With Me Always


I am thinking of adventure – on the heels of my house work – on the heels of my daughter’s passing.

I haven’t been writing like I would have wanted to. I’ve had plenty to say and an over flow of thoughts and opinions, but prudence held me back. There’s much sensitivity out there; sadness and anger.

I don’t want to stir the pot.

I write to make sense of my life, which now includes my daughter’s death. It’s been hard. None of it seemed real. Then it seemed real and then it didn’t seem real.

So, I will work. I will clean my house. And I will plan my new adventure. My daughter will be with me always.

You’re Going to Die!!!!!!!!!

Yes and No

We are born, to soon learn, that we are going to die.

I really don’t know about other people’s inner lives. Communication has a way of drifting. It’s ethereal. And yet, it’s can be heavy, as a tombstone. An albatross. A spirit of unrelenting fear. Or, it can be as equally uplifting as a hot air balloon. Raising you above, to elevate you, and present a wide angle view. A unique and exhilarating vista.

I have experienced both.

I am a part of humanity. I accept it. I surrender. I give in.

But when other people share with me their optical illusion of life, such as; Continue reading You’re Going to Die!!!!!!!!!


To date, I have not given in to relying on a GPS.

They have taken the fun out of travel and adventure. No one knows how to give directions anymore. The serendipitous moments, meeting people on the road, to gather information is history.

And it’s strange how this technological phenomenon occurred so quickly.

As a whole, humanity is one step closer to being LOST.


A Turtle~An Earthquake~and A Wolf at My Door

I’ve recently arrived home from a short road trip.

In Costa Rica, it’s best to be prepared for the unexpected. On the second leg of my journey; the first being a trip to Parrita,  I found myself spending the night, at a favorite haunt. An old style Tico palapa, right on the beach. It’s a gathering place for turtle lovers. We share meals there and swap stories. Continue reading A Turtle~An Earthquake~and A Wolf at My Door

Surf Camp Summer


I recently had the opportunity to work with Chris, Nick Isabella, Bradley Dunham, Skyler DeBerry and Jarrod Kaylor. Secondhand Surf Photography sold packages to the surf camp kids. Chris Igou was the leader and he did a great job. We all put so much energy into those kids. To see kids catching their first wave, skim boarding and body surfing; it was a very rewarding experience.

It wasn’t like this in 1966 ~ I can remember dragging my forty pound Rick Noserider to the beach and getting slam dunked repeatedly. Trying to catch a wave. Pearling. The board would spin and knock me upside my head. But I always had to act like, yeah, “I’m OK”-“I’m OK”. Not that anyone was even looking. There was hardly anyone on the beach back in those days. My skim board was as tall as I was. I would repeatedly kick and ride all the way to the pier, then turn around and come back. Day after day.


This is Bradley.

1011687_412084655571749_700160727_nThis is Jarrod surfing on a boogie board. Wow, what a great day that was.

1005892_417213278392220_1890476675_nThis is Skyler kicking up a little spray on a small wave day.1001850_538277279552868_841160737_nAnd Waterman~Nick Isabella

Recently Chris posted this to his Facebook Page

7 days until my first trip to Nicaragua and I couldn’t be more excited and anxious! I have been doing summer surf camp with pipeline surf shop for the past 7 weeks and have one week left. It has been so amazing teaching kids how to surf and to see how much joy they get out of it. That’s it. That is what it’s all about. The moment of joy that comes every so often. The feeling that gives you the highest level of pure and honest joy! People forget often about that feeling when they get older by letting little bad moments pile up which over shadow the good! My goal is to push myself as I get older to never let go of those moments and always live for the ones to come that lighten up your spirit. I am 21 right now and if I had one piece of advice to give it would be to not let those moments of joy pass so easily and do so by taking them in and enjoy every second of it! 

Now it’s 3 days away, and with the exception of Nick, we’re all headed to Nicaragua. I too, am so excited. I am going to be able to hone my photography skills and do some videography. I’ve trekked through the beaches of Central America for twenty years and all of my photos have been done with a Polaroid, held together by rubber bands, or my old Kodak that died after fifteen years of hard labor, or my Canon point and shoot that bit the dust after dropping it too many times. I am well on the backside of fifty and feel exactly like Chris described. Surfing captured my heart from the very beginning.

They are going to be throwing so much spray! I can’t wait!

Smoke Stacks, Tea, and the Pan American Highway

IMG_1245I live in a cute house, on a pretty island.

I just keep going from day-to-day, doing the right thing, taking bad pictures, throwing away hundreds and losing thousands.

I lost my photo library the other day.

I told myself, don’t panic. It’s just another tech hoop to jump through.

It’s spring and this is the time, every year, that I start dreaming, even more than usual. I see myself in exotic places. I hear myself saying things like, I know I can go around the world, on very little money, and have a great time!

My imagination becomes fueled, by the scenery projected through television and movies. There’s so many places to see and so little time.

My mind replays days of crossing the Sierras and passing through miles of uninhabited beaches along the Pan American Highway. I’ll never forget the daunting look of the Chiapas, the cobblestone streets of Antigua.

Yesterday, I read in Surf Travel magazine, that few people have the guts, (they used other anatomical parts) to do a road trip. And I agree with them. But I’m not one of those people. I’ve always loved to go. It makes me feel alive. I’ve never been in touch with what makes someone do the same thing, over and over, every day. It has little appeal to me.

