Maroubra beach

It was almost too loud to think. The heavy rain combined with the raw power of waves crushing against rock made for a thunderous orchestra with me in the middle. Yet I remained dry.

One-hour earlier

The bus came to a near screeching halt, as per usual for Sydney bus drivers. No worries though, because we had made it to Maroubra beach. Maroubra beach: home to a critical great white shark habitat, firearms range, giant Rubik’s cube, and killer surf. Two friends (both conveniently named Matt) and I had set out for the killer surf. I soon realized that it was far too cold to surf without a wetsuit and was promptly left by the two well-prepared Matts’ to entertain myself.

I sat on the beach watching them battle for waves with the natives for a while, but a massive array of rocks that formed a peninsula off in the distance began to itch my curiosity. They appeared to be about a half a mile off in the distance, maybe three quarters of a mile. Nonetheless, I strapped my backpack on and set off for the rather ominous looking peninsula of jagged rocks.

Soon enough what started out as a walk became more of a hike. I gingerly traversed over large slippery rocks in my ill-equipped Nike airs. Half way through dark clouds began to roll over the peninsula that was my destination. Clouds so dark they were almost black loomed ahead, undoubtedly full of a trifecta of thunder, lighting, and rain.

I turned around to see an opposite, but familiar, scene. Behind me it was still beautiful. The path I had trodden appeared sunny and warm, children laughing and playing on the beach as everyone else enjoyed the surf.

I stood at a physical and a moral a crossroads. Put my head down and push forward, test Mother Nature and find out what was on the other side of that peninsula; or turn back and enjoy the comfort of sun and sand?

I truly believe that it is all about the story you tell in the morning. Our stories define us; our stories give a past to our character and color our personalities. I chose to do something that would leave me with a story.

As I trucked ever further into the cold embrace of Mother Nature, the rocks got bigger, the wind whipped faster, and the waves crashed harder, but the rain held. I was close to the edge of the peninsula. The heavens looked as though they were about to rain down like Noah’s ark all over again.

Curiosity urged me forward. I made it to the tip of the peninsula just as the floodgates of the sky opened. It was the kind of rain that wanted to make sure you heard every drop. The thick drops made that undeniable “whack” as they hit the ground. I turned the corner and relief washed over me instead of the rain.

Cave Maroubra Beach
The Cave after the Storm

There was a cave with a sandstone roof extending outwards, perfect shelter. I hustled inside and sat down to watch the greatest show I had ever seen nature put on. Unstoppable force met immovable object as massive waves pummeled the rocks below the cave. White water shot up in into the air in drenched fireworks as the heavy rain strove to beat them back down.

If I were to walk even two feet out of the cave I would be met with a world of discomfort. Yet, as thousands of gallons of water slashed around me, I remained in a place of peace and serenity. I sat there, enjoyed the show, and smiled because there is an eye to every storm and there is peace to be found among all chaos.

I would encourage you to embrace the unfamiliar even when it seems unpleasant. If you only stick to what you know then there is nothing to be learned. It is important to walk with your head up so that you can see the world and explore every corner of it. When presented with a situation, see it as an opportunity to learn and grow, to expand your mind, and seize it because while there is comfort in the familiar there is knowledge in the unfamiliar.

Peace Out

Stetson Newman  is a student at the College of Charleston and a TEAN Featured Blogger. Stetson is currently interning abroad in Sydney, Australia through TEAN.