By: Ayesha Lobo, Unsettled Sailing Captain & Director of Discover Sailing India
In this time of social distancing and self-quarantine, I find myself reflecting on all the adventures, struggles, and thrilling and exhilarating moments of my life leading up to this day.
People often describe me as ‘’fearless’”, “crazy”, “sailor”, “driven”, “ambitious” and my personal favourite “mermaid” – all associated with water, travel, and sport. So, it was no shock to most when I started a sailing school with my family at the age of 21 in India, a country that had little familiarity with the sport. We started the school to provide everyone an opportunity to try a sport that was, and often still is, considered elitist. The sport has also given me so much that I’m now passionate about inspiring people similarly.
Recently, I was asked to write about my True North, and for that I’ve had to think deeply about what has driven me, and kept me, on this path. My life has been a quest for “love”- love for a sport, for travel, for learning and now being able to inspire someone to live their dreams. I believe nothing is impossible. When I’m asked what is one of the biggest regrets, I think it would be not doing enough to give back to society to make a difference. If I were given the opportunity to go back in time and change my decisions, I would go back and strive to lead and participate in more womens, girls, and empowerment initiatives.
The meaning of life to me is finding fulfillment in whatever we do. For me that has been sailing, and everything it brings with it – teaching, hopping from island to island, competing, and training. I believe my biggest asset and flaw is thinking with my heart, following my own path, and making most of my decisions out of passion. But I know I’ve made the right decision, for even today, I feel the same way I did when I was 10 years old, sailing for the first time. Everyone has a purpose in their life, and mine, I want to believe, is to bring life into people’s lives. My grandad and parents believed when they named me that I would bring life and laughter to others, the same way I did to them.
The thing that keeps me awake at night is that there is so much pain and suffering in this world. What makes me get out of bed each morning is the need to go do my little part in helping end it in whatever small way I can.
Our company’s mission statement is “Explore, dream, discover” because it’s only when we can explore what we dream of, that we can discover its endless possibilities. The message that I would want people to hear is to just live their dream, even if it’s making clay pots or playing with puppies, because this will make you the happiest every day of your life.
If the world was to know something about me it would be that I’m always insecure of my thighs, but over the years I’ve been accepting that it’s what sets me apart from everyone. Having strong legs has served me well in the sport (climbing mast, pulling stuff faster, running the deck) and what I perceived as an imperfection is what helps me be the best sailor I can be.
Ten years ago, little Ayesha would be surprised by where current Ayesha is, not because of achievement, but because of the experiences and stories she has gained over the years.
Yet still, I want to do more. I’m not ready to stop just yet… because I think this is only the beginning to one’s True North. The “end goal”, and the roads that lead to it, are our biggest memories and legacy.