hard on the mental game to produce creative projects, another reason why I had to go down south. One thing I learned was how deep the connection is with our planet, with the ocean and the trees. It’s crazy how Mother Nature is the strongest cure for any disease or illness. When times get rough and you feel a little overwhelmed, give yourself some time and go for a surf or on an outdoor adventure. You will be surprised on how much the Earth gives back.