Will, what do you like to do? What have you been up to in life? What makes you feel alive?
What do I like to do? I like movement, if I was to bring it into a nutshell. Over my life I’ve studied juggling, several different types of marshall arts, yoga, meditation, dance, particularly Argentinian tango, contact improv, loads of different circus skill, skateboarding, mountain biking. I think the common denominator is movement. I find movement very interesting. Currently my main obsession is surfing and I have been doing that since I was about 26. I’ve always wanted to surf. It’s been something that I’ve wanted to do since as long as I can remember. I come from a very large family so I didn’t really have the access to get to the beach to learn to surf as a child. So then, when I got to around my mid-twenties, I realized that I worked and earned money and I could do whatever I wanted with that money. I don’t know why it took me so long to realize that, because I’ve been working since I was 14, but it was at that point that I sort of made conscious decisions about where I spent my money.
Rather than on possessions and drinking necessarily, I wanted to spend it on surfing, so I bought a surf board, and learned to drive, and started surfing in Brighton it the U.K., which is shit for surfing. It’s really good in Devon, it can be really good in Cornwall in Devon, it can be really good in Whales, but Brighton is really bad, so, it took me a year of relatively consistent practice and going to the beach in shitty on shore sleeting halting cold icy conditions throughout the winter- it took me a year before I first surfed a clean wave. So a year of arduous, demoralizing, frustrating times learning to surf. And then, when I did finally catch that wave it was, as I expected, super rad. It was fucking awesome. I was hooked. And basically that was it. That was what I wanted to do.
So then, since then, I’ve been spending pretty much all of my money on going on surf trips, surf boards, and taking days off from work to go surfing. To get better at it and just to do it really. I think that’s one of the things about it that I love is that I’ve trained in lots of different things and there’s always been sort of a purpose to it almost. Like to juggle there was always some idea of, um, performance. To do Marshall arts obviously the idea is to be good at fighting. So there’s this idea of a point, but there isn’t really any point to surfing other than to ride a wave. The point is that that feels really good, and so I want to get better at it so I can enjoy riding waves more. That’s the only reason. Really I just want to ride a wave. That’s it.
It’s interesting actually, because funny enough, since I was very little I’ve actually never been very confident in water. I’ve always enjoyed water, but I’ve not always been confident being out of my depth and so on because I had a couple of times where I nearly drowned as a kid and that really kind of shook me up. So, to surf, and to surf bigger waves, is to overcome a great deal of fear. Every time. Probably quite unnecessarily, because actually I’m quite experienced at it now and I actually know how to deal with it and I know what I’m doing, but there’s still a great deal of fear involved, so when that get’s overcome and I really start to enjoy myself in what I would consider good surf- it’s a really good feeling. It’s a really really good feeling, because I sort of have tangibly overcome that fear. So, that’s kind of why I’m doing it.
So, you’re trying to do more surfing right? That’s your near future trajectory?
Um, yeah. I moved from Brighton to Devon partly because I was kind of done with Brighton, and because there’s no surf there. And I surfed in Indonesia, the Maldeves and Sri Lanka for about three months about two years ago, and that’s when I really jumped up a level in my surfing. I went from being sort of unconfident in 4-foot plus, and really not being able to do that well, to actually I still can’t do it well, but at least I can call myself a surfer, if you know what I mean. So, yeah, that was about two years ago. So when I got home Brighton was no longer the place for me. I needed to be in Devon. So I’ve been in Devon for two years, but there’s not a lot of surfing going on. There are waves, and I think if you lived right by the beach you could surf most days, but I live about an hour or so away, for work and for various other reasons, so it means that we actually surf in the winter – maybe once or twice a week for a few weeks, and then none for a while. And in the summer, we can go months without surfing because there aren’t any waves. And the way to be good at it is to do it every day. That is the way to be good at it I think. So, I essentially want to find somewhere that I can be of use and be helpful to the community and surf. That’s my plan, definitely.
I haven’t quite worked out how to do that, or what to do with that. But I definitely want to be useful as well. I think that’s one of the things that is very important to me – to be helpful. And I want to play guitar more. In order to learn things you need time, and in the rest of the world at the moment it’s too expensive to have time. So, I need to find a way of living somewhere where time is more abundant, definitely. And that’s not the U.K..
What do you find to be the most exhilarating aspect of travel?
The most exhilarating aspect of traveling? Interesting question.
I think it’s just the sense of what could be, for me. I’ve always really enjoyed leaving places. I think that that’s because, in leaving somewhere there’s a potential for something new. And there’s always the potential for the next thing, for what could be around the corner. I think that’s the most exhilarating aspect.
