An Adventure Philosophy Post: Being and Doing

Today’s Music: Cab Calloway – (Hep hep) The Jumpin Jive

I’m a skier. Put me in a pair of boots that fit, drop me on skis (rentals are fine), and I’m all set.

El Guapo surveying his domain...

El Guapo surveying his domain…

I’m a rock climber. despite being in terrible shape, I can belay with the best of them, and keep your tail from hitting the ground if you come off the cliff. At the same time, I can find some way up the face and warn you if I’m not going to make it.
I’m a scuba diver. despite a depressingly low overall amount of time spent underwater, I’m conscientious with checking and donning my gear. I know how to not panic (trust me, it’s a hard won skill), and I pay close attention to where I am underwater.

Sadly, I’m not a surfer. Don’t get me wrong – I absolutely love surfing. I’m planning on putting on my wetsuit, strapping my board to the roof and diving in on 1 Jan, unless the weather is just horrible.
But when I get on a board, I’m just awful. I have no idea what to look for when catching a wave, and no feel for when to stand up on the board. The majority of my rides end with the nose of the board plowing into the water, and me shooting over it like Wile E Coyote in too many cartoons.
That’s fine. It’s still fun.

The pros got nothin on me.

The pros got nothin on me.

But that line – the difference between just doing something, and being something – is an important one for me. It’s about going beyond being a random participant, and breathing in everything you can about whatever it is.

When I learned to scuba dive, I read everything I could get my hands on. I would go into shops and handle equipment, studying different mounting options, handling features, options and tools. I would play with my depth tables (because some things are too important to leave to a computer), and occasionally wander around the house in flippers (Oh, like I’m the only one who does that).
Under water, I’ve gotten into some odd situations, and remembered that as long as I could breathe, I was still ok. Then, calmly, I figured out how to get out of them.
Scuba diving is also one of the few sports I’ve done where the training actually is helpful.
And thank god for that.

But a new year is right around the corner. And I plan to be in the water on the first, on my board. Maybe I’ll even graduate from a guy who has a surfboard to a full fledged surfer!

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108 responses to “An Adventure Philosophy Post: Being and Doing

  1. Happy to see a post from you :)

  2. I promise not to close my eyes when you write about surfing, Guap.

    Good to see you in my in box, pal!

  3. I’ll try and take some pics at Panorama next week. 5 days skiing at the 2nd highest elevation in North America.

  4. My son is an avid diver, he has made it his job:) you make me feel the need to get up off of my butt! Have a very Merry Christmas!

  5. Hola Guapo! We’ve missed you. I am petrified of scuba diving so it impresses me tremendously that you do it and do it well. Are you going to surf the polar plunge on the 1st?

  6. Have you thought of starting off paddleboarding to get your bearings?

    • I’ve gone paddleboarding a few times. It’s a lot of fun.
      Last time was in the lower Hudson river, against the current. Not for the faint of heart (or weak of limb – I was beat after 10 minutes of just holding my position.)

  7. I live an hour away from world class skiing, but I just can’t throw myself down a hill. However, now my kids are learning to snowboard and I am committed to being outside all winter, so if you can commit yourself to surfing, I will throw myself down a hill. Fist bump on doing all the things.

  8. i’m exhausted just reading about all this activity. rock on dude! and – continue…

  9. One day it will just click. You will feel it, and you will ride the waves all day. Have fun, El Guapo! I’ll be rooting for you.

  10. Seeing that picture makes me want to go skiing so badly… Only two months left and I’ll be running around in the snow :D.

    These sports you mention here – though I’m only a skier – are the kind of sports that make your head empty. At least, skiing does that to me. You’re just focusing on getting somewhere safely. There’s nothing else to worry about. Everything’s just snow.
    And that’s what I like so much about it…

    • I always look for a spot to stop when I’m skiing, then let all the other traffic pass.
      Nothing but me and the sounds of my breath and the tree branches creaking under the weight of snow and ice.
      That’s a big part of what I go for.

      Also, I saw deer from the lift this past weekend. That was pretty cool!

  11. You are the King of Adventure! …. and welcome back.

  12. El G…Have read your post [at least] three more times…’tis now seared in the memory bank. Life Lesson: stones and boulders are supposed to be “skipped” across waters unknown and untried, and never left to gather anything other than the freedom of the toss. Sending you part of my own personal cache…just so you never run short…

  13. you are a man of a many talents, El Guapo! Good luck your surf board.

    I’m with you on the skiing (but I never progressed past blue square trails) – but I’ll have to skip the climbing and SCUBA diving :) – I’m more of a bicycler and ice hockey player. I decided in my 30s to finally try learning how to play ice hockey b/c I LOVE ice skating and I always wanted to try hockey. I LOVED IT and spent all my time talking about to my poor husband (and anyone else that was in my general vicinity). It was amazing to find an activity that ignites a passion in you – I’d never had that happen before with ANYTHING (well, except reading and music – but in a different way). GO FORTH AND BE AMAZING, EL GUAPO!

