When I started at SUP Magazine I thought I would write, edit, cover some events and maybe travel. Simple, right? As I came to learn, being an editor is not so straightforward. The gig entails constantly shifting roles between being a writer, travel agent, mediator, salesman, digital media expert, cameraman, event coordinator, athlete and fixer.
In short, I learned by doing (which also happens to be my alma mater, Cal Poly’s, motto). That on-the-job environment meant learning fast and staying flexible. Fortunately, I’d spent much of my young life traveling. For me, the life skills learned during those experiences were as much a foundation for this job as any of my formal education (although that schoolin’ definitely taught me a thing or two—get that degree kids!).
At 18, I’d taken a year off school and traveled across the Pacific Ocean to chase surf in Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia. I’d just wanted to ride waves. That trip, howev- er, changed my entire worldview. My directional bearings gained new structure and I came to believe that experiences are more precious than things, that adventure can be found anywhere and that life should be lived, not just survived.
That excursion sent me on countless others, many for the very publication you’re holding now. Each hit those same larger notes, with each yielding countless new lessons. For the sake of expanding SUP’S boundaries, I’ve paddled a frigid trip in Scotland without any luggage, chased expedition paddlers as they circumnavigated Puerto Rico and tried to keep pace with the best paddlers in the world in Hawaii.
That’s what this, our Travel Issue, is all about: doing and learning, going on adventures and exploring what the world and its waters have to offer. Photographer and writer Ryan Salm and crew explored the Arctic Lofoten Archipelago in Norway by SUP, an adventure that was as dangerous as it was beautiful. You can read straight from Salm’s journal on p. 36. Montanan Noah Couser, his wife and two other couples left their home state’s mountains for the green cliffs of Kauai’s Nā Pali coast, where they paddled and camped at the feet of jagged valleys (p. 48). Our top contributors and editors answered the call for lessons from their trips, which include kidnappings, car crashes and, of course, overpacking. You can find those tall tales on p. 58.
I used to think the lessons I learned while traveling would only apply to my life on the road, that when I returned to the “real world” I would learn separate ones. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Travel has the power to change who you are and how you see the world. We hope this issue inspires you to get out there and explore the waters of the world—they will change your life.