Everyone has problems in life. It doesn’t matter if you are young or old, rich or poor. Well, the nature and severity of your problems may vary but everybody has to deal with some shit. Of course not having a place to stay or a way to satisfy your hunger would be significantly more important than “My daddy won’t buy me the iPhoneX!” type of problems. People think that if one day they ..magically get rich, then their problems will end. No not at all, they would just have to deal with different type of problems. After all, novels have taught us that money doesn’t bring happiness, does it? I hear you saying ” I would trade my poverty for money related problems in a blink of an eye”! Most people think like that and I can see why. It depends on one’s perception of happiness and success in life. I won’t say if I agree or not, my argument is that everybody has problems. The sad part of the story is that most people I know are always complaining about how hard their life is in the present, and they are always longing for better days to come or they are attached to a golden era in their past.

I hear you saying ” I would trade my poverty for money related problems in a blink of an eye”!

I believe that living is like swimming in the ocean. And it’s all about problem solving. From the moment we are born till the time our souls leave this world for better lands, we constantly have to deal with smaller or bigger problems. The waves in the ocean are eternal, they never stop coming to us. So, the waves are like life’s problems. They never end and as some of them are smaller, others are bigger and a few of them are huge, we have to find a way to deal with them while swimming into life’s huge ocean.

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Team Macao Beach!

The sad part of the story is that most people I know are always complaining about how hard their life is, and they are always longing for better days to come or they are attached to a golden era in their past.

But sometimes we are given the opportunity to forget our bigger problems for a little while and just enjoy life. So in my case, the end of July has found me in Macao, a cute little village in the heart of the Caribbean. If you want to spot Macao in the world map, you have to look for it on the east side of the island that is shared by Dominican Republic and their poor neighbor Haiti. Macao is really close to the popular region of Punta Cana which is famous for its all inclusive and extremely expensive resorts.

Fortunately I had found a really cheap but nice hostel, just 10 minute walk from the beach. When I arrived to Punta Cana’s airport, all the taxi drivers threw themselves on me offering ridiculous prices to get me to Macao, I mean 60 USD for a 30 kilometers ride in Dominican Republic doesn’t sound like a bargain. After negotiating for about 20 minutes I ended up paying 45 USD which is still crazy but travelling around the Central and South America for many months .. it is what it is!

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Trying to balance on the slackline

I arrived to Macao Beach Hostel at noon and was greeted by Aldo, a volunteer from Spain who was working-helping the owners at the moment. He showed me to my tent, yeah I opted for staying in a one person tent to save some money and most importantly have more privacy. That’s the funny story, I didn’t have high hopes regarding my social life in Macao. I just wanted a cheap, easy going place that is close to the beach where I could spend hours doing nothing, read a good book or write on my blog and focus on future plans.

We had such a good time in Macao. Days were really slow but time passed really quick. Good company, no WiFi access for 90% of the day, amazing food, lots of hours enjoying ourselves on the beach, what else can you ask for?

I know its a cliche but I do believe that the best things in life happen when you least expect them. And everything clicked into place from the very first night in Macao Beach Hostel. I love it when hostels have some kind of activities to bring guests together and, in a way, force them to get to know its other. That’s what happened in Macao: two times a day, most of the guests, join the table to share a meal provided by the hostel. That’s how I met with the group. The crazy but always smiling teacher from Spain, the Blues Brothers from Switzerland armed with a wicked sense of humor and gentle souls, the really sweet, fun and open minded boys and girls from the United States and last but not least the Ken doll from Germany :P.. all of them amazing people!

We had such a good time in Macao. Days were really slow but time passed by quickly. Mica, the French guy who was running the hostel at the time, made our evenings special by setting up slacklines on the beach. So, good company, no WiFi access for 90% of the day, amazing food, lots of hours enjoying ourselves on the beach, what else can you ask for? I loved the breakfast.. eggs, bread and fruits, then the endless hours on the beach, the stressful dilemma of picking the right restaurant to eat fish, the slackline practice in the evening and the endless unsuccessful tries to get Coconuts from the palm trees. I love places where I never have to wear shoes and Macao was a paradise to me.

