Walking the Tightrope
by Alexa Francisco
Trip Log 4
Orange City, Florida
I have passed on surf trips galore over the past 2-ish weeks. Don't worry yourselves, I'm not sick. Admittedly and surprisingly, it’s been by choice. I’m way into work and there’s a whole hell of a lot I feel like I need to be doing right now if I’m going to tackle all of it someday.
But the city, man… You guys know how it is. A couple weeks of just that, for me, is more than enough to have me jonesing for any type of outdoor sesh.
So when Jon, my fungi-educating, granola-business-owning, badass adventure friend told me he had been working a lot as well and wanted to hit up the springs, I was more than ready. And I have been dying to water-test the hat I constructed with recycled cork instead of plastic for the brim so that was a bonus.
We met in Orlando at Downtown Credo (the best coffee shop ever) and jumped in the van. The jams were put on, the coffee was in hand, and as we took to the highway we eagerly exchanged stories of what we’ve been up to lately. Most of which were related to work.
In fact, there was mostly business talk till the van not-so-silently greeted the backroads. As the hustle and bustle of the highway faded away and was replaced with the sounds of crickets, birds, and the loud-ass rattle from my loose exhaust pipe, so faded away our hyperactive thoughts as the presentness took us over.
We arrived at the springs which were empty minus a few other morning divers and changed into our suits. The rest of our group was going to catch up later, and I got the feeling that there was something waiting for us in the water, so I quickly made my way to it.
We swam upstream to the spring head and found a tree sitting out of the water to warm up on.
Checking everything out from our vantage point, I couldn’t help but get all sorts of giddy as we spotted a big ole’ manatee and hopped back in the water for a swim sesh. I like to think that’s what I was on some level aware of when I made my mad dash for the water. It’s not an uncommon experience for the early-rising spring diver but no matter how many times you see it there will always be something so exciting about swimming around with the gentle giant that is the sea-cow.
I can assure you that at this point any remaining thoughts of work or city life had, naturally, completely left us. That massive underwater cow led us straight into the deepest depths of the moment and got us looking forward to whatever else the day had to offer. After following her downstream and completing submersion number 1 of the aforementioned hat Jon had since jacked from me, we took to the trails and he schooled me on all things fungi as he stopped to photograph certain mushrooms we spotted along the way.
I had to constantly pick my jaw up off the ground as I followed him around, watching him speak so clearly and passionately about mushrooms, photography, and how all of the fungi-walks and classes he’s been leading are consistently selling out. If you want a piece of that, check it out here.
Talk about being proud. There’s nothing more badass to me than seeing someone successfully merging the things they love most with work. And as he bent down to photograph some sandy mushrooms he wanted to identify later, wearing the first hat I constructed the week prior, I realized I was doing the same thing. As it turned out, neither of us needed a day where we completely blacklisted our work, we just wanted to infuse it with more play.
So the rest of the day we did what we do best- talk about the things that get us going while roaming nature’s playground. We swam back up to the spring head for more diving, met up with our other friends who were doing the same thing, and retired to the dirt where we continued those conversations while we stuffed our faces, stretched out, and played some guitar.
Then the only thing that could possibly make it better happened- we had met this couple up in the water and they joined us after they hopped out for some slacklining.
I’ve never tried it before, but it’s something I’ve been meaning to give a go for a hot minute now so I moved quickly to help one of our new friends, Louisa, set it up.
Obviously, we all laughed at ourselves as we clumsily fell off each side of the slackline. It wasn’t a big deal when we ate shit, it was fun, and even though we all eventually fell, we couldn’t wait to give it another go.
My philosophical brain was also having a good time. As someone who constantly sees massive life lessons playing themselves out in small-scale situations, I just sat in the dirt watching exactly that. And in-between turns on the slackline I arrived at some sort of concluding thought and that was this-
Losing balance every now and then is part of living a balanced life.
It has to be because remaining in a state of neutrality forever is impossible. You may be able to practice walking the tightrope for hours on end and get rather good at it, but, there’s no amount of practice that can keep a gust of wind from blowing you off the side. It allowed me to reflect more on the past couple weeks with a more open mind because I couldn’t tell if I was working too much, or, not enough, or if there was something I should be doing better to achieve the “ideal” work/play balance.
Before the trip to the springs, I fell off to one side and was consumed with all the work I wanted to do, and yes, I was tired. And maybe I could’ve used a break sooner? Who knows. But I was enjoying every minute of it and it all ended up being well worth the push. When the time came to take it all outside- I did. And it was way more beneficial for me than forcing myself to take a break when I didn’t really want to.
What would benefit you most?
Learning how to be more balanced, or, learning how to be more unbalanced?
by Alexa Francisco
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