A birthday paddle to remember

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Shot with Go Pro - courtesy of Liquid Stand Up Paddle Board, LLC. - the gift of travel

I’ve always loved birthdays. They’re that one special day of the year when people do their best to remember to tell you that you matter to them and that they’re glad you’re in their life. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you even wind up with sparkles or chocolate as part of the day. I remember gymnastics parties, backyard bashes and trying my hand at cupcake making where the best part was licking the icing off of my fingers. Often around Labour Day, my birthday sits smack in the middle of camp ending and school beginning each year. I turned eighteen my first week of university and the few friends I had just made did their best to make it a spectacular event. Last year, this new decade began with a morning yoga class, chips and chocolate cake on the beach and a day spent outside on a Maldivian island. As always for me, experiences are the best gifts. I have always loved birthdays.

A Birthday lesson - the gift of travel

With a new decade brings new adventures. A road trip across my home country, a first Segway ride, multiple hikes and to take advantage of the water and sand culture of San Diego – my first stand up paddle board lesson. Now, I know, many of you would rent a board, hop on and give it a whirl, right? I thought the same, but felt I might be a bit more comfortable with a lesson first and then if for some miraculous possibility I remained dry – we’d rent boards on our own the next time.

Paddle boarding lesson - Kellogg Beach, Point Loma - the gift of travel

A bit or research, an email, a phone call and I was set. Mat and I met Alex from Liquid Stand Up Paddle Board, LLC at Kellogg Beach in Point Loma. Mat and I hadn’t yet set foot in this area of town and instantly knew we’d return. Perfect for a relaxing evening picnic or morning yoga, this small stretch of sand leads to a boat-filled marina and out into open water. Quick land instruction (with surprisingly a life jacket that would actually fit my 4’11 frame if necessary), paddle holding direction and in the water we went. Alex had a small intro course all set up nearby the shoreline. We zigged and zagged and changed direction on knees a few times and then it was time to rise. With a quick breath and a nudge to my yogi balance, I was up. In and out of the cones a few times with my feet on the board and paddle in hand and we were ready to explore outside of the course cones.

Paddle Boarding lesson - San Diego - the gift of travel

In an almost two hour lesson, Alex and I went on to journey through the marina. We chatted about life in San Diego, travel, jobs, choices and helping the planet. A side gig to his special operations career in the military, Alex has helped many learn to love the paddle-board. Up and back a few times we paddled and after picking out our favourite boats in the bunch, we headed back to shore. I was happy and dry. What a way to start a birthday!

Birthday beginnings, California - the gift of travel

The whole weekend was filled with birthday madness. Cupcakes with friends, birthday balloons, messages from around the world, my favourite foods and time spent with loved ones. The rest of the day continued to be perfect. Sand, sun and sea were the words of the day coupled with chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate and it ended with fireworks over San Diego bay. Big thanks to the husband for capturing the entire paddle board session. The minute my feet jumped off the board and landed on the sand I was already looking forward to the next time I could get back on the board. I love birthdays!

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