I love trying out new things. I usually approach new things with far too many insecurities, thoughts such as ‘I look ridiculous’ or ‘I should give up now’ running through my head, but with a bit of perseverance and eventually shaking off negative thoughts, I really begin to enjoy the experience, no matter whether I’m good at it or really bad.
A few years ago, I decided that I wanted to try a new sport or hobby every year. Back then, my ideas included surfing, rock climbing, running and volleyball. Having moved to Cape Town, South Africa, at this point, I had a beautiful natural playground on my doorstep that allowed me to enjoy surf, climb and run in some incredible places.
My introduction to surfing first took place in high school along with my best friend and we were probably inspired by the same thing as many other young girls then –the film Blue Crush of course. I often find new experiences that much easier, and usually a lot more fun, when doing it with a friend. In those days, we spent every day on the beach. My life revolved around sun, sand, surfing and Sam – a boy both my friend and I had huge crushes on although we never actually spoke to him. But my best memory of surfing back then took place on a cloudy afternoon when the beach was bare and my friend and I, along with a few other new surfer friends, sat on our boards on the backline, enjoying the peace and quiet and the coolness of light rain on our bare shoulders, the gentle swells lifting us up as they passed underneath us. Someone spotted a dolphin and we managed to just catch sight of it – a cherry on the top of a perfect afternoon.
I had such great memories of surfing growing up that I was determined to try it again later in life. Try I did, on a few occasions! Unfortunately, as an adult, I seem to complain a lot more easily – the water was too cold (even with a wetsuit), the board was too small and the waves were rubbish. Realistically, I was embarrassed that I couldn’t do it again and disappointed that it wasn’t as fun or as easy as I remember. Of course, we can sometimes romanticise our memories, overemphasising the good things and forgetting about the bad. A couple of years later, however, I got another chance, this time in Devon, England. Again, I floundered and again, I got up and tried again, repeating this process for an entire afternoon and determined to get up at least once. I just http://laparkan.com/buy-vardenafil/ made it up once or twice but I was never able to ride the full wave. Wonderfully, I didn’t care anymore. Yes, I dislike ‘failing’ but the experience was wonderful and the company even better. This time, I could be thankful purely for the chance to try.
Rock climbing was something I had never done before but had dreamt of doing for a long time. My mother wasn’t happy about it – in her younger days, she had climbed herself, but a bad accident brought her climbing career to an end. Fortunately, my climbing partner was a fantastic human being. During my year in Cape Town, we climbed regularly for a year at Silvermine. It was challenging; my hands seemed permanently callused and my arms constantly sore. I stumbled a lot, both literally and figuratively. But, no fan of quitting unless absolutely necessary, I stuck at it. My partner patiently taught me how to climb and belay using the equipment, and he encouraged me non-stop. Getting to the top of each climb never failed to thrill me and looking down over the spectacular Mother City was always an incredible privilege.
Moving to London a year later came with some restrictions however and the outdoor climbing chapter of my life came to an end, although there has been the odd attempt at a climbing wall and I’m considering bouldering with friends.
As for running, fortunately you can do that anywhere. I began running a year or so before moving to the UK and slowly worked up my distance, completing my first marathon in Paris earlier this year.
Although I played volleyball a few times in university (probably the extent of my physical exercise back then), I was never committed to it. But in London, it was easy to get involved. A few years ago, I joined a club and I still play with them today. I’m not nearly as good as them, but they are warm and loving anyway, and always keen for me to get involved.
I’m so thankful for the experiences I’ve been able to enjoy and I’m excited for more adventures like them. Not only is it an opportunity to do something you’ve never done or perhaps never even dreamt of doing, but it has also been a great way of meeting new people and really getting to know the places I’ve lived.
London may not have the mountains or golden beaches of Cape Town but the opportunities to get involved in different sports and hobbies seem endless. A few months ago, I began taking drum lessons and it’s been fantastic. As to what’s next, I have no idea, and that in itself is exciting.