Kyle Thiermann's July Travel Challenge
It's July, for many of us this might be the only month we get to dust off our boardbag, instagram our plane taking off, and journey to that special destination we've been daydreaming about all year. That special place where tubes are in abundance, where full-suits and booties are only a myth, where we can be oiled up and massaged by three local goddesses every day of the week. Well, maybe that last part is just wishful thinking but July is a big travel month and this short post is designed as a simple challenge that will make your summer trip even more memorable.
I'm a very fortunate person and I get to travel more than most. A lot of the trips I go on I have an agenda to learn about a specific environmental or social issue facing the people around the surf destination. Then I turn it into a short movie to expose the issue and help engage surfers to solve the problem through my series Surfing for Change. I love my job and one of my favorite parts is that it requires me to actually learn something relevant about the places I travel.
I've found that when I take interest in a community, the community takes interest in me. It's opened up amazing doors from locals showing me their less known waves, them sharing what they are doing to prevent losing their livelihood and beach to a proposed coal plant, like the one I covered in Constitucion Chile or to a nuclear plant, like the one proposed in Jeffrey's Bay (link). I've also found that it's easier than you might think and doesn't need to take away from any of your vacation time.
So this is my challenge to you: Take an interest in the community on your next surf trip. It can be as simple as asking the local shredder about the biggest issues facing their town, or asking the weathered fisherman about how they've seen their beach change over the years. I know it sounds scary to talk to strangers but trust me it's worth it. Asking a question or two on your next trip will allow you to do more than just visit the place, you will actually experience it.— Kyle Thiermann