My biggest problems ceased to exist for a few days while I was in Macao. I was on the beach most of the time, I had no WiFi there so all I had to worry about was what time to go surfing, how to crack open a coconut to drink its water or what type of fish to eat.

I love places where I never have to wear shoes and Macao was a paradise to me.

I was observing some girls that were playing with the waves for quite some time. It was fun for them but as the waves grew bigger they weren’t able to break through them. And then it got me. We don’t have to try to break the waves in our lives, probably we aren’t strong enough and eventually they will wear us out. Trying to avoid the waves is impossible, as they are everywhere. The only viable solution is to surf on them and I promise you, it is way more fun! Who doesn’t want to have fun living his/her life, right?

Back in Macao, there were a couple of surfing schools on the beach. So me, Cyril and Benny, my Swiss friends, decided to take advantage of our time on the beach and try to learn how to surf. We had to pay 40-50 USD to do the 2 hour classes and 20 USD just to rent the surfboard for the whole day and try our luck. We were completely amateurs when it comes to surfing but we opted for the second choice anyways, so we got ourselves 3 surfing boards and went for it. And God it was hard. There were a couple of experienced surfers in the water, so we tried to mimic them. We didn’t have another choice since we decided to do it without a teacher. Sometimes things are like that in life, Some people get a flying start, they come from a rich family or just from a western country and others aren’t that lucky. In both cases if you don’t want to get constantly hit by the waves, you have to learn how to surf.

Benny even was hit by a rock and was bleeding. But did these misfortunes stopped us? No, we kept trying!

In the beginning it was a pain in the ass. I was crashed by big waves a couple of times and I remember how I was trying to protect my head from the surfboard as the waves dragged me underwater and filled my swimsuit with little rocks. Benny even was hit by a rock and was bleeding. But did these misfortunes stopped us? No, we kept trying!

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This is what Dominican Republic is all about 1

Right next to us there was a couple of guys having a surfing class. The student was lying on the board waiting for the right wave and the teacher was in the water right next to him. When the wave finally came, the instructor started pushing the board towards the direction of the wave and when he let go the board had enough speed and the girl on it was able to find the balance, stand up and surf for several seconds. She looked so happy when she jumped on the board. I bet she really enjoyed surfing the waves for the first time, but she had a flying start. Now is this bad? Not necessarily, but it depends on how you want to achieve things.

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This is what Dominican Republic is all about

After laying down on the beach for half an hour to catch our breath, we went back in. With time and by observing other surfers we learned how to wait for the right wave and how to paddle to gain more speed. However, I wasn’t able to stand up on the board, even after numerous falls and liters of water swallowed. You have to paddle really hard to get enough speed but all this movement hurts your balance. So I figured that I had to follow a different strategy. If it wasn’t possible to stand up maybe I could surf on my knees. I tried it once and it worked! I was able to surf for several meters, feeling the power of the wave pushing me forward instead of crashing me for a change. Later, I tried to put my left foot on the board and kneel on the right one. A couple of times I succeeded but the majority of times I was underwater again. Finally, I got a really good wave! I started paddling like crazy when it got me, I stood up and surfed for one, two, three.. three and a half seconds before losing my balance and fell into the water again. Cyril and Benny had similar experiences as their were able to surf for a couple of seconds.

It took us several hours, way more than the two hour surfing lesson to be able to stand on the board for a few seconds. It was really great even for that really brief moment that I surfed the waves! Was I able to stand on the board for more time than the girl with the flying start? No, of course not! In addition, she was able to do it almost right away and it took us hours. But it felt so much better! That’s how we should deal with our problems in life. Find a way to surf on them and have a great time doing it. With or without a flying start. In the end of the day, the satisfaction you feel when you achieve something only relying on your own talent and powers is incomparable!

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