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Out of Our Minds
Sunday, January 29, 2006 5:47 AM
Selling the Surfing Lifestyle
Evelyn Rodriguez on Passionate Work

His simple watersports storefront and surfer cafe have yet to be rebuilt, but that doesn't stop competition kite-surfer Chris Fernando from being confident that tourists will return by April and he can regain his foothold and 'grow back up slowly.'

I spent the better part of a long afternoon and early evening with Chris and some of his staff. Right through tea at sunset, which the Zanzibar native who is half-Sri Lankan explains is a Sri Lanka custom.

He has thoroughly sold me on the virtues of the surfer lifestyle. Although I think he was actually trying to sell me on kite-surfing lessons. Or, once he sensed I was a kindred spirit, a possible romance.

'Ten years ago women did not wear trousers in Sri Lanka.' (Yeah, I'm not wearing the traditional dress or skirt.)

Yet Western influences are changing Sri Lanka. He explains that people don't realize the trap they are falling right into. While a local skirt may cost 150 rupees, the Western-style trousers are 500 rupees. So they end up working longer hours just to obtain the desired fashions.

'I have easy life. When customers come, I teach. If no customers, I relax.' I wonder how he can say this with evident ease. After five hours, I've ascertained that his situation is precarious from any rational, analytical, balance sheet perspective.

But after five hours of conversation I've also ascertained he surfs life itself. And unlike many, he's seen enough of the world to actually know that he lives an enviable life.

'They have money,' says Chris of his foreign friends, mostly European, that come to Negombo to surf after they've amassed enough vacation time to head back to Sri Lanka, 'but they not free.'

(Adapted from my longer post.)


Evelyn Rodriguez - 1/29/2006 10:58:09 PM
Hi Jan, Thanks for sharing with everyone else. Yes I know that story very well. It came vividly to mind when I spoke with Chris. Actually Chris reminds me of many people I met in Thailand as well who have no quote ambition unquote as they explained to me. They are happy right now.
Janet Auty-Carlisle - 1/29/2006 1:40:03 PM
My son, who is quite good at living a life of his dreams, told me this story. I cannot quote it's source so, if somebody knows who it's from, please give credit where credit is due.

The story...

A man lived on a small island. He owned one boat and one fishing rod. He had a family. He was able to feed his family well with the fish he caught. He got up in the morning when he felt like it. He did not work too hard and was always able to enjoy meals at home and a daily siesta. He was a happy man and was well loved by his family and respected in the village.
One day a rich man arrived from another country and noticed the bounty the small fisherman had caught. So he says to him 'You know, you could catch more fish if you had more boats.' The local fisherman replies 'Why would I want more fish?'
'Well you could sell them to other people and make some money. But first, you would have to buy more boats, and hire other local people to work with you.'
'Why would I want to do that?' the local fisherman asks?
'So that you could have more money. Of course, you would have to put in longer hours each day and make sure the boats were working well and keep an eye on your employees.'
Again the man asks why he would want to work that way.
The newcomer replies 'If you work really hard and save all the money you earn you could retire early.'
'And what would I do when I retire?' asks the local villager.
'Why, you could get up when you want, go fishing only when you want, and spend your days with your family. You could have a daily siesta and enjoy your time here on earth...'

Who was the wiser one?

Living la vida fearless, Jan


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