When people say they want to ‘escape’, some think of snowy peaks, some of prancing around the woods at a festival, others of vast rolling mountains or bobbing around an ocean with no land in site…
I have been fortunate enough to experience all of these – although not so much the prancing one – and in my mind the latter always wins through. However true escapism, for me at least, isn’t complete without a few crucial ingredients; wind, a kite and a board.
Since I started kiteboarding I haven’t progressed a great deal although nothing gives me more pleasure than arriving at an empty beach, rigging the kite and taking that first step into the water with the wind itching to pull me into a different world.
Kitesurfing gives a sense of absolute control and absolute freedom. You are only constrained by you own ability and the willingness to try and break through to the next level is only impeded by yourself.
You are, of course, quickly bought back down to earth – literally and figuratively – when, on searching for that next level of adrenaline fueled escapism, your confidence over-extends itself and your little bubble is rather abruptly burst with limbs contorting in all imaginable directions. This, however, is how one improves and indeed it serves as a good means of taking ones mind off what ever one was escaping from in the first place.
“What bought this all on?” You might ask, and well you might… I have always found cities quite oppressive which is why perhaps I enjoyed my sailing career so much. This said Barcelona is different and generally speaking I am fairly at ease living here.
Yesterday however I did feel ready for a break from the city and as if Notus, the Greek God of the south wind, himself was listening, I checked the wind forecast and to my absolute delight the first afternoon in months of a puff of wind was that very day. That was all that I needed! I picked up my gear and skipped off, tail wagging, to Castelldefels.
I was the only one on the beach besides the lifeguard (an extremely reassuring presence!), who incidentally came up to rescue me to say that this was not a beach for beginners. I assured him that I was a ‘seasoned professional’, or at least this is how it came across in my best Spanish – I am not of course,and despite his skeptical look I proceeded to inflate my 13m kite as the 9m was struggling a little to pull me on my merry way. At this point ‘escapism’ wasn’t on my mind, no, I had to prove to the lifeguard that I was indeed capable, else he might refuse to let me out on my little quest.
One last thing I will say about this is that I have never come across anyone involved in kitesurfing who isn’t friendly. They might not be in their working environment, but as soon as they arrive at the beach and start pumping up their kites it is as if all burdens are lifted from their shoulders and nothing else matters besides the task at hand – the search for escapism!
People talk about escapism as if it’s a bad thing.. Once you’ve escaped, once you come back, the world is not the same as when you left it. You come back to it with skills, weapons, knowledge you didn’t have before. Then you are better equipped to deal with your current reality.