The Japanese go to Bali. So do the Aussies. Floridians go to Puerto Rico. Hawai'ians go to Tahiti. The Welsh go to Southern France. The French go to Morocco and from there to the Canaries. Brazilians go everywhere. Californians go to Baja.
At some point in life, we're tempted away from home for the first time–away from everything familiar and easy and toward the hardships inevitable when dealing with the unknown. Our first trip across national borders is usually within reason. We choose somewhere fairly nearby, where the language is similar and the route is established, but no matter how similar to home we think it's going to be, the experience can still be overwhelming. No one can be ready for the abrasiveness of the French glare, the cheerfulness of the Balinese smile, the potency of Moroccan hash, or the painfully slow pace of the Mexican afternoon.
While the experience itself may be negligible at best, the importance of this first trip is that it changes your perspective on the world. You may see real poverty, and you realize that massive material wealth isn't the pinnacle of existence for most of the people on Earth. You are forced to experience new tastes, smells, temperatures, skin hues, and television programming. And possibly the most important aspect of this first trip is that you've escaped the hectic pace of your daily routine. You can watch people shop in a village market, or you can listen to the rain.
This issue of TransWorld SURF is full of new perspectives. Taj Burrow rents a helicopter and gives a new view of surfing, Central America opens up and shows us the surf paradise that awaits travelers who are willing to look beyond its recent bloody past, and Shane Dorian talks about his life away from the World Tour and his new approach to surfing.
Spring is upon us. Go somewhere new.–Joel Patterson