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I’m coming home. Eventually. (updated)

May 7, 2010

Well, you might call this the announcement of my farewell tour.  I have officially accepted an offer of admission from Algonquin College.  Schools’ in come September.  *sigh*

It was a tougher decision than it probably should have been.  This was all part of the plan, after all.  The temptation to deviate was pretty intense.  At what point does scuba diving for a living on a tropical island become old?  I can’t say for sure but it’s on it’s way.  At least for this island anyway.  The problem is that since I’ve carved out a niche for myself on this island, my sense of urgency and drive is definitely on the low end of things.  Now that I’m quite settled and seem to be spending less than I’m earning from month to month I’ve slipped into autopilot.  The problem with autopilot is that it’s boring.  Even the most exotic routine becomes monotonous and I find myself with very little to do when I’m not in the water.  I think part of that has to do with this minimalist lifestyle.  It would be cool to sign up for some Muay Thai lessons but money comes and goes fast and I’d hate to find myself stressing about rent because of extracurriculars.  That and it’s too damn hot for that sort of thing.  So anyway, I feel myself stagnating and now looking more towards future plans.
I thought strongly about pursuing this diving racket for another year.  It’s tough hanging around all these people who, together have some of the most attractive diving tales to be heard.  Not only that but since I’ve been working out here, I can see much more clearly now what it would take in order to make that a reality and it’s certainly possible.  I had thought of candidates such as Australia, Egypt or possibly a budget destination in the Caribbean, ie. Honduras.  I was also interested in finding work on a live aboard, which is a serious diving expedition that sails to more remote diving destinations and usually lasts a number of days.  Either way, I would not expect to hang around Ko Tao for another season.  It’s killing my lifestyle.  On the other hand though, friends become family and I’ve met some of the coolest people of my life here.  I’ll be sad to go, no doubt about it.  All that aside, if I ever wanted to chase down other opportunities to make the most of my instructorship and diving career, now would be the unquestionably best time for all that.  I still haven’t seen a Manta Ray.

Now don’t take everything here too literally because this is one dimensional text, But.  I would say diving professionally is one of the most selfish lifestyles anyone could honestly take up.  It too often seems we serve to reward other people’s toils when they come on vacation.  Though you’re being paid to educate while you entertain, there’s little more to surrender than time and patience.  Of course there’s responsibility and risk – after all it’s breathing underwater.  Besides that there’s great gratification given from teaching someone something new and exciting.  There’s lots of work, patience and money involved in becoming an instructor, but at the same time it often seems a deep enough wallet would qualify a clown.  When you boil it all down, there’s one glaring reason for this exceptionally recreational lifestyle – diving is f*cking awesome and it beats a 9-5 any day.  All the same, the exotic novelty of diving on a tropical island seems to lose it’s luster after so long.  I think part of that is I’m not cut out for an indefinite tropical habitation – four season cycles really are nice.

If nothing else, the wheels fall off and my life goes totally awry, perhaps I can return to diving.  In the meantime, it’s not really contributing to where I see myself in 5, 10 years.  I hope to be a life-long diver but not likely a career diver.  It’s not particularly socially or environmentally promoting and I’ve found I’m a much less conscientious person of the effects of my lifestyle.  That needs to change.  But so marches on the nature of  the beast, Ko Tao.  Sure, this island is a strong tourist revenue stream because of the diving but I don’t feel like I’m contributing to anything beyond my own self serving needs.  And I don’t think that running to Australia to do it all over again is going to change that.  When I first came to Thailand everything was a challenge and an obstacle but like I said, the last little while autopilot is running the show.  Not to mention friends and family.  So therefore I have decided to stick to my original plan and to come home by August.  I can say with much more certainty that I’ve had my fun and met my goals and I’ll be ready to rock my Canadian lifestyle come the end of summer.

By the way, if anyone has any tips on renting in the Perth, Ontario neighbourhood, be sure to give me a shout.

nice to have that sorted. .

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2 Comments
  1. Looking forward to seeing you my friend. Let me know once your plans have firmed up a bit – we’ll have to arrange a pow wow of sorts.

    -Scott

  2. Maggie permalink

    Hey Ben,

    If you’re looking for a place to rent still, Wes and his girlfriend had a lot of luck on Kijiji. Worth taking a look at. Looking forward to seeing you! Enjoy the rest of your time!

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