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Jumping into Play

by Hadley McClellan

Read more about Hadley's adventures at Hadley Does Not Break

When I moved to the other side of the equator nearly 10 years ago, I was so excited to see what life had in store for me once I arrived. Everything I knew no longer existed in my world. I didn't have my faithful fall backs, my home I bought, my friends I had known for years, hell, even my first (and truth be told, still my only) language. Everything was different and I was terrifyingly thrilled.

I jumped into the opportunity. I quickly signed up for things that seemed vaguely familiar, but with a twist.

Like a horseback ride, but through the Central Andes mountain range. And a hike, but through Andes terrain. I went to bars and ordered Piscolas, (pisco and coke) or Pisco Sours, unlike the usual of bourbon and ginger ale from before. It was all so new, the food, the people, the drinks, the hours of the day even felt different and with that I was hooked. I traveled on my own a lot of times from that point on. As you know from living at an Ashram in India to backpacking throughout South America. Diving into the unknown was my comfort zone. I became accustomed to saying when my comfort zone is no longer in the horizon, that's when I'm most alive. And after a while, I moved back to Texas. I wanted to be near family again, I wanted to go home. But that love of trying new things, that didn't stay in Chile. I packed that into the crate of things I had shipped back as well as clothing, paintings and knickknacks. The most important thing I brought back was my sense of adventure. Not long after I settled back in to life in Houston did the need to explore come back. I took a solo trip to Costa Rica and let go of some things I had been holding on to that were holding me back. One of those things was fear of judgement and fear of failure, I think that is common with a lot of us. After my trip to Costa Rica I decided that when I was back in Houston, I was going to try new things at home. I wasn't going to be complacent anymore and only leave my comfort zone when I traveled. I decided to try Stand Up Paddleboard Yoga after having only gotten on a paddleboard once in my life before. There was a local studio that offered SUP Yoga classes at a man made lake that hosted scuba diving lessons and triathlete practice grounds. I signed up, I didn't know a soul, and I went alone. I am okay doing things on my own, as you know, and I was okay trying this on my own too. I got on the board, hooked up to a buoy in the water and was instructed to get into downward facing dog. The board wobbled, the water rippled underneath, the sun was beating down on my back and my heart was pounding. "What if I fall in?" I thought to myself, "What if the other people here laugh?", "What if I suck?". These thoughts and more went through my mind in that first downward dog, but I was already on the water, I was hooked to the line and I wasn't going to paddle back to shore in defeat before trying. "Here I go!" I yelled at the top of my voice as I went tumbling in during my first attempt at Warrior One. When my head resurfaced all I heard was cheering and clapping and all I saw was my board and that not a soul was looking at me. Nobody cared how I looked on my board, hell, most of the people in the class didn't even know it was me who fell because they were so focused on staying on their own boards. I pulled myself back up, dripping wet and tried again. And again. And again. I was hooked. My comfort zone was on the shore, on solid ground, around people who knew me and loved me and encouraged me. And now I was floating on a paddleboard, away from shore, standing on my head, with people I didn't know around me who still encouraged me, because we were all out there trying something together. I never really travel alone, I am lucky to meet people a long the way. Some I remain friends with, some served a purpose and were there for a specific reason and a season. Once I attempted my first SUP yoga class, I kept going back, I signed up to get certified to teach it so I could share it with people too. And something happened along the way. I got a new family of yoga misfits. People who I met along the way, on this new adventure I went on by myself but continue traveling on together. I paddled away from what was my comfort zone, into the unknown and I try, I focus, I give it my all and when I know I have succeeded and done my best, is when I have jumped into the water, with water flying up into my nose and my body filling with joyful play. Trying new things, meeting new people, falling in, that's just life.


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