Story and Photo: Chris Mather (from the UK)

Once again I find myself sat here alone on the journey to France, a trip many of us have made, but this time, I, for some reason, strangely feel slightly down about it all.

Homesick, some may say, maybe they’re right, but for those that know me (especially my parents) homesickness is one illness that I have rarely suffered from; not that I don’t miss my family and friends, but just I have always been too excited to be going elsewhere! Although through the years I have discovered that the odd phone call or email goes a very long!

So if not homesick, what can it be I hear you ask? Well the second thing people know about me, (ok well the third, the second being that I’m normally late) the third would be that I tend not to plan – anything.

So maybe it’s butterflies I’m feeling, a little apprehension as to what the next few months will bring.
Now this trip does have some vague structure to it, first a short trip down the west coast of France to Lacanau, to meet my Belgium twin Nico and work with him on a surf camp, with aspirations of taking my love of photography and turning it into, hopefully, a little cash, at least enough to survive. Then a possible road trip down the coast through Spain and Portugal and if finances allow into Morocco.
But to be honest I have no real idea how things will go, no trust fund to fall back on or great master plan in my head. Maybe I should as I rapidly approach the tender age of 30.

Many say I should get a proper job; come back to the real world! But the real world, with all its stresses and troubles, is what brought me here in the first place, and, I thank it, as even with the uncertainty and lack of stability, am generally as happy as I’ve ever been.

So to hell with the consequences.  Who knows what the future holds and quite frankly, who cares!
Clichés run through my mind at this point “best laid plans, fate, etc., etc. ”

But the truth of the matter is that neither I or anybody reading this really knows what tomorrow brings and if we did, well, wouldn’t that make life just a little boring. (Ok knowing the lottery numbers might not be so bad)

The future is the future, unwritten, blank, ready to be sculpted into, well, whatever we want it to be, and this is what makes us alive; dreams, aspirations of greatness, experiences both good and bad, yes seize the moment.  Ok I’m sure we’ve all heard this before, but how many of us actually do it? Life now seems to be about money, status, what we own, as if these things are what defines us, when it should be who we really are, the experiences we’ve shared, the good, and the bad, the ugly.  This is what makes people real.  This is what gives us substance.  This is what gives people meaning and purpose.

Now I find my thoughts racing; with a little more time, I’m convinced I could solve the meaning of life. However, that loud crackling noise drowning out my music and the hastily moving people, pushing and jostling for position, must mean that the captain has made his announcement and we have arrived in St Malo, France. I guess I should get up and take my place in the queue, umm no, I think I’ll enjoy my seat just a while longer and as I leave you to start my summer, wishing for fine weather, clean waves, fame and fortune, I ask you to think about your own lives, think back to those points in your past when you felt truly ALIVE, when your heart was racing, blood pumping, the hairs on the back of your neck stood on end.

These are the moments we should be living for; these are the true moments we should remember. So rather than just existing day to day, planning our lives away and missing those moments, why not try to live the lives we have, accept this gift, embrace it, and do whatever the f$%k you want with it.

But be alive whilst you’re doing it.