It’s the end of 2018. We’ve had one of the hottest summers in London in over ten years. It’s been lovely, but I cannot wait to leave. This was way bigger than going on a trip and come back to ordinary life. This was my way of pulling myself up by the roots so that I could plant myself somewhere else. My future wasn’t in London.
The execution had been done many times before, but never quite with the urgency I was feeling this time. Stash my belongings in my trusted storage room in North Acton, and leave for Brazil followed by South East Asia. Once back - right, there was no coming back. As a matter of fact, coming back to London was never part of the plan. Coming back to Europe was still plausible. Where in Europe I would land was still TBC.
One thing is for sure - when you’re constantly on the move, traveling by means of plane, bus, car, or tuktuk, it helps if you’ve minimised your luggage to the bare minimum. I’m a freaking son of a legend when it comes to travelling light. But it doesn’t look that way when you see me coming along with my luggage. Because I love kiteboarding and I can't help but dragging my equipment with me wherever I go.
Thank god for kite split boards though. This seriously made my life on the road a lot easier.
Kites can be vacuum packed, but boards are traditionally tricky to pack compact. But mine folds in two. Two kites, one bar, one split board, harness and pump. My laptop and camera. All in one wheeled duffel. Add a pair of Havaianas, two pairs of board shorts and a T-shirt and I was ready for five months of travel.
The coastline of North Brazil is probably as good as it gets for us kitesurfers. Here you can satisfy any discipline while enjoying the Brazilian vibes and weather. It’s decently cheap too. Once you land in Fortaleza you have so many options where to go next that it can be a bit daunting. Having a plan figured out in advance helps.
Our plan was to pick up a 4x4 and drive up the coast all the way to the most Northern spot - Atins, while making as many stops as possible along the way. Nothing was booked in advance, all we had to be aware of was our flight out of the country two weeks later.
With a driver we picked up in Cumbuco (or to be honest, we probably got picked up by him) we followed the coastline literally on the hard packed sand on the beach, mile after mile. We were doing downwinders stopping at some epic lagoon spots while he followed us in the pickup.
At night we would stay in guesthouses, or posadas as they are called, conked out after a full day of riding. In the mornings we would wake up, shake the soreness out of our muscles and stuff ourselves with some amazing breakfasts including fresh fruit, cakes and very strong coffee.
If you want the whole package, Brazil is sure to deliver pretty much anywhere between July and December.
Kitesurf gear is really expensive there due to the high import taxes, so if you have anything to spare at the end of your trip, a donation to the locals will be highly appreciated.
As the Brazilian season tails off, the South East Asian season kicks in. While traveling East, starting in Thailand, I was living the typical digital nomad life, balancing work, kitesurfing and experiencing new places and cultures. This was the first time I was properly moving from one location to another with only a few weeks in each place. It can be tiring, but if you’ve ever had a curiosity for this lifestyle I can fully recommend it. In the end we only regret the things we didn’t do. Life is ours to be experienced by trial and error. This is how we grow. I can throw cliche quotes to you all day long, but you already know this.
From a windless but beautiful Thailand (lesson learned: Thailand works best in spring) I headed North East to Cambodia. Definitely not well know for kitesurfing, but in fact you can kite here both in summer and winter. The spot is called Kampot and is still very under-developed. Give it a few years and this could bloom into something. The conditions and potential are there as long as people find out.
Kampot is only an hour away from Vietnam, so it made sense to carry on across the border and into this elongated country. As beautiful and exotic all parts of Vietnam are, I was mainly drawn to the South Eastern coast for the superb kitesurf conditions. I spend over a month here, riding both the established Mui Ne, and the more recently developed Phan Rang.
Both amazing place in the own right.
For three weeks I slept right on the spot on My Hoa lagoon, living the perfect kite-eat-sleep-repeat life.
I would clock a few hours of work in-between sessions, but the cost of living is so low here that you really don’t need much income to sustain this life.
For my next spot I chose one of the remote islands in Palawan, Philippines. This region is perfect for kitesurfing in February and I had high hopes for what turned out to be my final destination before heading back to Europe.
Cuyo is as remote as it gets. If you’re looking for the basic life without all the bells and whistles of modern society, this is a good option. Just getting there is an adventure on its own, with slow and irregular ferries offering plenty of mindfulness while you’re at sea for days on end. The kitesurfing here is serene though. You can ride inside or outside the reef and play in the clear water well into sunset. The only downsides are the tide dependant spot and sea urchins scattered about.
You can carry on with the nomad life forever. For some this is the way of living. For me it was something I wanted to try, but as a rootless soul, the complete lack of roots can be just as stressful as planting your roots before you’re ready.
It’s hard to progress some aspects of your life if you’re constantly moving. And I was starting to feel ready. The next chapter is called ‘Finding a place for your roots’. Stay tuned and continue the adventure on globalkitespots.com.