(Sacramento Bee) As a U.S. Marine, Jon Hammar endured nightmarish tension patrolling the war-ravaged streets of Iraq’s Fallujah. When he came home, the brutality of war still pinging around his brain, mental peace proved elusive.

Surfing provided the only respite.

“The only time Hammar is not losing his mind is when he’s on the water,” said a fellow Marine veteran, Ian McDonough.

Hammar and McDonough devised a plan: They’d buy a used motor home, load on the surfboards and drive from the Miami area to Costa Rica to find “someplace to be left alone, someplace far off the grid,” McDonough said.

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