11 Reasons Why You Need To Go Scuba Diving
…Cause 10 Ain’t Enough
A few mornings ago, my Facebook newsfeed greeted me with an article titled ‘The Science Of Why You Should Spend Your Money On Experiences, Not Things.’ I had just finished my 3-minute morning routine by completing the 5 steps to having a happier and more productive day and was still in bed, my feet curled beneath my duvet, sipping on my morning coffee. I pored over the article, iPhone and coffee in hand and reminisced about my recent vacation when I got SSI (Scuba Schools International) certified.
Dr. Thomas Gilovich, a psychology professor at Cornell University, has been conducting research on the link between money and happiness for over two decades. In the article Gilovich says, “Our experiences are a bigger part of ourselves than our material goods. You can really like your material stuff. You can even think that part of your identity is connected to those things, but nonetheless they remain separate from you. In contrast, your experiences really are part of you. We are the sum total of our experiences.”
Essentially, Gilovich says, spend your saving-for-some-Chanel fund on some live-love-laugh, and I couldn’t agree more. Of course, I like me some Chanel, and I love me some Celine, but if I had to choose between the designer Cs’ and diving in the deep blue seas, I’d pick days of diving- yes please!
Here’s why (in no particular order):
11. It’s a meditational experience:
Imagine this- a gloriously vast expanse, no sounds except that of your own breathing, magnificent sights, no technology crowding our somewhat-dead-existence and nowhere to go except forward. Your thoughts are free of mundane reality, and all you can focus on is the beautiful present requesting to be explored.
My post-dive consciousness ran parallel to the calm that overcomes me after a session of traditional meditation; because not only was I aware of my breathing while diving but also, my mind and body were harmoniously existing in unison.
10. Discover the unknown:
The ocean covers 71% of the earth’s surface, which means that if you want to ‘travel the world’ you need to go diving. There is an entire world with its own species, communities and way of life waiting to be discovered, while we are stuck in 29% of a larger reality. We need to stop being comfortable with what we know and are accustomed to, and expand our horizons to discover the unknown. The universe has given us enough lemons; more people need to wake up and squeeze the juice.
(On a side note, did you know that I use lemons as deodorant?)
9. See things you cannot imagine exist:
Colors you have seen only in a Pantone guide will be alive in front of your eyes. Patterns that even Missoni hasn’t dreamed up will be all around you. Species of fish you’ve only seen in documentaries will be swimming alongside you. And, suddenly, *POP* goes your ego as the colossal corals urge you to see how small you really are.
8. Protect marine life:
By choosing to dive into open waters, you are actively doing your part in preventing marine life being kept captive. Besides, once underwater, the sights that you witness will sensitize you toward protecting marine life and you will become more aware of the harm that our inhumane actions cause.
7. Understand the meaning of living in harmony:
The fish that swims alongside you will make you feel comfortable in a world that is alien to yours. He will accept you, as long as you don’t harm him or his friends.
There are no battles to be won, or wars to be fought, or religions to divide, or borders to falsely protect, or stereotypes to subscribe to, or bullets to kill with, or taxpayers to exploit, or politicians to bribe, or egos to feed. What nature has offered down under is purely peace.
6. Test your physical capabilities:
In addition to being a mentally calming and emotionally fulfilling experience, scuba diving is also physically challenging. It requires you to be healthy and fit (to a certain extent), so that you can swim for lengths at a time whilst carrying a tank on your back (you won’t feel the weight of the equipment underwater). I assure you; even if you are tired you will want to keep going. It is the most breathtaking workout imaginable.
5. Requires no prior experience:
The only prior skills you need are being able to swim and breathe. You don’t have to be an expert swimmer. As long as you are comfortable in water and can ‘scissor’ your legs, you’re good to go.
4. Make new friends:
Most divers and scuba instructors are very interesting. You want to be their friend! You want to hear and be inspired by their stories- the places they have been, the marine life they have seen, and how they got to where they are. Also, you don’t necessarily have to sign up for a dive with friends or family; most dives are conducted in small groups so you will definitely meet new people who are literally in the same boat as you are.
3. A hobby to bond over:
When I went diving, I met a Swedish couple that has been married for over 25 years and have been diving together for 21 years. They told us how diving together has been an activity that brings them closer and strengthens their relationship, as it is another shared interest to bond over. Besides after every dive, you get to share what you saw down under and have the comfort of knowing that your partner is smiling for the same reason you are.
2. Ignite your imagination:
While I was diving, I saw a tiny fish rushing off somewhere. I began wondering where that fish was going and if it was late for something. When I hovered over a coral, I noticed all the little colonies built into it. I began imagining an apartment complex without doors, as schools of fish entered and exited the coral. When I saw a big fish being tickled by a few Garra rufa (the fish that give you a pedicure), I began imagining the big fish requesting the Garra rufa to exfoliate its body as if in a spa.
1. Sounds so damn cool:
How many people can call themselves certified divers? It makes you feel like you are part of a secret society, even though your secret is not really a secret. The point is, this ‘secret society’ is looking for new members and all you need on your application is the desire to live, love and laugh.
Ed note: I completed the SSI Open Water Diver certification with Roctopus Dive school, located in Koh Tao, Thailand. I highly recommend this dive school for their professionalism, attention to detail, safety measures, friendly staff, fluency in English and competitive pricing.
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