Before we go any further I have to admit I didn’t think I was going to enjoy this trip so much. You see, my first Ketanga retreat was just about a year ago and I literally had the time of my life. I went completely out of my comfort zone to do it but came out with new friends (Hi ladies! And Baron!) and incredible memories that set the tone for one of my best years yet.
2017 was on fire for me and I truly credit Ketanga for helping me start it off on such a high. So fast forward 365 days, I knew I wanted more but what if it wasn’t as remarkable the second time around? Like those amazing fish tacos you had at that random stop on your cross country trip and you dream about them for years until you finally make it back and they taste nothing like you remember. Crushing right? I know you’ve been there. I was dreading this possibility on my second retreat but I went with my gut and signed up. I love boxing and I love Ketanga so it was a risk I was willing to take. I signed up for the Boxing & the Beach retreat (part of Camp Ketanga) with Coach Nikki Campbell, and boy am I glad I did!
Risks. I’m not a big fan. The idea of doing something I will likely fail at and will potentially get hurt while doing it, is absolutely not appealing to me. Which is why I have backed out of surfing lessons twice before. I made a point to tell everyone on the Boxing & the Beach retreat that I was 100% no doubt about it going to be participating in the surf lesson this time. I must have said it 15 times in the first 3 days of the trip yet somehow at breakfast on the morning the lesson was scheduled, I managed to confidently tell everyone that I would be siting on the sidelines for today’s activity. I was proud of myself for playing it safe. I rationalized that I don’t need added stress in my life why should I torture myself with an activity I’m already anxious about before it has even started?
My relief quickly dissipated as Stacy told me she had already signed me up and as my dear friend she wasn’t letting me back out because she knew that inside I really wanted to do it. I knew she was right, I just had to get over myself and take a damn risk. I agreed to the land lesson. And that went well so I agreed to ONE try in the water. With Mao by my side, who I swear is the world’s best surf instructor, I dragged my board into the water.
Side note: I chose this moment to tell Mao that I can’t swim and to his credit he didn’t freak out which in turn kept me from freaking out. He assured me that I would be OK and I should hurry up and get on the board because a wave was coming. GULP. I hopped on, he pushed, I paddled, and next thing I know I WAS FREAKING SURFING! On my first try! I couldn’t believe it.
I was so damn proud of myself for taking the risk and getting in that water. But that’s the thing, it goes so much deeper than that. In hindsight, I’m most proud that I went on that first trip last year and met Stacy who I’ve built an incredible friendship with. Someone who knew me well enough to recognize I needed a little nudge that morning. And I’m proud that I took the plunge into retreat number two where – spoiler alert – the other group members did not suck! In fact, they are some of my new favorite people. And they cheered and smiled right along with me when I rode that wave because even though we’d only know each other for a few days, we were in this together and the camaraderie was REAL.
I guess at the end of the day I am a risk taker after all. But really with Ketanga it’s just a calculated risk because you’re pretty much guaranteed to have an experience that makes you smile.
By Nikki C.