It’s been just over 1 year (1st August) since we up rooted our selves from a settled life in Chamonix and moved about as far across France as you can get to the West Coast, Surf central, Biarritz.
Our decision to move seemed somewhat rash, hasty (but exciting) at the time, but in reality, underground I guess it was a long time coming.
It seems strange that when looking at our life in Chamonix, where we pretty much had everything you could possibly want, that you’d feel the desire to move on, but after over 20 years in one valley with your life totally defined by the mountains that you love there grows a search for change.
I’ve been working and riding Mountains for 30+ years, I moved to the Alps in 87 and never went back.
My life has been guided and defined by the mountains in which I Guide.
Ruth and myself grew there together, we grew our family there, the ‘McNab’ family home, the whole package and we loved living there.
But there comes a time for change, there grows a need for something else and whilst our lives in Chamonix seemed complete they’d maybe also become confined and maybe even predictable. It felt like we had, maybe, achieved our goals and the search for new ones was incremental, more a path of maintenance than inspiration.
The need for something new was definitely growing, it just needed a push in the right direction and the need to go Surfing was getting to strong to ignore!
At the end of another long winter of great riding but difficult snow conditions and weird weather we sat down for a chat about our future plans.
Now Ruth and myself have never been the sort to make long term plans and so now as we sat down to talk through possible future scenarios in the valley, the one thing that became apparent was that, although we’d never really talked about it before, we both felt the push towards the exit door was coming.
It came as a surprise, one minute we were talking through a 10 plan involving developing a chalet plot in the garden, the next we were packing the girls and the dog into the van to go check out a new life in the Surf.
The trip was great, the decision was made and one week later we were gone.
Moving your life is not the easiest thing to do, especially when you’re leaving one that seemed so perfect, and for sure there were many, ‘OMG what have we done/‘ moments along the way. But sometimes change is good and working your way through new scenarios helps you grow and develop and that is what I feel like we have all done here since our move to the beach.
Ironically, Ruth and the Girls have all started Climbing since leaving the climbing capital of Europe. They now climb 3 to 4 times a week at the local bouldering wall, if not more!
I try to get in the Surf at least once a day and often double that up with the family climbing session.
Again, Ironically, I also now feel stronger and more inspired to climb than I have for many years!
I’m slowly getting used to living in a town, rather than a mountain village, we have the forests of les Landes and the sea as our back drop, the mountains of the Pyrenees a short drive away and a sky open from Sunrise to Sunset with no constraints.
I feel inspired!
I still work in the mountains and I still love the mountains.
As soon as I set foot on the summer trails, heading towards a distant peak, or grab my board in hand, feeling the crunch of the cold snow under foot, I feel completely at home.
But now, I also feel the sand under my bare feet, I wake to not only study the movement and effect of the wind on the snowy mountain peaks above, but also to study the wind on the ocean peaks, the movement of the swell, the drift, pull and push of the ocean as it breathes and once again I am constantly immersed in learning.
I feel inspired!
With Snowboarding no longer on my doorstep, so to speak, I feel more inspired to ride than ever before.
Surfing also inspires me to ride, as my surfing improves, so does my Snowboarding.
The way I look at the terrain is now influenced by the way I see the waves. To me, snowboarding has always been about the turn, the carve on the bank, the slash on the lip.
The mountain is my wave, always has been, but now my inspiration is doubled, tripled… I am enveloped by and immersed in the feeling of and the need to ride.
It took a change to do this. I feel like moving away from the mountains makes me kind of see them again.
I wake excited to Surf the ocean and the mountain and this is how it should be…
The Autumn swells are growing and the winter snows are coming…
I feel inspired!