Walk Barefoot, Walk Free

As the summer sun drenched the south west coastline of the UK, the winds dropped and the swell disappeared. Surfers were twiddling their thumbs, immersing in the clear blue whenever they could, but yearning for the movement in the water. Kobe Ambassadors Emma Fraser-Bell and Clare James had reached breaking point, and allowed their free-spirited nature to take hold and whisk them off to the magical Algarve. This was just what they needed, as Emma Fraser-Bell reminisces:

“Never coming back, never coming home. I always feel as though I leave a part of myself behind whenever the time to leave comes around. Minute by minute, I fall in love with this place a little more. Trust your gut, follow your instincts. You know you belong right here. Closing my mind to responsibilities back at home. Enjoy these moments, let them last and linger, let not the sensation of freedom disappear.

The warm morning rays and a delicate breeze slowly draw in the heat of the day. Coffee boiling on the hob mingles with the scent of wild, natural eucalyptus, lavender and citrus from the orange groves below. Olive branches sway in the gentle onshore breeze, there is a faint scent of sea salt in the atmosphere. Feel it, taste it, let it cover you, let it take you. Dip your toes in the blue marble world and dance in the reflection of the sunrise. Bathe in the coolness of the water, let it revive you and awaken your tired body.

Sometimes all we need is to pack up our bags with the essentials. A toothbrush, journal and a pen - allowing the thoughts to flow. Pack light, feel free. Pick yourself up and don’t overthink it, place your worries aside. Travel somewhere that you’ve never been to, or some place that you adore. Choose a place that will feed your soul, realign those wandering thoughts and calm those fidgeting fingers.

Go rogue, be feral, be free and walk barefoot. Sense the ground beneath you. Pacha mama. Earth divine. Feel the pinch, the sting, the coarseness of the rubble as it bores into the soles of your feet. Feel the connection to the earth below, grounding you in this moment, this place, this time.

With each new visit to this country, I feel I discover something new. Fresh bright, friendly faces, loving characters, secret spots round each headland, hundred feet cliff drops, crumbling sandstone beach descents. All of this urging me to stay just a little while longer. The Algarve - it consumes me, changes me, marks me. Even the swell has its powers, so much heavier than what I’m used to - pushing me, forcing me to go deeper, take off later, relax and listen to it, follow its flow.

Its hard to leave, left only with memories of those unique moments when the sun drenched my saltwater skin, marking my bare shoulders as I devoured a blood orange, pulp and all.

So I write this… for the girl, the boy, the woman, the man who never stops seeking. The one who refuses to be confined by what they do or where they are. Take a trip and devour every little nook of the magical place in which you find yourself. Leave no mark, but let it mark you.

I’m never coming back, I’m already home.”

Written by Emma Fraser-Bell www.forshethesea.com
Images shot by Clare James www.clarejamesphotography.com & Emma Fraser-Bell

Emma and Clare spent a week at Tiny Whale Surf Lodge www.tinywhalesurflodge.com, where they surfed, skated, swam and adventured their way around Portugal’s Algarve. Tiny Whale offer surf coaching weeks in their stunning countryside villa. Immerse yourself in surf, sunshine, good food and good times.

Pieces featured from The Ocean Wanderer Collection

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Deepa Shah