Rhythmic Paddling: Surfing in Lima, Peru

February 22, 2017

Strolling Along the Beach

I meander along the rocky shore and smell the damp sea air as it caresses my cheek with a cool, salty kiss. I look out over the vast, Pacific Ocean and watch as the waves rhythmically lap up against the shore.
The view isn’t the best, because the clouds of salty mist block out the rays of the sun that are struggling to be seen. But I just shrug my shoulders and think, “It’ll do.” Kind of like how I approach the entirety of my life.
I take in a deep breath of salty air as I walk along the shore. Solitude is my sole companion and I like it that way. Sometimes I need to be alone, among the waves, as they peacefully wash up upon the shore.
I wistfully yearn to have the peace and serenity that the waves create for me. But my mind is going in so many different directions, that I just can’t seem to settle on any particular path. And so, my mind remains a place of total chaos.
And chaos is the story of my life: I just wander aimlessly, in a multitude of directions, nev

Watching the parachutes drop while surfing in Lima, Peru.

er knowing where to turn next.
At every turn, teachers, family members, and friends all offer their advice as to the life I should lead. They tell me the path I should take and how I should be rich and financially successful.
But I do not listen. I know money is not my path to happiness. But I am not sure where my path to happiness lies. Is it in in the life of an independent, female traveler? I don’t know and contemplate if I will regret this way of life if I choose it for my own.
This thought frightens me because travel is the only way that I am capable of feeling joy. So I panic. And feeling these feelings while being in my body, makes nothing feel right. I wish with all my being that I didn’t always feel like this, but I do.
My skin just always feels way too tight and uncomfortable. And I feel like I’m the only one who feels like this, so a constant state of loneliness descends upon my soul.
I sigh deeply at my own indecision about life and the feeling of eternal loneliness that follows me around like a black cloud. I wonder if I will ever find the path that is right for me. Or am I just avoiding life and responsibility by traveling the world? I may never have the answer to this question. Or maybe it’s just all a jumble of everything. My path may be one of avoidance, but maybe that’s okay for me…
I need to get out of my head. I glance out along the beach and see a crowd in the distance. I briefly contemplate the comfort of human companionship and head over to the crowd.

Surfing in Lima, Peru

Surfing in Lima, Peru.

As I descend upon the crowd of beach bums, lounging around in skin tight, black wet suits with holes in them, the stench of uncleaned porta-potties hits me. In that moment, I know what that the answer to my momentary, quarter-life crisis is, surfing.
I find the most grizzled, saltiest looking of gentlemen. He smiles at me with the most delighted of toothless grins, and hands me a wet suit, while pointing to the porta-potty of fecal doom in the corner. A wicked stench invades my nostrils as I enter the portable toilet. I fight the urge to vomit, while rapidly changing into a wet suit that is clearly made for someone much taller than me.
I hold my breath, shimmy into the wet suit, and hop on one foot, all in an effort to avoid getting fecal matter all over my, now not so clean, clothes. I exit the porta potty quickly, with an immense

Hanging out on the beach before surfing in Lima, Peru.

sense of pride that I have survived this most epic of changing room debacles.
I proceed over to a bench where my 15 minute surfing lesson ensues. And this lesson is in Spanish, which my instructor learns is not a language I understand. The lesson quickly turns into a charades game that I am not fully convinced actually teaches me anything about surfing. Looks more like the hokie pokie to me than actual surfing, but I am a woman of eternal faith and hope; a faith that means I will try anything to escape the corners of my mind that perpetually plague me.
I enter into the water and focus all my energy on walking among the shards of jagged, slippery rocks that poke out from the water beneath me. My only goal is to make it past the shallows without breaking my foot, or my neck for that matter. If I can achieve such a goal, this will be a modern miracle unlike any other.
And I actually make it through. Once in deeper waters, I lay upon my board, and unevenly shift my weight around, like any uncomfortable, surfing novice might do. As I do this, the surfboard smacks in protest against the water and I struggle to stay afloat. But as my hands rhythmically dip into the water and pull me forward, my body aligns itself with the board and I feel a sense of relief that I have not felt in a long time.

Back to Shore After Surfing in Lima, Peru

View of the beach while surfing in Lima, Peru.

