© 2019 by Kajsa Silow

Surf, eat, surf, eat, surf, sleep - repeat
Workation in Sri Lanka
 
Life as a nomading UX designer,
dec 2017 - feb 2018

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Last winter (2017) I realized I'd been spending all day every day the last 3 years in cold temperatures. In the summertime I travelled far up north for month-long adventures in places like Iceland and Lofoten, I spent all my time outside either guiding at Kilimanjaro, Lofoten, Svalbard and Åre, sleeping under a tree, in bivvies, snow caves and tents, cold water dipping whenever I found water and surfed until the water froze whenever I found waves. But summer and warmth? I hadn't felt it in years. 

 

I reached a point when I realized I was suffering from a physical burnout. My winter-motivation had dropped completely, my body started to freak out when it got a little cold and I freezed as soon as I even spent a thought on heading outside in temperatures below 10°C. Living in Åre to snowboard and working as an adventure and expedition guide suddenly felt like a great challenge, and to mention is that I obviously love weather, winter, snow, ice, freezing temps, northern pastel skies and all white landscapes to the extent that I sacrificed all and everything just to be able to live in the northern mountains. That's also why I had spent so much time outside up north over the last years.

 

But everything in overdoze has its prize - that's no news. My body spoke clearly, so just before x-mas last year (2017) I packed my longboard, bikini and laptop and brought my freelance ux-design deadline to the tropicals to surf three times every day for a month. One month turned into two well-needed months, for my physical well-being, rehab and recovery.

 

But I didn't only go there for health. I went there to surf with crocs, hang out with my 10 friends I travelled with, to work with some Adventure Stories admin, to work with my deadline, and of course, as always, get to know locals and learn as much as I can about countries and cultures. For mindfulness, physical activity, simplicity, compassion, open-mindedness, rice and curry, views, palm trees, coconut, fresh fruit, salt water, warmth, sun, future plans, knowledge, gut feeling, possibilities, life... And also, since I moved from Varberg to the mountains I've missed surfing so much!!

So for two months my 10 friends and I spent time surfing and working in the land of rice and curries, tuktuks, coconuts and waves. I fell in love with a Sri Lankan guy and as far as I know I have never experienced such intense presence, simplicity, open-mindedness and love in a relationship before. Life in Sri Lanka sure is something that makes me content. Being able to love like that, surf as much, work from wherever I want, laugh millions of times every day, eat the best vegan food in the world, to be part of such a warm social life and to be able to follow my passions all year round - not only on vacay - is a true luxury. And no one is happier than me that I've finally managed to make this lifestyle work out fully, beautifully and long-term. 

 

As always when I travel to places like Sri Lanka, Bali, Marocko, Tanzania, Malaysia, Vietnam, Kambodja, Laos, Thailand (and I'm talking about the natives and mountain people I met 13 years ago, not the touristy beaches and cities) with similar life standards, I get a bit low when I get back home to meet attitudes about bad weathers, outfit anxieties, arrogant individualism, stressful routines and norms, people who whine about bad service and meeting prejudice and expectations about others' choices, values and acts. That's not always the truth, but no one can't not see the difference when you put it in perspective. More simple places have to me always felt more home. Because when people see each other, meet each other, help each other, function as a community and prioritize love, happiness and an active lifestyle, that's when magic happens. 

For as long as I can remember, well since I was five actually, I've been striving to live with my passions with the aim to always follow my heart and dreams to the fullest - or to the possible extent. It shows in everything I've done in education, free time, my trips and travels, my projects and companies, my jobs and economical prioritizations. I've always been engaged enough to know how I invest my time and money, and motivated enough to not fall for friends' or groups' wishes and questionings even if it has been the opposite of my own values and passions, and I'm thankful for the times when I haven't bought clothes to fit in, stayed home from the bar, carried coffee in a thermos, chosen my expenses with care and attention, saved to be able to live with my heart. Because this is exactly how I want to spend my money - on things that can't be reached by quick fixes and temporary solutions, yet by things that create happiness and memories forever. Maybe that's also why I like it so much on the other side of following dead fish and social expressions, of expectations and theories, instead of communication and energy. On the other side of a culture that which makes us confused in our choices, engaged to fit in or fight with sharp elbows, where passion often is forgotten or squeezed out of the stressful schedules, urges, needs, demands, routines, and fast living. A culture which is about to change and bloom, but a culture that which still speaks it's clear language when returning back home from what just has been experienced in a place where the heart and groups' well-being is what matters the most.

Just like when I quit the job that I loved without having a home, money or a plan. Or when I move for the 14th time in 14 years because I want to follow my dreams, or start studying again because it's fun, or say no to the expected just to be able to say yes to things and activities I'm passionate about. When I take time off to go on adventures month after month, year after year. When I go on solo adventures without having a full plan set because I like getting surprises from myself and my surroundings and let things just happen every now and then and because I like surprises. When I again and again don't follow the norm and fall outside but have patience enough to try that which I believe in and want to aim for. When I leave things and jobs that I don't support because life is too short to stand behind and rub someone the right way if I don't think so, when I rebook my ticket back to Sri Lanka a month later without thinking because I needed it and had the gut feeling.

 

Curiosity and consciousness. The rest will work out. I've learned that things always will. I've learned I hit feels to succeed and when the heart explodes in a million pieces. But I've also learnt that it's just as worth it every single time. Win some, lose some. That's life isn't it. Sometimes you win big, sometimes you crawl naked over desert lands hoping to find one drop of water. But it is just the fact that you're crawling that will make you find that drop, or a whole oasis if you crawl long enough. In that sense I love being a fearless doer, one who takes all her chances and tries until I know. Fully aware of the risks and worst case scenarios and if they're reasonable, fully prepared for a scenario where everything crashes. That's part of the trying and excitement, cus for then I've already accepted that situation since I'm willing to test it. 

 

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