I am a passionate scuba instructor on a mission to raise awareness and inspire others to protect the ocean. I live on a small island in Indonesia. This is my story.

I will never forget the exact moment when I knew that my life was going to change drastically. It was 2009. I was on vacation sailing in the Galapagos Islands. I was watching the sunset alone on the deck, wearing a red sarong over my bikini with my legs hanging over the side of the boat. As I watched the sun’s colors reflected on the water I realized, “I am content. I want this everyday.”

At this point, I had been working in Intellectual Property law for a decade at a large, prestigious firm in the United States. I had my own office downtown with a window. I wore suits and heels to work and I was attached to my smart phone all day and most evenings. I owned a condominium in the city, a beautiful car, and I went to concerts, the theater, and restaurant openings whenever I wished. Travel was always important to me; I took 2-3 vacations every year, at least one abroad. I had everything I was “supposed” to want. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t take any of this for granted and I had no complaints. So why did I make a drastic change?

Why It All Changed

On my flight to Ecuador, the scroll wheel on my phone broke. When I landed, I couldn’t access my messages, let alone work remotely from a sailboat. For the first time in years, I was completely cut off from my “other life” for weeks. It was then that I realized that as much as I enjoyed my job, and more importantly, my life, I wasn’t fulfilled. And the only thing standing in the way of that fulfillment was me.

The Initial Plan

I told my mentor and boss that I was going to backpack through South America, Africa, and Asia for a year. Hopefully a year of travel and meeting people from different backgrounds would help me to find my passion. Some people thought I was crazy. Many encouraged me to take a sabbatical rather than quit; to rent my condo rather than sell it. But i knew that something had changed and to be true to myself I had to go “all in.”  Three months into the year, I realized that one year was not nearly enough. That one year turned into two and then even two wasn’t enough.

When the Ocean Became My Office

It was during these years of living out of my backpack that I became a professional scuba diver.   I was not new to diving; my first dive was in 1993, in Greece, and I got certified the following year. The ocean was always a love of mine and having a job in the water was incredibly appealing. Being able to share my passion for the ocean with others became my new life’s purpose. Scuba diving combined my loves: the ocean, teaching, and travel. Since that major life change over a decade ago, I have lived and worked in Central America, Southeast Asia, and the South Pacific, including over a year on a sailing ship over 100m long!

Living My Passion

I have met thousands of people and taken hundreds and hundreds into the ocean. In fact, my passion for introducing new people to the ocean’s wonders led me to take additional dive training and become a scuba instructor trainer. I have had the honor of training dozens of dive professionals who are now sharing their passion with hundreds of others and reaching more people than any of us could on our own. 

It is this new life that brought me to a small island in Indonesia, Gili Air. There are certainly things I miss about my “old life” but I have never once regretted the decision I made sitting on that boat in the Galapagos. I love diving. I love the ocean. I love the places I get to see and the creatures I spend my days with underwater and I love sharing all of that with others. I am living my passion every day.