Fear and Kayaking in Santa Barbara

by Heather


Earlier this week, I shared with you the first two days of my adventure in Santa Barbara courtesy of Kia Motors America. If you missed it, you can read all about it here. Today, I am excited to share the third day of our trip with you because it was the day that proved to be most challenging for me. Let me explain…


The last day of this already epic adventure had us out the door early and included rash guards and water shoes. That’s right it was an outdoor adventure involving water…a lot of water and a lot of activity … Sea Cave Kayaking the Channel Islands!!


Photo courtesy of Surf and Sunshine

Now, I know many of you don’t know a great deal about me but I am not an outdoorsy person. My skin is milky white year round because I avoid going outside unless we are heading to the pool. I’ve never been kayaking and when someone says you could easily flip your kayak if you don’t listen to me, I take them very literally. My kayaking partner, Meredith had a brilliant idea and put me in the back of the kayak. This means that I was in charge of our direction, braking, and trying to keep us from floating away in the ocean.

To say that I was terrified would be putting it mildly. First, I had to put on a bathing suit with a rash guard and that was not a good look for me. Second, I really, REALLY didn’t want to flip the kayak. Third, you get really, really wet and the sun is really powerful on the water. Fourth, I was disgustingly terrified but determined to overcome my fear.


Photo courtesy of Surf and Sunshine

If I had to summarize my experience on the water, it was exhausting mentally and physically, I will likely never do it again, but I had an absolutely amazing time and I felt on top of the world during at least like 30% of the sprint. I can still hear our guide screaming in my mind, asking me if I wanted to live or die … okay, not really but I kept waiting to crash us into the rocks and tip us over. I was phenomenal, I crushed a fear, I crossed something off a bucket list that I never knew I had, and I felt stronger physically and mentally because of it. That, my friends, is what I call a success!

By the time we got out of the water, my body (especially my arms) felt like jelly. We carried our kayaks back to the drop off point and I could barely do it. Huffing and puffing was a must but it was well worth it. After a break for lunch we had the opportunity to explore the island before returning to our ferry for a ride back to the mainland. I took the time to reflect on the day’s events. I couldn’t believe that I had actually gone through with it and went sea cave kayaking. I was terrified of participating in this event but I did it and I think I did okay! I was proud of myself, the strong woman that surfaced, and reminded myself that his is the woman that I want my daughter to see every day. I may or may not have teared up but we won’t talk about that.

Before I knew it, it was time to head back to our home away from home to set sail for our final event. That evening we headed to the Santa Barbara Harbor and enjoyed a first-class dinner cruise around the harbor. This was our farewell dinner and I could barely believe the time had already come.


As the cruise began, I was conflicted about how I wanted to spend my last hours experiencing Santa Barbara. On one hand, I wanted to give hugs and share laughs with my Kia Family. At the same time, I wanted to take some time to reflect on the past three days and the journey. I ate dinner and socialized a bit before heading to the deck of the boat. I curled up on a comfy seat and took in the night air and sounds of the water. As someone from Ohio, Cincinnati to be exact, this isn’t something that I get to experience and I wanted to take full advantage.


I couldn’t believe everything that we experienced in the span of just three days. I couldn’t believe that I was sitting on this huge boat that was sailing around the harbor. I looked inside and saw a room filled with laughter, friendship, and my tribe.

While this was a trip that presented obstacles and challenged me to face fears, I was thankful to have had the opportunity. I brought something home from this adventure, the desire for more. To experience more, be more, love more, and share more.


I can’t wait until my next adventure with Kia and to take you on the journey! Who knows where the path will lead us next.

I was invited on an all-expenses paid trip to Santa Barbara courtesy of Kia Motors of America to experience the Kia Cadenza and Optima SXL. Regardless, all opinions expressed are still 100% my own.

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Armando Rincon October 14, 2017 - 5:04 pm
Beautiful dolphins in the lat pic, what a amazing trip you had.
Jackie Wendt October 17, 2017 - 9:34 pm
love the photo's
Jerry Marquardt October 17, 2017 - 10:27 pm
I love your sharing a great trip. I love California, so this looked like it was so much fun. I appreciate the excellent photography.
Kathy March 30, 2019 - 6:04 pm
That sounds like so much fun. I have never been kayaking, but I would love to go. I think it would be a blast. Those are some amazing photos too, especially the dolphins!

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