Guest Post by EJ Marina Kim
Last year, I was just a an ordinary office worker in Korea. Every morning at 8am I would join the crowds on the subway for my two-hour commute, only to return home at 9pm and fall straight asleep. This had been my life for the past three years with only three hours to myself each day – one to each lunch and two hours before I would fall asleep.
And every night I would dream about freediving. I missed it so much; the calm, the freedom, the escape.
Finally I decided to quit my job and take some time for myself. I wanted to spread the joy of freediving to exhausted office workers who were just like me.
My first stop was Koh Tao, Thailand – also known as diver’s paradise. Here, with Crystal Freediving I took the PADI Freediver course and then began working my way from beginner all the way up to Instructor.
Amazingly, just a year before all this happened, I couldn’t even swim! It was in Malaysia, while on vacation with my boyfriend, that things changed. I was snorkelling with a life jacket and Alejandro was 5 metres below admiring Nemo. My envy got the better of me and I asked him to teach me to swim properly.
Around the time I was thinking about quitting my job, Sergey, a PADI Freediver Instructor Trainer say a photo of mine on Instagram and sent me a direct message.
Now that I think about it, it was kind of like destiny that I met Sergey. He was teaching at Crystal Freediving on Koh Tao and I was impressed by his passion for freediving so I decided to go to Koh Tao and be his student.
I didn’t have any formal freediving qualifications so I started with the PADI Freediver course. All the PADI courses were systematic, well-organised and student focused. The best thing I learnt during these courses was how to control my mind. The pool training (static apnea and dynamic apnea) helped me to be much more relaxed when I moved on to diving deeper during the open water session.
Static apnea was the biggest challenge for be but with Sergey’s encouragement I greatly improved on this. He also helped with my kicking technique and eventually I was able to dive to 27 metres.
Safety is really emphasised throughout the courses. I can now understand about the physiological changes the body goes through at depth, how to react during an emergency situation and after completing my Emergency First Response course I have the ability to perform first aid not only when diving but in my everyday life.
I’m now at the beginning of my journey as a PADI Freediver Instructor! I hope to continue to fill me life with meaningful things and provide motivation for people who haven’t experienced the underwater world before.
I want to share all the things I have learnt and experienced through freediving with as many people as possible.
This year, I will return to Koh Tao to get more experience as an instructor and then will use my skills and knowledge to explore the world!