  14. From the safety and comfort of my couch, I wish you the best in all of your adventures! Merry Christmas!

  15. If you can manage to “be” rather than simply “do,” then you are ahead of the game. It seems like it would be so simple, but actually being in the moment is a difficult state of mind to adopt. Good for you for being able to do so. And I admire your adventurous spirit. I also suspect you’re in better shape than you claim to be able to do all that!

    • I love that the focus required to do this stuff drives out all the stray thoughts in my head.
      I remember getting out of a hospital after a week stay once and just going climbing in upstate ny so I could clear my head.

      (It’s not good shape that lets me do this stuff. It’s ornery stubborness.) :D

      • I think one of my greatest times for being in the moment is when I’m at the height of a steep roller coaster, ready to make that first plunge. Pretty hard to not be living the ‘now’ at that time!

  16. I think it is cool that you do stuff… I should try doing more stuff… stuff is cool.

  17. Does your sweetie go diving with you? That’s like the one sport that scares me too much to try again (have once, that was enough). However, I commend your awareness and conscientiousness, it’s necessary in that sport. Tell us about some of the sticky situations you found yourself in!

    • She learned how to snorkel when we took our vacation. Up to then, she couldn’t get used to the snorkel tube, so maybe diving won’t be far behind…
      She did start learning to ski after we started going out, and she’s gotten pretty good, and she’s also come indoor rock climbing a bunch of times (and is probably better than me by now).
      but she also likes being warm and cozy, where I’d rather be hanging off the jagged edge of something, so we try and balance between the two.

      (I’m still trying to convince her to come skydiving.) :D

  18. You certainly are multi talented. I envy you your ability to scuba dive. I love the water. I have always been a water person. My first trip to Maui I decided to learn to scuba dive. I signed up for lessons and listened to every word my instructor said like it was gospel (it probably was). I practiced and practiced and practiced some more. I was quite comfortable with the whole thing. Days went by and I was anxious to get out of the practice pool and into the amazing ocean. The day came. I went in with my instructor at my side. It was amazing. I was in love with scuba diving. All of a sudden I couldn’t breath. I grabbed my coaches hand and he tried to figure out what was wrong. It got worse. I started to panic and signalled that I had to go up. We were in danger of sharks catching the scent of my instructors blood coming from the gouges I was leaving on his hand from my nails digging in.
    After causing quite the embarrassing scene as I was being hauled into the boat someone thought to ask if I have asthma, which my partner was happy to announce that I did. Apparently you are not supposed to scuba dive if you have asthma (something my doctor should have advised me of). I settled for snorkelling the rest of the trip.

  19. I love that you’ve written a post about what you’re not good at. Even though I couldn’t figure out what the pile of worms in the right corner of the first picture were, I love this post Looking forward to reading more about your personal adventures, successes, and dreams in the world of sport… human doing! Happy Holidays to you and your lucky girl, Guap! xx

    • WORMS?!? that’s my Flying Spaghetti Monster hat! I wear it with pride, both skiing, and on my morning commute.
      I could post twice a day for years if I listed all the things I’ve tried but wasn’t that good out. But there are some fun stories in there too….

      Happy holidays to you and yours (and your chickens too)!

  20. Guap!! Long time no see! Have fun surfing. Whether you’re good at it or not doesn’t matter. Whether you have fun or not is what matters.

  21. Go ypu/!! Great philosophy.. when I was younger there were so many things I wanted to do and try but I was afraid…of not being good enough of being one of those people who shouldn’t be doing that..of being made fun of..I thought everyone who the things that require skill..practice ..learning ,…knew them already amd if i didnt I wasn’t meant to… I don’t know why and wasn’t aware of what stopped me ..along withall the things you aren’t supposed to do by yourself…I.e. without a significant other ya know? But I know I lost a lot of adventures and learning and have lots to pack into this latterhalf of life. I,lm going to learn karate this year.. and visit every cool place in az. Learn photography and paint on real canvas and easel.. incidentally when i amt set on something ..I read everythuing I can find too :-). Hope you are well.. hi to TMWGITU :-)

    • You can do all that stuff, Lizzie! You already take great pics, imagine how they’ll look when you’re out in the scenic bits.

      A lot of this stuff I do is a direct reaction to the fear it causes me. But breaking a bone is a lot less painful to me (I’ve had a bunch of small breaks over the years) then not doing something for no good reason.

      I draw the line at ice-climbing though. that’s too far over the edge even for me.
      (Unless you know a really good teacher…)

      She says Hi.
      And stop hitting on my wife.

