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Let The Sea Set You Free: Katie McLean takes a trip to Mexico

Roxy Let The Sea Set You Free Americas Winner, Katie McLean, recently became an Ambassador for Project Save Our Surf. In August she traveled to Sayulita, Mexico to paint a mural at Coste Verde International Elementary School, clean the coast, and teach local girls surfing, yoga, and environmental stewardship. Check out her trip! In August, I traveled to Sayulita, Mexico for PSOS to paint a mural at Coste Verde International Elementary School, clean the beach and teach little local girls surfing, yoga, and environmental stewardship. My heart flutters with anticipation and the wonder of unknown lands. My 3-day, 5ft Mexico mural created for Project Save Our Surf called Sayulita Sea Saint: a blue-haired sea saint with an Aztec-inspired halo of ocean animals. I began volunteering for Project Save Our Surf in July by putting on art projects for little girls to do at the beach clean-up surf days. Preparing my first art project for Project Wahine in Goleta, Ca, I strung and glued tons pearls in shells for them to paint. At the start of the day, the tiniest Wahine was scared of the water. Then I pushed her into her first wave…At the end of our surf session, I actually had to lure her out with the promise of craft time. She then got super artsy, painting not only her shell necklace, but also her entire face. Project Wahine painted pearl necklaces. Packing priorities: paint pens, brushes, and bikinis. Check. Out of all my worldly travels, California’s neighbor Mexico will always have my heart. Sayulita is the cutest, most colorful town, filled with art, boutiques, and yoga. Jungle walking to waves. Drinking and drawing. For my new friend and fellow surf instructor, Xochitl, which means beautiful, eternal flower in Aztec. Jungle listening and lounging. Inspired and indulging in my favorite food, Papaya with lime and fresh coconut, I sketched the plan for my mural here. Teaching Wahines how to surf. Sayulita Beach was sadly covered in trash. After our beach clean up, the girls examined the litter and learned how long it takes for each piece to break down. This letter from a little local ripper made my trip. Travel always sparks spontaneity. A highlight: hopping in a boat with some hilarious locals and sailing south of Sayulita in search of surf and snapper until sunshine turned to torrential downpours. Unforgettable was smoothly speeding across the sea at sunset, the surface textured with thousands of raindrops. Completely drenched, we stopped the boat in the middle of the storm and jumped off into the jacuzzi warm water. Laughing and smiling, calm in the chaos. As a health nut, I psyched on the super fresh street stand produce, and making this sweet and spicy slaw. It’s hard to tell here on the 3rd and final day of painting my 5ft mural that it’s 95 degrees and I’m dripping in sweat. On the last day of the trip, I finished my mural then walked alone through the jungle darkness lit by fireflies home. Mexico was magical. I’ll miss it so. Travel always opens eyes, hearts, and doors. Taking from the textures and street signs I saw in Sayulita, I returned to my art gallery in Santa Barbara, Ca inspired. I curated an upcycled-themed art show and painted another blue haired sea saint on a weathered, washed up boat part, called ‘Bound to the Sea’. I’m excited to be the new Project Save Our Surf Ambassador and continue exploring creative, philanthropic, yoga and surf travel opportunities with an organization that shares my humanitarian and environmental passions for clean oceans, youth art education, and spreading the joy of yoga and surfing. I can’t wait to return to Mexico with PSOS in March and paint another mural!