'Settling down'. By that I mean having our stuff in one place for more than a month! I thought I'd write about how it is to be back at work again after having 14 months following my dreams, it has to be kind of a let down right? Funnily enough, I was initially concerned that I wouldn't want to come back after traveling, and that coming back to work would be terrible, I'd want to leave the UK and find a job somewhere hot. But actually, from about half way through my time off and onwards, I came to the realisation that home, friends, family, windsurfing and surfing in Devon and Cornwall, Crossfit Plymouth and my career, is a pretty nice way of life, and there aren't many other places (none in fact that we would definitely want to move to right now) that have a better balance for us, than what we have here.
People asked if I was looking forward to returning to work, and actually, strangely I was. Not for the early mornings-I'm terrible at getting up, and most definitely not for the leave! But for the mental challenge, variety, rewards and relationships work can bring, the achievement of developing my career, and the stability of having a steady income as living on a tight budget like we had to all the time gets tiring... but also what I think you take for-granted if you don't travel a lot, is the stability and routine you get from being in one place and having a house to live in!
My 14 month sabbatical has been amazing, I am so lucky to see the places I have been, met the people I have met, compete on a World Tour in the sport I love the most, had the money and time to do this and been secure in my job to come back to it. If windsurfing was a bigger sport, I think I would love to do it full time for a while, and push my level to see how far I could get, (but perhaps I wouldn't be so near the top?!) or perhaps if I had different circumstances or choices with my career I would too, but at the moment I count myself lucky I was able to do what I did at all, and I am enjoying the challenge work brings me!
Would I do it full time? I think not in my current situation, firstly it isn't sustainable at the level I am currently, so I would have to work a lot on the side in probably jobs I wouldn't appreciate, or rather that I have already spent much time doing outside of my professional role, but if I could get the funding to give it a go I would love the challenge to become a full time pro and see how good I could get. Ideally, working flexibly in a professional role is probably the ideal goal, like Stef does.
Actually, windsurfing on the side of working full time, although almighty frustrating, especially in the UK, makes those sessions that are good like gold dust and you are on top of the World when you score one. Getting something you can't have all the time makes it better, and I may loose the love a little if I windsurfed full time for years to come. (I am going to regret this when there isn't any wind for months at home!). My ideal balance would be to work full time but have more than 5 weeks leave per year, to train hard and still compete. I loved the challenge of competing and sailing against like-minded girls, and I think I won't be able to continue this at the level I was with my current leave. I would also like to add that the grass isn't always greener, (though it does take some exploring to realise this!), and to appreciate and make the most of everything you have!
So what are my goals this year? To continue to train as hard as I can in windsurf, surf and Crossfit around work (I almost never miss a forecast!); continue apnea training for breath holds, free-diving in the Summer months to help water confidence; start gymnastic training for my jumping; improve my big wave sailing, by exploring the UK's outer reefs hopefully; and lastly, use every bit of leave I can to travel to the World's best wave spots to train and compete where possible! All this is possible with the help of my sponsors: NoLimitz masts, PuravidaBoardriders, K4 fins, Simmer style and C-Skins wetsuits-thank you all so much!
Wow...I am going to be busy!
I haven't got any shots of my recent sessions, mainly because they were in the dark, or it was raining, or we had a 15 minute cliff walk with gear so didn't fancy carrying a camera too! It should get easier to get pics as the light gets better and we have more time! Here are some pictures from a trip to Tintagel late last year with our families. Some great spearfishing territory to explore next Summer I think!