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women's solo travel surf story

31 Aug 2016

Reclaiming Her Confidence – Colleen’s Solo Travel Story

It creeps in often without us knowing. Feelings of self-doubt, insecurity, and incompetence.

Regardless of our age, background or a lifetime of experience, it can be hard for a woman to have the strength and the will to stand alone.

But at some stage, there’s a calling within all of us to fulfill the need to be free. To know we are capable, self-sufficient and spontaneous outside of the other roles we play as wives, partners, mothers, daughters, sisters, friends.

To take on adventure, take risks, and rediscover ourselves.

And though finding this freedom can be a daunting feet, it is never too early or too late to be within our reach.

For many women, even travelling on their own can seem like an impossible task, too hard, to dangerous and too far out of our comfort zones.

But for those willing to rise to the challenge, like 50-year-old Surf Goddess Colleen Kobata, the rewards of choosing something as simple as the solo journey can be truly liberating.

Colleen has a beautiful warming presence, and nothing in her confident demeanor even hints that coming to Bali alone was a big step for this woman.

“It’s wonderful when you find a partner to share your life with, but I had lost myself a bit,” Colleen explains, after admitting that her husband, with his wonderful knack for all things travel, had taken the reins when it came to their trips overseas.

Somewhere along the line Colleen had also unknowingly, in some ways, begun taking a backseat in her own life.She quit her job to focus on being a mother, but soon after felt her self-reliance slowly diminishing.
Though she’d started surfing before she was 40, “life and a lack of confidence,” she says, “was keeping me out of the water more and more.”

But as her 50th birthday approached, Colleen was reminded of a promise she’d made herself a decade before.

She’d dreamt of taking her then little girl on a surfing retreat to mark the date.

“But as this birthday approached,” she says. “My daughter really showed no interest in surfing, and I really started to doubt whether I could travel all the way to Bali by myself and whether I could surf after a five year break.”

But something in Colleen refused to give up on the idea of a tropical escape to Bali.

Her first reaction was to have her husband organize the entire thing.

But when the process of finding cheap flights and scouring the web for the perfect itinerary began, Colleen realised she hadn’t done any of this by herself for 24 years.

And the thought was sobering.

“This is how I found myself stepping off an airplane in Singapore at 00:30am, the morning of my 50th birthday.”

“I spent three full days in Singapore riding the subway, walking its streets and enjoying their very diverse and accepting culture. I discovered the joy of setting my own pace and itinerary. I visited temples and wandered through gardens and explored things that my teenagers would have found “boring”.

“I rediscovered my self-reliance.”

A few days later she was in Bali. A country on the other side of the world and a million miles away from her reality at home, a glowing picture of health and wisdom sharing laughs with a table of equally incredible and yes, empowered women at Goddess Retreats.

She surfs again, for the first time in five years.

Despite the strong current, and the large waves she pushes through and is determined to get back into this beautiful thing which has given her so much joy.

“A friend of mine once teasingly ridiculed my change of preference for a bodyboard from my surfboard by telling me, “you need to evolve, just stand up,” Colleen recalls.

“Yesterday I surfed for the first time in five years. My body is older and has some injuries, I taught myself some horrible habits when I was surfing alone, but I was standing up and learning turns before the session was over.”

Reflecting on the retreat and looking forward to the journey ahead, Colleen recognises a very important part of what she has done by taking on the challenge of this adventure on her own.

“Traveling solo can be scary, she says, matter of factly, but not taking chances results in stagnation.”

And as she confides in us how important it was to surmount her challenges and find her self-confidence yet again, Colleen realizes the most important thing of all.

She has indeed evolved, she has stood up.

And there is no reason, dear Goddesses, why we can not follow in her footsteps and do the same.

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