Me in Tofino, BC, 2003
There have been a couple of times in life when I have felt completely devoid of most everything, or have lost “everything.” I know I am not alone.
These times were terrifying at first. When this kind of thing happens, though, I tend not to go into a fear-state of mind. I go into a very open state, so I start to see possibilities.
One example is back in 2003. I was living with my mom, severely depressed, unemployed due to injury, and the guy I was dating told me he was seeing other people. I had no close friends and was always yearning for other things – surfing, nature, love.
The guy disappeared – after a couple of weeks I realized he was never going to contact me, and instead of continuing to feel abandoned, I started to realize I was FREE – I had NO ties, at all, and was able to go and chase for something I’d always wanted.
And so I told my mother, ‘I want to move to Tofino.”
Tofino is a surfing town on the west coast of Vancouver Island, the main surfing spot in Canada. I had thought about moving there for years, but figured it was too small, too remote. I had lived on the island before, but still hours away, convinced the size of the place would not mesh with me.
About a week later, my mom showed me an ad in the paper for a job in Tofino, with accommodation available. I contacted them immediately, and within the next two days I took a trip over to have an interview, and got the job. Two weeks later, I moved.
The next year of my life was completely different than it had been before, except for a couple of key things – I was still the same person, just in a different environment. The new place did not change who I was, and I had to learn new things and ways to adapt. I was different in many ways to the people who lived there, and despite my surf-love, had a hard time with many things - peacefully living with many other people was the main challenge. There was a lot of excess – drugs, drinking, sex, partying – Tofino is a party town, a tourist destination, and a transient place for working travelers. In many ways my illusions were shattered, but I had a fantastic experience that I would not trade for anything.
I also learned to surf, which I had wanted to do since I was a kid.
Most importantly, I had tried something new, that I had always dreamed of. I took the opportunity of the void and filled it with everything I wanted.
Empty spaces in time are the best times to make wild choices – they are the universe giving you an excuse and a chance to expand yourself.
If you have no holds on you, you are free to do anything.
Sometimes the void is created for you, and sometimes you have to create it yourself. Either way, it is not the scary place we imagine. To grow sometimes we need to start with nothing.
I still idealize this little part of the world. It is magical.