The picture above is of our local marina. It’s not a great pic, but you get the point. In the back, on the left you will see the ever-burning smoke stacks of a paper mill. It roars like a dragon. If you were to turn north, from that vantage point, your view would be marred by yet, another mill, spitting and firing.

So, I call all elves and dwarves.

As I sit by the fire of my humble abode, I know, it’s only a matter of time.

I will trade the comfort of my afternoon tea,  for the precarious experiences of the trail .

“How we live seems more crucial than why.”

Shawn Messer

This is a pictureless post.

It’s about an old friend, Shawn Messer, may he rest in peace.

If you’re from Fernandina and you die, chances are you’re going to be cremated or buried at Bosque Bello Cemetery. The funeral homes are still-somewhat-segregated, and if you are white, Oxley Heard are the lucky caretakers of your last ride, your bon voyage.

The gathering for Shawn’s dismissal was overwhelming. The small, quaint chapel was filled with attractive, young people; mostly surfers. My strongest memory of that day were the sunglasses. Everyone had on sunglasses. Having recently purchased a pair of Oakley’s, for one hundred and ten dollars, I was counting the money involved. That’s a miserable, throwback from my days as a professional buyer.

Shawn was killed in an auto accident on a dirt road somewhere in Costa Rica. I don’t know where he was going, but I know that he had been at the Mono Congo Lodge, near Playa Negra. He was escorting a mother and daughter from Texas, showing them the country. Those were the days. Back then there were no road signs and few tourists. Only the most adventurous souls were here. The days were filled with empty beaches, waterfalls and solitary sunsets. Any traveler’s dream would be to hook up with someone like Shawn and claim their ticket to paradise.

He had been successful back in the states. He was a builder, landing contracts, on our booming island. He was one good looking man. He bought himself a red corvette, pulled his long dark hair back in a pony tail and hit the town. He was a stand out.

In his bathing suit he looked like Tarzan. He was buff and had a beaming smile.

The real thing about Shawn was ~ he was nice!

I just love people like that. He didn’t have a mean bone in his body.

My husband and I had planned to come down and let him guide us around. We were going to pay him to take us to the breaks. Why not?

I’ve often thought about that trip that never was.

Making my way here on my own wasn’t easy. I would go into the one and only local surf shop back then and ask questions about Costa Rica. They would blow me off and tell me to read a magazine. So, I did. I hooked up with Surf Express, my first few trips, and began to find my way around.

It came to light, how jealous Shawn’s “friends” were of his new life. How they offered him no support. How they wanted to just come down and sponge. Hey, what are “friends” for?  That was another thought on my mind that day, sitting amongst that sea of death and beauty. The words that I had overheard. People degrading Shawn for his lifestyle choice. It had the ring of sour grapes to me. So many people want to live an adventure, but they just don’t have the guts.

Shawn Messer was a pioneer. A modern day Daniel Boone. He unwittingly paved the way for others.

He was my hero.

Long live Shawn Messer. May you be riding the big wave, in the sky. I know that you’re of the soul ~ embraced by the best of the big wave riders.

We are only here on this earth for a short time.

Do we want to be remembered as a mean spirited individual, or a loving aloha, pure vida surfer, secure in our place on the earth and in the heavens.

We could all learn a lesson from the beam of light, that was Shawn’s life.

In Memory of Shawn Messier


100_0253Most people who like Mexico or read travel magazines, are going to be familiar with this famous spot. This is the point at Cabo San Lucas. It is the tip of the Baja California Sur. It’s a hot spot, destination for those that want to get away100_0264This is Lovers Beach. I took this photo, knowing, I would want to tell this story. It was shocking for me to see these people piled up like this. But really, I don’t know why. That’s just what people do. My friend and I bought tickets on a boat to ferry us over. This is NOT what I would do left on my own.100_0270This is me on the other side of the rocks, away from the people. I was alone. On this side of the island, there is no land shelf. It just drops off. You stand there and have the feeling that you are in the middle of the ocean. I climbed into the rocks and took this picture. I pointed the camera and said “Cheri _____ ADVENTURER”!


I have always had an adventurous spirit. Wikipedia calls it, bold, risky and extreme. It’s the spirit that caused me to take off on a bus ride, while in Cabo, that inspired the post~ No Fear. I’ve been taking off, on “trips,” all of my life.

I’ve never concerned myself with the norm. It seems like a risky adventure these days to not get a face lift. What will people think! OMG, I’m older and I have wrinkles!

Regardless of weather the adventure is traveling, financial or just getting through the day, it will be negative, fear related, or positive, in the flow.

Helen Keller once said, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all”.

No face lift for me and Costa Rica here I come.

A Sprinkle of Psychology

Child Psychology Works on Me

From the first time that I heard that drugs were dangerous, I wanted them. I had a teacher, one of the Dominican nuns at the parochial school that I attended, kindergarten to eighth grade; she told us about having taught night school in NYC. She had students, who would sit in the back row and not remove their sun glasses. I was so impressed, I knew that was cool.

I wondered, “what do they do”? I romanticized these people’s lives. They’re in NYC, wearing sunglasses, inside a building, at night. I knew their existences had to be exotic. Continue reading A Sprinkle of Psychology