Sandy Toes Around The Globe: On being a mom that surfs and travels

By Chelsea Ray (mom, surfer, travler)


My husband and I have always loved traveling. Ever since we got married, we have always looked forward to our next trip. We travel the world surfing world class waves and in search of new waves on unexplored coastlines. Our travels have taken us to every continent and to many remote corners of the earth. Surfing is the glue that holds us together!

3 years ago, I gave birth to our daughter, Coral Leilani. My husband and I made a pact that we would include her in our travels and that we would not slow down our exploration of the world. 10 months ago, our son Reef Kainoa was born and now we are a family of four.

We take the kids on most of our surf trips because we want them to think that traveling the world in search of waves is normal. We want to teach our children that most people don't live like them. There are many cultures and ways of life that we are not familiar with in San Diego, and we feel that taking them to see these cultures firsthand is the best kind of education that we can give them. Traveling teaches empathy and gratitude.

We live in San Diego, which is arguably the best place on earth to live. It's clean, the weather is perfect, our children have every opportunity to succeed and become successful. When we take our kids to places like Jamaica, Honduras, Belize, Mexico, South Africa, they see children who don't have a fraction of what they have. They see children who have little chance of succeeding and have no means with which to buy nice things that we have. We've seen kids go to the beach in their underwear, surf on boards that we wouldn't really call boards, drink dirty water and eat very little food because they don't have much food to eat. Our children will see these children and realize that they have charmed lives with challenges that are relatively easy in comparison to kids everywhere else.

On every trip that we go on, we bring surf gear and clothes/toys to donate with the locals. Our kids give others their toys and they watch us give away our possessions. These lessons have had a profound effect on us and we hope that they will have the same effect on our children too.

Scoring waves is always the purpose of the trip. Whether we take the beaten path and surf J Bay, Uluwatu, Padang Padang, Mundaka and Hossegor, Cloudbreak or go to countries that aren't know for their surf, like Guatemala, Cuba and Jamaica, surfing is always the focal point of our trip and it is something that we can share as a family. As a mother, I want my children to look up to me and do what I do. I want them to respect the ocean, nature and earth and I want them to feel the stoke that I feel every time I paddle out. I want them to be curious and explore the world around them and give back to others who are less fortunate.

You can follow our adventures on Instagram @sandytoesaroundtheglobe!