5 minutes with soul surfer Jenny Mikota

We caught up with Jenny Mikota, true soul surfer and founder of Girls On Board surf retreats. She shared with us her passion for the surf, healthy living and travel.

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“Don’t think just do!”

When I was young I grew up on the Great Lakes in Canada. My parents took us to Florida every year and we stayed on Coco Beach, which is where Kelly Slater and the Hobgoods are from. I remember one day seeing Kelly surfing and it looked so cool! I couldn’t wait till I was old enough to move to the West Coast of Canada where I could surf everyday.

When I was a teenager I moved to a special little town called Tofino, it’s in Vancouver Island – a magical place. There was just a few hard-core chicks that surfed at that time. The water is very cold.

We had to motivate ourselves to go out. I remember surfing and it was -4 outside, but the water felt warm because it was 2 degrees! We would wear a 6 mill and could hardly move in the suit, but it would be warm because we would put it in the dryer before putting it on.  It inspired me to check out other places that were warmer. So I headed south of the border (Mexico, Costa rica) in winters. That was the start of my travel bug, led me to some amazing places and meet great people all over the world. Then I discovered Bali, and that was the start of the new chapter. An epic journey of surfing, creating an oasis and discovering what dreams really are made of.

There are so many things and people that inspire me on a daily basis.  I am so really blessed with the awesome friends I have in my life. My boyfriend inspires me with surfing. He is such a good surfer and supporter and it challenges me in the water. I really try and give thanks and feel blessed to all of the moments in my life. It such a wicked journey in life, we make it ourselves and our surroundings is what shapes us to be the best that we can be.

People tell me that I live the dream, but I tell people we are all the dream. Paradise is inside us all, the places we go and the people we meet.

I love to eat organic and it’s easy to do when you live in a small village will local produce shops. I also try and grow what ever I can in season. I have lots of fun trying new recipes. I love to cook and be in the garden – it’s a meditation in itself.

Building the retreat in Balian was quite an adventure. I travelled to Java (the island next to Bali) and found a little village that has 100 year-old teak houses. I transported a house back to Bali and used the recyced materials to build with. I tried to use mainly recycled timber and rock to build the house, beachcombing for timber and rocks became my afternoon pass time.

The whole house was built with a hammer, saw, couple cement mixing buckets and some string line – it’s actually really amazing. The Balinese people are very crafty and I was amazed how good they are doing things by hand. Doing things in a foreign country can be difficult at times, but I think building anywhere you can say just the same. The challenges became less the more I learnt the language, and the more I learnt and accepted how the culture does things. I had to respect the way the Balinese did things and the more I accepted it, the easier it became. Oh ya…. and patience plenty of it!

I do have a passion for many things, as putting passion into the things you do makes you a compassionate person. Yoga, playing the guitar and singing, cooking, hanging out with friends and family, all different types of sports…. Whatever I’m in the mood for!

I continue to love life by loving myself, loving others, being true to myself, and always knowing that I’m on my path, an exciting path and there’s only one life, which is now.

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If you’ve been inspired by this article perhaps you would like to visit Jeny. She runs surf retreats and surfaris around Indonesia. If you want a place to stay she also offers nightly rates in her very cool pad in Balian, Bali.

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