Out here, I feel minuscule in comparison to the expansive nature of the ocean and waves that are laid out before me. And the tinier I feel, the tinier my problems seem to feel.
My problems actually completely dissipate when I realize that my instructor, who led me out here, is no where to be found. All I see are an endless number of unidentifiable, Spanish men, in black wetsuits, none of whom seem to be the man I am looking for; the man who can help me get back to shore.
My eyes frantically scan the water but to no avail. Panic slowly sets in and I silently beg for my eternally futile contemplation of life to take me away from my current predicament.
But my worries about the future will not change the now. Therefore, when the next wave rises up and out of the water, I paddle for it, with all my might. My mind prays that this wave takes me to the safety of the shore, but my soul hopes that it will lead me to a new path, to a future that is truly meant for me.

via Daily Prompt: Rhythmic


Nanny by day and travel blogger any other time.

I love writing and traveling and bearing my soul on the page.
I want to inspire others to face their fears and join me on an adventure.


  • Haley Woods 1 year ago

    Very cool xox #gltLOVE xox

  • the Fashion Matters 1 year ago

    woud love to do that :O

    *here from GLT

    THE FASHION MATTERS- Travel & Fashion blog | INSTAGRAM: TheFashionMatters

  • Julia Dent 1 year ago

    I love your poetic writing! I would love to try surfing in Peru!

  • Nana 1 year ago

    I had to stop up sometimes when reading your post – I realized your way of writing is very different, but I like it! I really like surfing – I did it some times in Mexico, the pacific coast which is not that pacific at all! As soon as you get the technique on the board the next thing is to be able to read the waves! Thats pretty difficult.
    Good luck with your surfing and finding happiness 🙂

    • girlwiththepassport 1 year ago

      Thanks so much!! Yes, I really want to try surfing somewhere else as well. I think it would be better if I had a real lesson and did it somewhere that wasn’t as rocky.

  • Ashlyn | From Heart And Seoul 1 year ago

    I can’t surf but kudos to you for getting out there and trying it! Peru is a must visit for me – hopefully making my way there within the next year!

    • girlwiththepassport 1 year ago

      Awesome!! It is an amazing place. I bet you will love it there. So much to see and do for sure.

  • Robin 1 year ago

    I’m not a surfer but Peru has been on my bucket list for a few years… your photos are spectacular and your poetic way of writing about your journey is a very compelling read.

  • Annika 1 year ago

    Really cool. Surfing is a nice way to experience a place!

  • Sylvanmist 1 year ago

    Nice writing! I understand your feeling of being uncertain about what path to take in life. It can be tough…and some of us just aren’t meant to do 1 thing, that’s what a lot of people don’t understand. Just think about what’s most important in life to you, focus on that. For me, it’s loving each other. Making people smile. Helping them in some small way if I could. Being a friend. And then doing all my hobbies and traveling in between lol ;p

    • girlwiththepassport 1 year ago

      Thanks for reading and for the stellar advice. All of those things you mentioned are so important and make this world a better place. And just reading that list makes me tired. You sound like super woman!!

  • Soraya 1 year ago

    Omg what a change room debacle you faced! You are so brave to have even entered the smelly porta potty! I totally would not have been that brave. And omg learning how to surf in a mix of Spanish and charades… hilarious!!! I don’t know how you did it! Good on you though for giving surfing a go and getting out there.

    • girlwiththepassport 1 year ago

      Thanks!! Yes, it was quite the debacle. I think the only reason I did it was because I went to all that effort to get the wet suit on that I wasn’t gonna bail on surfing. LoL.

  • Kiara Gallop 1 year ago

    I used to love wandering along the coast in Miraflores, watching the surfers ride the waves. Maybe I saw you out there, who knows! ????

  • Umberta 1 year ago

    I love surfing too! And one of the things I love the most about surfing is feeling the power of nature, it’s such a fun activity good for the mind too!

    • girlwiththepassport 1 year ago

      Absolutely!!! Really removes you from all the stresses of life and throws you into the peaceful power of nature.

