Life with Moxie: Learn something and have an adventure

“Learn something new every day,” is how the saying goes, but why? To keep things interesting? Is it good for us somehow? The answer is yes. Learning is refreshing. It gives us all something exciting and new to talk about, it excites and expands our brains, combats boredom and gives us something to look forward to. Knowledge is power, and it can be exciting.

Why not elect to learn something exciting that can set you up for a future of adventuring. According to Psychologies “It’s actually a core need for psychological wellbeing. Learning can help us build confidence and a sense of self-efficacy. Vanessa King, positive psychology expert at Action for Happiness, ‘As human beings, we have a natural desire to learn and progress. Psychologists call it mastery.’”

Living in Southwest Florida, there are many wonderful opportunities for learning interesting and exciting things that can easily lead to simple, fun and interesting weekend adventures.

Botanical gardens, history museums and birding are a few lovely and less time-consuming editions that may spiral into new landscaping ideas, a stack of wonderful reading and brunch-filled weekend trips to other cities with museums and botanical gardens.

To set yourself up for a real adventure, you may want to consider going bigger, doing something a little harder, something that will afford you a real sense of accomplishment. Things like learning a new language or becoming a certified sommelier. For me, it was a sport.

Last weekend, the result of a very thoughtful gift, wrapped in the support and encouragement of my partner, I completed open water scuba diver certification in Key Largo, with him as my dive buddy. It was the culmination of five weeks of extremely interesting classes that included both paper and in-water learning. Having completed it, we are very excited about planning bucket list dive trips around the world and more frequently, just a couple hours away.

Our extensive SDI dive training happened at Naples own renowned SCUBAdventures under the tutelage of veteran instructors Geoff and Paul. It was as fascinating as it was informative- thrilling to be quite frank. When you do something so very outside of your comfort and knowledge zone, the opportunity is ripe for it to be a thrill ride.

Having lived in Southwest Florida for nearly 30 years, I had never looked at the Florida Keys as anything other than a quick, uber-casual weekend get away with a water view and limited options for healthy food. What I discovered however, was that the 120-mile Florida Keys island chain is home to the continental United States’ only living-coral barrier reef. The Forbes travel guide even has Key Largo as the dive capital of the world- the world! I had no idea. Before this class I could name everything I knew about diving on one hand and frankly, I think most of it came from the movie Finding Nemo.

Learning to open water dive is a powerful lesson in self-exploration, self-control and self-awareness. Even more so if you were challenged to do it, as I was. It forces you to address your thoughts, take significant measures against allowing your reactions to control your state of being, and to choose to be quiet within when your brain is loudly suggesting otherwise. Like the most basic issue of convincing yourself it’s a good idea to breathe deeply underwater.

The official final exam, four of them to be precise, happened in Key Largo with our SCUBAdventuresinstructors Geoff and Paul in partnership with Rainbow Reef Dive Center – a PADI 5-star dive center in Key Largo. It was amazing! Exciting, awe inspiring, breathtaking and completely exhausting. Having already become very confident and trusting of our SCUBAdeventures instructors, the team at Rainbow Reef was equally knowledgeable, comforting and safety focused, double-checking equipment and headspace for each of us individually before and after each of the four dives. Rainbow Reef Dive Center hosted a first-class experience all around.

I’ve always been one who fancied myself a protector of the environment and believed I had a decent understanding of what existed below the surface. Then I went diving. It was an acute reminder that we don’t know what we don’t know. We saw a shipwreck from WWII being a safe haven for copious amounts of sea life, a winch from an Austrian sailing ship that ran aground in the 1800s, reef sharks, barracuda, moray eel, puffer, parrot and about 30 other kinds of fish, spiny lobsters, sponges, coral, urchins and so much more that I just haven’t learned the names of yet. Other things that are commonly seen (but we didn’t spot) are goliath groupers, hammerhead sharks and manta rays. Looking forward to going back until I can check them off.

During the dive testing, we practiced the skills that we had learned in class and we got ourselves back to the boat. To be clear, getting back to the boat (our boat as opposed to someone else’s dive boat) is equally as difficult as any other part of diving. I to think, all this amazing is just across then alley and a few miles off the coast.

We could see for 90 feet through the crystal clear, glowing turquois water and were able to bear witness to so much that this extraordinary hidden world (71% of the earth’s surface!) has to offer us as a gift from simply taking the time to learn. As Maya Angelou said, when we know better we do better. When we take the time to learn something new, we gift ourselves the possibility of seeing things differently, seeing bigger and wanting so much more for our fellow beings above and below.

So that thing you’ve been saying you want to learn, to speak Italian- then travel, to bake bread- then go to France for lessons from a local grandma, to paint- then go to that perfect location and capture it or just go to that amazing location to learn! Learn to dance- then travel to the competitions, to play poker- then have a fab weekend in Vegas, to become a master gardener and create the most fulfilling and beautiful yard – whatever it is, this is the sign you been waiting for! It’s time to commit- you are worth it!


Have ideas you’d like to add? Need more suggestions? Or want to share your experience? Let me know!

Julie Koester is CEO of Life with Moxie, a Lifestyle Revolution Company, CEO of Moxie Creed, skincare beyond chemistry. You can reach her at


Passionate Living by Design, That’s Life with Moxie

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