30 days in Vietnam? How in my scuba journey did that happen? As with most that become PADI Open Water Scuba Instructors (PADI OWSI) it began innocently enough with a Discover Scuba Diving while on a vacation in the British Virgin Islands. That was just so much fun that I got certified to dive. From there diving started creeping into everything I wanted to do and after a few trips to Mexico, I was an Advanced Open Water Diver. But diving only 6 to 12 times a year just wasn’t enough for me, so I started adding specialty classes as a way to improve my skills, but they also got me diving more and watching others teaching scuba interested me. So, I decided to volunteer to do things at Scuba Joe’s just so I could hang out at the dive shop.
Becoming a PADI OWSI was sort of on my radar to do, when the time was right, but then something happened that changed my life and waiting for “the right time” was over. Do what you dream of before it is too late to do it! So, I began my Dive Master training with the goal of seeing the world and leading dives. After completing Dive Master, I soon realized that what I really wanted was to be a PADI OWSI. After some soul searching and talking to friends I decided to go for it and started my path to PADI OWSI. First becoming an assistant instructor and then the IDC, the most interesting and challenging week or 2 weeks that you will ever spend with some new friends.
Do you remember in the PADI Open Water diver video, the saying “meet people, go places and do things”? Well, I took that to heart and made it one of my little goals. So, after getting my PADI OWSI I started looking for opportunities in places I had never been nor even thought I would go, sending out emails from the listings on the PADI Pro site and then it happened, a response from Rainbow Divers in Vietnam. The next day everything went into storage and off I set.
Since that day, I have meet and made some new and amazing friends. Even the toughest day is still incredible. A few weeks ago I went to lunch and got lost on my way back and wound up in a residential area. You know what they do on their day off? The same thing everyone does, I could have been in Glenwood Springs that Sunday afternoon. Kids in the street, people washing their scooters. Similarities bring a common bond and we can all share in the fun.
I have been lucky enough to go diving 12 days in a row, teaching diving as a PADI OWSI. Turning fear into courage, opening hearts and minds to the wonders of the world and helping to change a life for the better.
I will leave you with this and as a newer PADI OWSI, I hope I never forget this dive as I recall my first dive. As we come to the surface after our first dive my student yells out “THAT WAS $%#^%$ AWESOME!” how long before we can go again? I smiled and laughed and told him it would be 45 minutes before we could as I like to think “go home again”. Do you remember your first dive? As a PADI OWSI you will help people make those memories special. In the PADI Instructor manual there is a saying, “from what we get we make a living, from what we give we make a life” and as a PADI OWSI I get to see it every day.