Tiers of Freedom

John and Luke from Australia are living in a van, parked in the dirt lot atop the small cliff. They’ve driven the coast of France, Spain, Portugal, and into Morocco.

Dave from California rented a place, is working from home, and will be here all season.

Ciera and Jim from London came here for two weeks of sunshine, surf, and no work. (They got the sun, were skunked on the waves, but still stoked on the trip.)

Deryl didn’t get to go at all.

The Aussies have to shit out in the bushes each morning. They wake up before surfers start filing into the dirt lot atop the small cliff to do their business. Stumbling off to a nearby ravine where (hopefully) no one will notice, the routine is initiated. With each step their metabolism gets going a touch more, building the pressure in their bowels so when the secret spot is identified they waste no time with expulsion. As is such with our body’s rhythm, timing isn’t always perfect and a sleepy stumble can turn into an brisk walk. 

With the relief of the day’s dirty deed done, a sense of optimism for the day swells inside. Rising from the ravine, eyes toward the sea, the boys are ready for their next mission: get a few waves before the crowds arrive. And the beauty of sleeping on-site is that these dudes almost always do!

But shitting in the dirt isn’t the only sacrifice these boys make for waves.

One morning as I was checking the surf and trying to glean some local knowledge about the break from them, a cat snuck into their van, chewed through a bag, and took a few chunks out of Luke’s sandwich. Upon discovery, the cat was chased out of the van and the damage was assessed, “Ahh shit mate!”

Luke: “Think it’s bad?”

John: “Nah, just cut that bit off.”

That cat struck again a few mornings later. This time it was to my surprise. The sound of my driver door closing surprised the cat – who having snuck into my car while I was checking the surf, really should have known I would be coming back. She jumped up from the floor of the passenger side banking off the headrest of the passenger seat and flinging headfirst into the windshield. The pure shock of unexpected wildlife in my car topped with flying fur and the sound of claws on plastic took my adrenaline from zero to sixty in about a tenth of second. This was not the adrenaline rush I had set out to achieve today.

Clearly freaking out and making a desperate attempt at escape, she was bolting for any sign of sunlight. Unfazed by the head-first launch into the windshield and surely fueled by her own adrenaline spike, she sprung up from passenger seat with a slamming and claw-scraping attempt at the passenger window. No luck there.

Landing back on the passenger seat she tried again for the windshield with the same paws-first prayer dive and the same rejection back to the seat. At this point I had also freaked out and miraculously made the split-second decision to get the fuck out of the car at all costs. A bite from a feral cat surely would have put a damper on my search for dream waves and I wanted no part of it.

She almost beat me out of the car as I opened the driver door as was gone into the shrubs nearby, at least as relieved as I was.

Come to think of it… a cat had pissed in my car about a week earlier when I left the trunk open as I was unloading my things. What is it with these Moroccan cats?

The cat fiasco would have normally left a big impression on me. Any time I get that level of an adrenaline spike, the event is imprinted in my mind (cheers to Huberman Podcast for recently explaining to me the science behind this). But by sheer luck, the waves I found just after created a flood of excitement that made me almost entirely forget the cat incident.


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