Maybe that’s not the way to live – maybe you should just be right now, but I think, yeah, anything can happen. Anything can be around the corner. I think when you go home, when I go home, I try and remember to not to do this, but I get institutionalized into the U.K. Last time I got home and I was like “Alright, I’ll go to Devon for a few months, and then I’ll go away again. Six months later I’d bought a van, I had rent, I had a job, I was working. I was buying tools to work, and I was like “How did I suddenly get sucked into this when I know that it’s not really productive for me personally. When you’re out in the world suddenly everything is possible. You realize how big of a place it really is and how much possibility there is to do things and so on.
It’s the little things like yesterday I was on the beach and I noticed that there were a lot of Costa Ricans wearing board shorts and sunglasses and chilling on the beach, and I thought to myself – most Costa Ricans, when they’re on the beach, probably wear board shorts and sunglasses, whereas most people in the UK are sort of suited and booted to go to work and it’s just different. For them, that it the suit and tie. It’s just different.
Describe your experience being at Dreamsea Costa Rica. Has this trip effected your thoughts on travel?
Yes, it has. I’ve always traveled alone, because then I can just leave when I’m not really digging a vibe, and committing to come to Dreamsea for at least three weeks meant that I could. I mean once I’ve agreed to do something I’m going to do it regardless, but yeah, that’s been really interesting for me. To make that commitment to stay somewhere and then the feelings and the thoughts about it are, actually, I could have just upped sticks and left at a few points during my stay at Dreamsea, but the reason I would have, wasn’t having anything to do with Dreamsea not being a good place. It was to do with me and how I looked at it and how I was feeling myself.
So actually, I was all about me and what was going on for me, rather than what was going on in Dreamsea. Actually Dreamsea is a really interesting place where, I think, for the younger people who are here, they can learn a lot about how to cooperate with people, which they maybe haven’t done in the same way before, because they’ve sort of probably only just left home. Shared living is quite an interesting experience. You sort of take the rough with the smooth, right. But also, for me as well, I don’t really associate with people that much younger than me that often, so it’s good to do that, and I think it’s a very good way of doing it. And I’m quite impressed that it works. I think the reason it works is because of Carlos, and Antonio, and the people that have more responsibility within the camp. That’s why it works. Otherwise I don’t think it would. It might go a bit funny without those people who are solid at the top of the pile, but without appearing such.
Is there an experience or story from your time at Dreamsea that you will always remember?
Definitely. Going to the rodeo. I’ll remember that for a really long time.The rodeo was a very interesting experience. Fully interesting experience. I’ve never seen anything like it, if I’m honest. I really enjoyed it, and I thought that the sense of community the Costa Ricans had in that moment was really great. I don’t think I’ll ever forget climbing through the stalls, up on to the fence, and looking into the bull pit, and seeing young destiny just wandering around with her go pro, hard-coring it up inside the bull pen. I was amazed. I thought – what a powerful person. She can do anything she wants that person. She can do anything. She’s got girl balls. I’ll definitely remember that.
The people. I’m making friends with people here. Sometimes it difficult making friends when you travel because you move on, but here I’m making friends that I can tell – you know – we’ll see each other again. And I hope that we do. That’s a positive and I’ll remember that for a long time.
I’ll probably remember lying in the mango tree as well, because I do probably lie in the mango tree every other day. A bit of quiet time in the top deck when there’s no one else around. It’s a place of self-reflection. You know – I’ve cried in the mango tree. I’m not going to lie. I’ve cried. And I think everyone should cry in the mango tree. Before I came here, I came from the U.K., where I had got into a very cynical frame of mind. Very cynical frame of mind. Mental health took a bit of a turn for the worse in the past two years, and now I’ve come out of that but then a sort of real cynicism had kicked in about life and people and where the world is going and about foreign affairs and politics and these kind of things. And then to come hear and to see all of this positivity and all of these really shiny happy people who are sort of bubbly and happy and very interesting characters. The cynicism was probably still there a little you know; “Are they really happy” Yeah, but, are they?” Or “Yeah, but they just don’t know the truth.” – To go the rodeo and to interact with so many strangers who were really pleasant to me- just in they’re energy – in the way that they smiled and connected – you don’t get that in the U.K. People aren’t like that. And it was really quite overwhelming for me, because actually- it isn’t a front. It isn’t pretend. This “Pura Vida” idea is not some kind of tagline that they use for tourism – it’s actually real. I’m not foolish enough to think that there aren’t issues – I’m sure deep down there are, but I think actually it is a happier place. People are happier and nice. And that’s really fucking cool. Really fucking cool. Because there are not many places I’ve been to that are like that.