  • Noemi of Pinay Flying High 1 year ago

    The sea is the answer to any problems. Lol. I did feel the same way though, the quarter life crisis that you described beautifully in this post. I realized that the life of traveling forever wasn’t for me and so I went back to work. Yes, I’m the weird one. :p

    I can only imagine how bad the porta potty was but I’m guessing that it’s actually worst than what I’m thinking. You truly are brave, I’d probably back down right away when I smell and see it.

    • girlwiththepassport 1 year ago

      Hey, there is something comforting in having a steady job and having a home where people love and care about you. I think one of the hardest things about traveling is that you don;t have the people who really care about you to surround you and I am glad you tried and did what was best for you.

  • Flo @ Yoga, Wine & Travel 1 year ago

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Like you, I took up surfing after I quit my job and was searching for a new direction….now I’m hooked! It sucks that your instructor was nowhere to be found…ocean awareness and safety is so important! Are you going to go surfing again?

    • girlwiththepassport 1 year ago

      Yes. I really liked it and think I need a legit lesson where someone can actually tell me what to do in Spanish. But the power of the wave pushing you through the water was intoxicating.

  • Robin 1 year ago

    What a stunning beach! Peru truly looks like nowhere else on earth – dying to visit someday!

  • Laura 1 year ago

    One of my collegues is a very good surfer and told me about the waves he ‘caught’ in Peru. Not sure if it was Lima, but it could be! What an awesome experience! Hope I ever get the chance to go to South-America one day!

    • girlwiththepassport 1 year ago

      I hope you get to visit too!!! It’s a great place and I really loved going back there through my post.

  • Only Once Today 1 year ago

    Great post! I can surely relate to your story. It isn’t easy to follow your own path. Especially when you aren’t sure where it is leading to. It takes courage to go out there and search for what makes you happy. Keep on blogging!

    • girlwiththepassport 1 year ago

      Thanks so much for the encouragement. I question myself daily about what I am doing. But I need to follow my heart, no matter what happens. Then I won’t have any regrets.

  • Allison 1 year ago

    You are waaaaayyyy more persistent than I am … I would have taken one sniff of those porta potties and ran as fast as I could in the other direction! There is just no way I could have gotten changed in here. I’ve never considered Lima or Peru as a surfing destination. My sister in law hails for Peru and she raves about it so I do intend to visit one day.

    • girlwiththepassport 1 year ago

      I think people CAN surf in Peru but I don’t think Lima is known as a surfing capital of the world. But Peru is an amazing country filled with a diversity of life that is amazing to behold. I hope you get to visit.

  • Rhianno 1 year ago

    This was such a lovely read, I felt like I was reading a novel!
    Despite visiting Peru 3 times now, I’ve never spent longer than 3 days at a time in Lima. I just can’t get myself to like it! Which is a bit of a bummer really, because I really really do WANT to like it. Maybe next time I’ll give surfing a go – who knows, it could be the magic solution!
    I’ve never been surfing before but have always been keen to give it a go!

    • girlwiththepassport 1 year ago

      I’m with you, Lima is NOT my favorite city. I liked Arequipa way more than Lima. And cuzco was amazing too. I love peru and am so glad you enjoyed my post.

  • Michaela Terese Harrison 1 year ago

    Love it very cool. Paddle surfing is something I couldn’t do thank you for sharing. To puddle surf in Peru sounds amazing!

    • girlwiththepassport 1 year ago

      It was tricky for sure. I hope that I can go surfing in some place new next time!

  • Vicki Louise 1 year ago

    I’d love to give surfing a go – although paddle surfing sounds like hard work! To do so in such a lovely environment would surely be worth it! Even the the porta potties would have been majorly off-putting to start with!

  • Only By Land 1 year ago

    Interesting thoughts as you were strolling along the beach. I guess the beach in Lima was a good place for you to think clearly! I am sure if you keep following what you feel is right then you’ll get to the correct destination! I never went to the beach whilst in Lima, I’m not interested in surfing but I should try make it down there for a stroll and a think!

  • Swati & Sam (The tales of a traveler ) 1 year ago

    I can’t even imagine your state in the changing room… yuckkkk . Glad you survived 🙂 I have no idea about surfing and forget about puddle surf. Thanks for sharing yes porty- xciting experience. Just kidding!!! 😀

  • Anna 1 year ago

    The views are amazing!

  • Scott 1 year ago

    What a beautiful place! Thank you for your sharing!

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