What Do You Sea is a travel blog written by Aaren Prody (aka me – hello there!). I bought a one-way flight to Indonesia for a year-long backpacking adventure only to get in a pretty gnarly scooter accident to return home a month into my trip… but that hasn’t stopped me from getting back out into the world and exploring more than I thought possible. If you want to read more about this tragic, yet expected turn of events, I have a whole blog post dedicated to what happened, and if you want to read more about me and my full story, head over to my about page.
Now that you’re up to speed on my life and who I am, let’s dive into what this blog is all about.
The Meaning Of What Do You Sea
What Do You See?
The first main chunk of the name is an ode to my passion and deep love for photography. There is nothing I enjoy more than composing photos, editing, and creating art through a lens that will inspire others. The best part about photography is that no two photographers are the same. Sure, you can take the same photo in the same destination, but it won’t have the look and feel of that of any other photographer in the world, which means that all of us creators, despite using similar equipment, see the world in different lights, angles, and shadows. How incredible is that?
In essence, ‘what do you see’ is asking what your perspective is. What do you make of the world we live in? What places make your heart beat a little faster? What do you believe about the people and places we encounter? What do you see?
See vs. Sea
The final part of the name is a play on words that stands as a symbol for my greatest fear and my greatest sense of peace; the sea.
Whether I have always had this fear or it was planted in my soul after watching Jaws as a kid, I’ll never know, but for some reason, sharks and the ‘unknownness’ of the ocean were the two reasons why I used to be petrified of getting into the water. The first time I saw the ocean, I only went in to around my ankles and called it good for my first experience; my fear was THAT intense. Since then, I have slowly made progress towards educating myself about sharks and made small steps during my travels to be more comfortable spending time in the water.
In 2015, I would only enter the ocean to my ankles.
In 2016, I would explore coral reefs miles offshore, but never past the drop-off.
In 2017, I would fully submerge myself in the water and start to consider surfing lessons.
In 2018, I learned how to surf (kinda) without fear taking the reins and I experienced the solitude of the open ocean.
While this fear did rule my life for a little while, as I reached new depths and tried new things, the darkness of my fear started to be outshined by my adoration for the stillness. One of my goals in the next year or two is to earn my PADI Diving Certification and take courses for freediving. Four years ago, that would have never been considered.
Despite the fear and anxiety that swallowed me whole, there was a gentle touch of peace that washed over me as I was in the water. One of my favorite feelings is going from hearing all the sounds of the world, to submerging myself completely and hearing nothing but silence. There are so many unanswered questions, unexplored depths, and uncertainty when it comes to the vastness and creatures of the ocean, but one thing is for certain, it brings me the most overwhelming sense of joy and peace that no string of words could describe it perfectly.
It symbolizes me conquering my fear(s) and surpassing any mental limitations that have held me back from one of the things that I cherish most in life.
“What Is Your Why?”
One of my favorite Ted Talks is “How Great Leaders Inspire Action” by Simon Sinek. He talks about this concept called the ‘Golden Circle” where you have three circles in a dartboard style format with one circle in the middle and two outer rings. The outermost ring is your ‘what’, the middle ring is your ‘how’ and the innermost circle is your ‘why’. He goes on to say that 100% of people on the planet know what they do, some people know how they do what they do, and very few people know why they do what they do (that doesn’t result in a profit). Why is your purpose, your cause, your belief, and why your business exists.
So, what is my why?
What Do You Sea exists for the believers, dreamers, and adventurers. I created this space to build awareness of the importance of pursuing dreams that make your eyes sparkle, of taking care of the planet and the inhabitants we share it with, and of exploring all ends of the earth with gratitude, compassion, and understanding to get a feel for the extraordinary place that we get to call home.
Inspiration For Exploration
The main focus of this blog is to showcase the exotic wonders of this world and to remind others that travel is more than just a ‘one week out of the year’ opportunity; and you don’t have to fork over wads and wads of cash to make it happen. I believe that travel in and of itself is one of the greatest forms of education that we have access to in our lives. There is no better teacher than the experiences of life, and you’ll find out that a lot of the world is not what it seems; it’s so much more.
I don’t write about my own experiences for envy or flattery, but rather to ignite a flame inside my readers for them to realize that traveling is at the tips of their fingertips. There is so much wonder and beauty in this world and it would be a disservice to not try and experience as much as we can while we are here. Someone JUST discovered the oldest cave in the world, located in Vietnam, that is so large that it forms its own clouds and has its own ecosystem. If that blows your mind, think about all the other places waiting to be explored or discovered in our lifetime: go and seek them. Traveling long term or for months on end may not be everyone’s slice of the pie, but I urge you to travel as far and as much as possible.
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, ‘Wow! What a ride!’”
Hunter S. Thompson
Protecting Our Earth
While I am still educating myself and making changes to my plastic use and wastefulness, I think it’s not only important but essential for me to spread the message as far as I can to teach people about the current state our planet is in. To the islands of garbage in the Pacific Ocean, microplastics on beaches, and sinking islands in the South Pacific; our home is being trashed and taken for granted, and quite frankly, we need to turn this bus around.
I want to change the way people look at waste and encourage steps to be more mindful of what they consume, where those things go after they have been consumed, and in result of that, make changes to their lifestyle whether it be switching to a bamboo toothbrush, or making a complete 180 and going zero waste (which is what I am currently working towards); a small step is still a step in the right direction. No one is going to be absolutely perfect and sometimes we will forget to ask for no straw, but building awareness and spreading a positive message to produce change is one of the biggest things I am advocating for on my platform.
Following That Dream
This whole website is a massive flashing neon sign that reminds me every day that I am on the path to my wildest dreams. Despite everyone that told me I would fail, I am here, watching them unfold before my very eyes. I think we live in a digital era that has opened millions of new doors for success and opportunity that is incomprehensible. You can make six figures playing a video game, literally (I still can’t wrap my head around that one). I do believe a lot of us are discouraged by people who surround us because those people are projecting their own fear of failure onto us doers and dreamers, but that shouldn’t stop us on the path to our ideal life. Sometimes I feel like I am Shia Labeouf in his “Just Do It” motivational speech because that’s how passionate I am about living a life full of adventure and not settled into your comfort zone.
Any dream, no matter how impossible or unattainable it may seem, no matter how many people tell you that you will fail; is possible. You feel it deep within your bones when you find your purpose. You feel this constant urge to pursue them, but fear is often holding us back. I want to remind people to hear those dreams, lose their fears, and stop at nothing in the pursuit of them: don’t let your dreams be dreams.
You belong in the life of your dreams, and you don’t belong anywhere else.
Tama J. Kieves
Gratitude fills me each day knowing that I am able to spread positive messages for maximizing the time spent here on Earth, and I can’t thank you all enough (especially if you made it this far), for taking interest in What Do You Sea and supporting my blog. This has been one heck of a ride and it is only the beginning!