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Surfing Soapbox: Traveling teaches truth about the world

May 26, 2011|By James Pribram

Life is just so precious.

Flying into Narita, Japan, I couldn't help but think of all those whose lives have literally been uprooted and washed over in the blink of an eye. An 8.9 earthquake followed by a tsunami. No one could have ever imagined such destruction. Nuclear power plants burning and spewing radioactive water back into our oceans.

It all seemed so surreal to me, but I knew somewhere below on the ground there was a lot of suffering and part of me wished that I could get off the plane and go help.

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Part of me still wants to.

I know from all of my travels, seeing the good and bad, the living and the dead, the rich and the poor, there's part of me that will never be the same. Sometimes there is no lonelier feeling than walking alone in a foreign country and realizing just how big the world is outside of Laguna Beach.

My dad has always told me that there is no greater education in life than that of traveling. Words are hard to come by. You soon realize just how different the rest of the world is, even in the smallest ways, but also in ways that you could have never imagined.

The gift of a hot meal no matter what it might be, clean water to drink and going to sleep with a roof over your head, all are appreciated.

A special thanks goes to Jon Rose of Waves for Water for jumping in the trenches and bringing clean water to those in desperate need around world. There's nothing more heartbreaking than seeing a little boy sleeping on the sidewalk, but I have seen it.

A good friend of mine said recently that some of the best advice he ever received was that if you're going to be against something, be against something of consequence like famine, racism or violence, but not of one's success or the way that they look.

Life is short; don't hate.

JAMES PRIBRAM is a Laguna Beach native, professional surfer and John Kelly Environmental Award winner. He can be reached at Jamo@Aloha SchoolofSurfing.com.

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