Learning to swim in Boracay, Philippines.

Life List #4: Learn to swim.

Learning to swim in Boracay, Philippines.

I’ve never really been a water person. Growing up, we had a pool in our backyard that largely went unused minus the times I would bungee jump my Barbies into it from my bedroom window. I quit my childhood swim lessons because I didn’t want to go. In high school I chose to play basketball (BASKETBALL!) over swimming for gym class because I hadn’t figured out how to use tampons yet (true story).

So swimming has just never been something I was comfortable with.

Sure I could doggy paddle and could do a standard whateverthehell it’s called type stroke. All with my neck craned and my head anything but submerged in water. But I’m the girl who always has to wear a life jacket in open water because she’s afraid she’ll drown, has no idea how to tread water, and has this problem where she forgets not to breath under water.

Swimming is one of those skills I always wanted to have. Especially since my life right now largely revolves around visiting beaches. And because I loved surfing and want to continue with that.

Boracay, The Philippines

One day, while chilling in my hostel in Boracay, Dom was perusing my life list after I showed her my website.

She determined that I had to knock something off of it right then and there.

And so, we went to the beach and headed out for a swim.

We spent some time that afternoon in the ocean. Learning the breast stroke. Learning to tread water. Learning how to hold my breath. Getting more comfortable with putting my head under water.

For the first time in my 31 years I was able to tread water.

Boracay, The Philippines

While I’m not going to be winning gold medals any time soon, and still need a lot more practice, I felt a lot more comfortable in the water after Dom spent some time with me. Now I just need to keep going, one stroke at a time.


Learn to swim was #4 on my life list.


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Hi, I'm Val. I spent most of my 20s in a standstill, unable to pick which path in life I wanted to take. I wanted the nomadic life of a traveler but also wanted the husband, the condo, and the kitten. Unable to decide which life I wanted more, I did nothing. When I turned 30 I’d had enough of putting my life on hold and decided to start “choosing my figs.” So, I quit my job, bought a one-way ticket to Europe, and traveled for three years. Now I'm back in Chicago, decorating my apartment in all the teal, petting my cats, and planning my next adventure.

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