In 2007, having just finished my Honours research year, I flew off to the Cook Islands with three mates for a month-long surf trip. The tiny main island, Rarotonga, takes 20 minutes to drive around, with basically two roads and a handful of bars. We stayed in a little ‘chalet’, and after a picture-perfect first day of sunny skies and fun, glassy waves with no-one around, the bad weather set in. Torrential, tropical rain came down for a week, with a bad swell pattern and no waves. We sat inside, moping, drinking and playing endless games of cards. Finally, a sacrifice was made to the Spirit gods, and nursing severe hangovers, we were greeted by pumping waves. The trip will stick in my mind as one of the biggest wind-downs of my life; the stress of 60-hour weeks doing research, flipped to a life with no commitment except for having a good time.