      • Imagine those sunsets with no cars in the way..hmmmm id say ice climbing is a good place to draw the line lol..too good teachers or any here in the desert but if I happen meet one..nah..too cold! Brrrr ice and snow are meamt to be slid down..thrown (well not ice maybe, all fun n games til whatever ya know? ) and built into stuff..climbing them is only good for a great Guapola story as far as I can surmise..;-) I will send you pics of the grand canyon from the middle of the glass floor if I can figure out a way to not throw up ..:-)

  22. Guap, babe, I have to hand it to you. You are tenacious as well as athletic. I’m lucky if I can keep a straight line on the gym treadmill.

    Best of luck with your New Year ambition. I think, given your attitude, you will indeed be upright on the board… but that last picture was priceless! Your surfing reminds me of my mood swings, LOL.

    Peace on earth, Amy

  23. Great photos,Guap. Good luck with the surfing. I’m sure you’ll master it, like with everything else you do. :)

  24. Love the motivation to master surfing! And I am way impressed at all your antics– I have never even attempted skiing but I’ve seen myself in ice skates… and living in cold weather in general and… I know it would not be pretty.
    Way jealous of the scuba diving though…

  25. If you’re a skier, you can become a boarder. If you’re a boarder, you can become a surfer. Simple as connecting the dots. =)

    • I tried snowboarding once.
      “Lets take a lesson”, I said.
      “Oh, we don’t need a lesson” she said.
      “Lets go on a short slope” I said.
      “No, lets go to the top!” she said.

      three hours later, we finally made it down.
      I don’t snowboard anymore.

  26. That is the best domain I have seen in a while – good luck on the surf front – you appear to be a natural springboard diver.

  27. The only surfing I do is on the net and besides the Zombies hate the water so I have to consider their needs, and brains is something that is required when surfing, scuba diving and rock climbing so those freaks would be terrible at it. I admire your enthusiasm for these sports, they are demanding yet incredibly satisfying for those that participate and I wish you very well for the surfing on the 1st of January.



    It won’t be easy but with your style and never-ending commitment I know that you will fall in the water more times than you can imagine, but perfect it you will and so, have a superb New Years Day surfing those waves :) :) I would join you but my surf board resembles a coffin lid and you know how difficult those are to slide off a good one, and another thing would you want to surf at midnight? NO… i didn’t think so :) lmao

    Have a ghoulishly enjoyable and inspiringly awesome Christmastime Guap :)


    • The first time I ever tried to surf (years ago) was at night after a hurricane.
      Where I learned that a wall of water is invisible against a dark sky.


  28. Awesome post, Guapo! I can so imagine you as a participant in life and not just a stand by and watch life go by kinda person! That’s why we love you and you rock!

  29. I think that’s so awesome you do all this stuff, Guap. I also wanted to scuba dive and have never done! I went snorkeling once and loved it. Well, if anyone can surf, I bet you can. The important thing is you try.

  30. I’ll go with “fewer stupid people.” ;)

  31. My last comment was meant for your previous post, but it jumped. :D

  32. Love your philosophy. Water (in its liquid form, not frozen) is just about the only medium where I’m not a complete klutz. Took surfing lessons a few years ago and loved it, never mind the fact that the combination of water and air made me look like a rodeo clown in a wetsuit. ENJOY!

  33. Oh I loved this post! People who have even one thing they are passionate about in their lives, I consider lucky. But you, Guapo, have many many passions. And that’s what makes you so interesting and fun. Well that and the fact that you hang out with George Clooney. Or wait did I dream that?

  34. Surfing is soooo hard! I tried to do it and I just ended up flailing around in the frothy white surf. So dumb. I would love to try scuba diving! I think I would really like it!

  35. Best of luck. Surfing has always evaded me as a skill too. I hope the waves and the weather cooperate with you on the 1st!

  36. I’ve awarded you the Blog of the Year Award 2013! (Forgive me if I’ve awarded you before and you declined, it’s hard to keep track of). There’s no obligation to accept, I understand completely if you don’t. Anyway, thanks for liking posts on my blog “The Journal of Wall Grimm.” I appreciate your coming by. For details about the award, please see my post Happy Holidays and have a peaceful and prosperous New Year! Sage

  37. Personally I like the way you surf…it has a certain…”Guapiness” about it.
    Happy Holidays and wishing you an early HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!

  38. Ah yes, Guaps! The ever elusive wave running – by surf board, boogie board or body surfing. The only time I ever tried this was in California where I tried body surfing. I caught what I thought was a good wave, but didn’t realize I was getting stuck in the undertow which towed me way out in the water, tumbling head over heels all the way. Then when I tried to surface I got caught in another way which brought me all the way back to shore. When I finally got my feet under me & stood up I was missing my bathing suit top which somehow got ripped off in all the swirling water. I was less mortified about nearly drowning than about losing my top!

  39. Wow! The first day of the New Year is gonna be exciting!!! :D
    It just sounds fun!

Ahem *best Ricky Ricardo voice* Babble-OOOoooo!!!

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