Unleash Surf Participant — Cody Feda
The most fantastic humans come on Unleash Surf. Here’s one of our faves: Cody Feda — the cabin-in-the-woods-dwelling software developer who decided it was time to learn to surf (and learn to shred he did).
What inspired you to come on Unleash Surf?
For years I’d wanted to learn how to surf, speak Spanish and experience a new culture but I didn’t have enough money, or enough paid time off to make it happen. Recently I managed to set up my job, finances and work-situation so that I could travel and work. But I am not the type who can travel continuously and put in meaningful hours getting distracted by things like food or good coffee and exploring the new place I’m in — so I need to be somewhere for a few weeks at least, and preferably months, and I need to get into a routine as quickly as possible.
Unleash is set up so that I could get to work right away and I’d planned to stay long enough that I didn’t feel like I had to do, see and eat everything in the first few days — I could take my time.
And obviously, having the coworking space right next to consistent waves so that I could learn to surf and progress into more challenging waves too — is really what sold it for me.
What was the biggest challenge to making Unleash Surf happen for you and how did you overcome it?
I think the awkwardness of telling my clients I’d be working from South America for a few months was the hardest part, and also telling my family that I wasn’t sure when I’d be back. -To my surprise my clients were fine with it and very supportive.
Telling my family I was moving to South America for a few months and that I don’t know where I’ll go when I’d be back kind-of goes against the grain of Midwestern US sensibilities — at least for some family members. But if I’d chickened out on those difficult conversations I would’ve been stuck with my status quo for the last 4 years in Montana and I was ready to move on. In the end those difficult conversations went over ok in the end and I am a competent surfer now!
Why does Unleash Surf fit your lifestyle right now?
Unleash provides exactly what I want to be doing right now — I get to progress at surfing and learn Spanish, and I’ve got all the internet and comfortable work-space I need (and then some) to keep my clients happy. Also, I work the best when I am surrounded by people being productive so with Unleash Surf I get to be a digital nomad and surfer, among others who are working hard and surfing hard too.
What do you like best about Unleash Surf so far?
The network of local contacts and wealth of local and surfing knowledge you get when you step off the plane — vis a vis the Unleash team and the set-up of the program — is incredible. Want to know more about the boats that look like elf slippers? John and Amy know a guy who grows those reeds, makes them, fishes with them and can show you how to build and surf them — as well as talk to you about how his family has been doing it for thousands of years.
Want to surf the world’s longest left? John knows when the conditions will suit your skill level and he’ll take care of everything to get you there. All you have to do is wake up really early, get into a van, go from the van to a boat and ride waves until your arms and legs are too tired to catch any more.
Having frustrations with your surfing progress? Mention it to Amy and she will gently encourage you to take more lessons from exactly the right instructor in town. Like Thai food? They’ll take you to the hole-in-the-wall surf shop that sometimes dubs as an amazing Thai eatery — which you’ll definitely not find on TripAdvisor. They’ve got a network and local-knowledge that has taken them years to form and curate — and it shows.
Is there anything you will do or see differently now that you’ve been on Unleash Surf?
I see waves very differently. I understand what makes a wave rideable and appropriate for my skill-level. I hear Spanish differently now that I’ve been immersed in a Spanish speaking place. And with the friends I’ve made on this trip — I’m quite certain I will surf in Nova Scotia and Australia :-). The truth is — spending a few months doing something brand new with new people would have a profound impact on anyone’s life — but spending these months with the interesting and inspiring Unleash co-founders and other participants has definitely taken that travel-surf experience to the next level, all the I’m while getting my work done and getting paid.
What advice would you give to someone thinking of coming on Unleash Surf?
If you can make it work, do it! If you can’t make it work figure out what you can do to make it work! Seriously — you won’t regret it.
“I’m a freelance software developer. It would be a stretch to say love the work. What I do love is the freedom it provides to explore new interests. For the past two years the majority of my billable hours were done in coffee shops, libraries, and a friend’s balcony in Montana’s Flathead Valley.”