October 30, 2015 - by Carissa


After a tough round 4 loss in Portugal, Dad, Luke and I packed our bags and went directly to the airport. We had no tickets and no plan; we just knew we needed to get away for a bit and regroup. It has always been on my bucket list to go to the airport without an itinerary and spontaneously pick a place to visit, so that’s what we did. The next available flight was to Venice, Italy!! 

I never dreamed that I would ever end up in Venice! The city is now at the top of my list of favorites. It is captivating and confusing and absolutely magical all at the same time.It was hard to wrap my head around the idea of commuting everywhere by boat. It was baffling to me that front doors opened up into water and on high tide first floors would flood. Streets were unorganized and it was so easy to get lost. When we first arrived, we wandered aimlessly for an hour with all our luggage looking for the apartment. Big streets suddenly turned into dead ends and small dimly lit streets turned into what seemed to be the right way. There was always another turn to take. I have to admit the coolest part of the trip was getting lost. We walked for hours with no real direction, just following our heart and intuition. Then we’d stumble upon the most beautiful courtyard or cathedral. We dined at incredible restaurants and passed by shops that I will never be able to find again.    

It’s kind of like life… There is really no right or wrong path. Enjoy every moment because it will never happen again. Always embrace the path you are on. It may take you a little longer to get to that end result but you will find your way. Trust and believe that you are meant to be right where you are. 

After a few days spent in Venice, we took a train to Austria. Why Austria? Well, I’ve never been to the RedBull International Headquarters and I’ve heard it’s quite a beautiful place. Only a quick eight hour train ride from Venice… why not?! 

RedBull founder, Dietrich Mateschitz, pretty much owns Austria… haha, not really, but I’m sure he could if he wanted to. However, he does own the coolest part of Salzburg airport! Hanger 7 and 8 is a beautiful display of all his passions. He has an outstanding four leveled restaurant in Hanger 7, featuring different chefs and unique cuisines from all over the world. The architecture is a breathtaking display of his love for art and is home to his many different planes, helicopters and cars. If getting a tour of Hanger 7 wasn’t cool enough already, Patrick (RedBull Int.) organized a special glimpse inside of Hanger 8 where all the planes and helicopters currently in use by Dietrich are cleaned and maintained. I really wanted to get a sneak peak inside one of his private jets but instead got invited on a surprise aerobatic helicopter ride!! 

It was absolutely breathtaking!! I actually started crying when I saw the view, realizing how blessed I am to be living this life I’m living and the amazing opportunities surfing has given me. All the stress and pressure I put on myself at times or heartache I endure after a loss is so worth these moments. I feel so fortunate to travel the world and share it with people I love. This trip definitely put my Portugal loss in perspective and replenished my heart and soul for France. It’s not all about winning or losing but about the journey; the people you meet, experiences, and memories made. Those are the things that make it all worth while.