Ever since I was young I have always been fascinated by anything to do with exploring the ocean. Most of my Lego sets were some form of underwater base, I was in love with the Lotus that transformed into a sub from the old Bond films, and most of all I was in love with sharks. For years I firmly believed I was destined to become a marine biologist and spend my days adventuring under the waves.
Reality turned out to be quite the opposite and I ended up fulfilling my other dream job of become a 3D artist in the video game industry. A far cry from being out on the open seas on a daily basis, but pretty cool none the less. My interest in anything to do with sharks and underwater documentaries remained strong however, and learning to scuba dive was constantly at the top of my to do list. The unfortunate thing about to do lists is….90% of the time, they never get done. Those dreams often slip into the realms of “Oh, I’ll do it next year.” or “That’s going to be so cool someday!”
Cut to 2014 and I was growing restless with my sedentary lifestyle, spending 8+ hours a day staring at a screen. Around the start of the new year I began playing with an idea in my mind I coined “Project Lifestyle”. Basically, any opportunity that arose to do something amazing, exhilarating, out of the ordinary or interesting, I would force myself to do it. I felt the need to flesh myself out as a human being and make the most of my late 20’s. I was lacking life experiences and needed to break out of my shell. I learned to snowboard and pushed myself to go every weekend, quickly falling in love with it and using it as a way to get through the seemingly never ending Montreal winters. I taught myself how to DJ and spent the summer cranking out tunes on one of the best terraces in Montreal as the sun went down, another cool experience I only dreamed about before. I was becoming more outgoing.
But still in the back of my mind was scuba diving. My curiosity about what lay in the deep waiting for me was fired up every time I would see an episode of Planet Earth or chat with my friends about their experiences travelling about the globe, something else I had not done much of. Their stories of diving on a reef in Thailand or off the coast of BC always captured my attention. I had a severe case of wanderlust brewing within me and felt the need to get out there and explore for myself. I had done the typical all-inclusive experience in Cuba and the Dominican Republic, but that was it. I was hungry to get into the backpacker experience and travelling around diving in various parts of the globe seemed to fit the bill. I viewed it as an opportunity to join a cool community of like minded travelers and a fun way to quickly make some friends wherever I went. And most of all, I wanted to feel that rush of being a kid dreaming of underwater bases and deep sea expeditions to find whatever beasts were lurking down below.
About halfway through the year I was determined to get out into the world and managed to rope my best friend into the plans. He had gotten certified 10 years back but wanted to re-do it and when I brought up the idea of going to an exotic locale to do some diving he was in as soon as the words left my lips. After a bit of deliberation, we settled on Costa Rica. It seemed like a cool place, not too common of a travel destination, and somewhere that could offer adventure on land and sea. I was eager to avoid another tourist resort. We powered through the e-learning part of the course in a couple evenings before we left, looking to save time and not be stuck in a muggy classroom for an extra day.
A week later we were touching down in Costa Rica and I was stoked to get in the water and start diving to say the least. I didn’t know it at the time, but that trip would be the catalyst for a new major component of my life and end up leaving me to re-evaluate my current lifestyle. I was about to become a scuba diver after 27 years of dreaming about it.