Breathing Under Water

This week, by far, has been the absolute most terrifying and challenging week I have ever experienced in the name of "trying to be a bad ass".

I wanted to ensure that this trip was all about *no opportunities missed* and being a bad ass maama jama. So far, I think I've been doing quite alright. This week I really tested myself though, without even knowing it.

Leaving Koh Phangan involved a 2 hour ferry ride to Koh Tao, another small island on the south east coast of Thailand. The ferry ride, unfortuantely, got quite bumpy, and brought the sea sickness out of me. So upon landing, I was ready to vomit EVERYWHERE. The only thing that held the chuck-fest at bay was a thai man who came up to me to sell diving packages. I couldn't think straight, so I nausely said yes to the man and hopped into the FREE taxi truck with the other tourists. I was getting a free ride into town, #winning. Upon arrival the nausea waved away and reality set in. Why am I at a dive school? I don't even know anything about diving? And why am I now considering become a certified open-water diver? What the fuck is PADI?

After some classroom time, the morning had come to go out into the deep sea.

I was T.E.R.R.I.F.I.E.D.

I had been up at 4 am going through all the horrible thoughts in my mind of what could happen. At 8 am I had to arrive to the school and by 6 I was walking around waiting for them to show up. I told them how scared I was, how I couldn't do it, how I wasn't ready. The instructors were so kind and understanding. Of course they wanted me to not be afraid, but they said I have to do what's best for me. I was feeling good about my decision until one instructor said this to me, as a leaving note; "it's ok to be nervous, that makes you a better student, because you're paying attention, but don't be afraid of the water. Don't let that fear keep you from seeing an unknown world."

I nodded my head and ran off before the tears streamed down my face. Why was I crying? What the fuck was happening to me? I am on my dream solo adventure, I should be estatic. But there I was, crying hystericaly. I was afraid, angry, and confused about everything. Why did this matter so much to me? We all have fears, why did I care so much over something I've never even given much thought to?

I forced myself to regain composure, so I went and got a drink, a mango juice, because that's what you do in Thailand; you get a juice.

I drank said juice and thought about what I really wanted. And what I really wanted was to not let fear beat me. Not today, not ever.

Through the blazing heat, I marched back to the school and shouted to the roof tops, well, just spoke in my normal voice really, so, same same, that I was ready! They warmly invited me on a one day Discover Diving course. The next morning I was pumped to get into the water. We took the boat along with other divers to Koh Nang Yuang, a tiny little island off the coast of Koh Tao.

  
 I was paired up with my instructor, Martin, and was lucky enough to have his full attention; I was his only student for the day.We spent the afternoon learning the basic procedures and practicing unlikely situations, just in case. Through out my time under water I freaked out, multiple times, and instead of  shooting to the surface, my instructor calmed me down. He helped me relax and I was able to stay under. There I was, breathing under water. With complete ease.  

We dove down 5 meters for a total of  23 minutes. I saw the most incredible underworld; more than I could have imagined. My marine science books from high school had come alive!


   
   
Most importantly, I did it. I conquered my biggest and absolute greatest personal fear. It wasn't easy, mentally, but I conquered my mind. And that day, I think a new version of myself was released. Two days later, I went on two more dives.The first was the Japanese Gardens, 6 meters deep for 45 minutes. The second was Twins Pinnacle for a total of 12 meters, 38 minutes. We saw schools upon schools of fish, a rare banded sea snake, an also rare juvenile, and a grouper fish. I found nemo, many times, in the anemones', got just close enough to sea urchins and one trigger fish, and the most beautiful colours in the corals. It was breath taking, literally, (so thank God for my oxygen tank!) to swim among so many life forms that I had never seen before. When the second dive had ended, the rain began to fall. I surfaced the water and took the clearest breath of air that I've taken in a long time. The rain was the perfect ending to the most perfect day. On the boat ride back I realised that my greatest fear, could now possibly become one of my greatest passions.

  

So, like I said, this last week was by far the most invigorating, challenging, and conquering week of my life. It never would have happened though, had I not believed in myself. Had I not told my mind that I was in charge, not my emotions. The whole world can tell you that you can or can not do something, but only you know if it's truly possible.

I really thank you for reading this post, it's one I won't ever forget.

So much love and blessings,

Voyaging Vanessa