Taking a trip like we are on is not always about the adventure, it is also about the people you meet along the way. We have been getting better at opening ourselves to new relationships, even if they are for just a few days or a few hours (or a few months with Richard and Ashley). There are so many wise souls, quirky characters, kind people willing to lend a hand and great new friends from all over the world. Some of our best days have been spent with people we have met on a beach, in a bar, on a hike…..
Below are our new friends Julea and Alan from England, who are driving to Panama and who we have been running into almost everyday since our first meeting in Bahia Concepcion. Brits, Canadians and Americans, we are a wacky little caravan.
On Playa el Coyote we camped for six blissful nights (for free until the last night and we paid 50 pesos which is about four dollars) where we met a bunch a great new people. Our first morning on the beach we woke up to a large group of people (the long term, beach campers in RVs) waiting for us outside our trucks (at like 6:30 am…) They were so curious about the XP and the rooftop tent they could not wait to talk to us. Most of them were Canadians from British Columbia and a few Americans, but they were all super nice. They told us about the amazing happy hour down the street at a local bar, let us use their stand up paddle board, told us about what to buy from the food vendors who come down to the beach (the dulce black bean empanadas were a favorite and the chicken tamales) and also about movie night where they play movies on a large white sheet. They had formed a small community and it had a great feel to it.
We met a guy camped on this beach named Chris who was in Baja soul searching (his words). He was supposed to go to Thailand with friends for a year, but plans fell through so he was spending a year in Baja trying to figure out what to do with his life and get over a hard break up. I remember after talking to him I kept thinking, so many of us travelers are searching for an answer to how we should live our lives and trying to figure out what we should do “after” the soul searching is done. I began to realize that maybe we need to stop searching for an answer and realize that maybe we have already found it. Maybe living this rich, simple life was the answer for now and the future path will show itself when it is time.
I have been more “present” in my life in the last four months than I have been in the last four years. Days are slow, I wake by the sun, watch the stars at night, laugh a lot, spend most of my day outside. I feel more alive now than I have in years, and I have moments of so much happiness it feels like I am getting the wind knocked out of me. Traveling is transformative. It is making me a better person.
Everyday at 4 PM we would all load into the back of Julea and Alan’s truck and drive up to happy hour at the local bar where the margaritas were dangerously strong and super cheap. One night about eight of us were sitting at a table and this woman came up to talk to us. Her name was Jolene. She was about 65 or so and looked like a high school librarian. She was wearing white elastic wasted pants, a floral scrubs top and a faded jean jacket (her age and wardrobe made me assume she was a sweet retired teacher).
She began telling us this story about swimming with fish, it lasted almost 20 minutes. She kept talking about swimming back and forth through the water with trigger fish. We all listened politely and kept waiting for the climax of the story, it seemed like something really exciting was about to happen. Finally, she paused for a long time and said ” I am so fucking stoned right now I don’t even remember what I was talking about.”
She could have said “I am an alien from outer space” and it would have surprised me less. She invited us to her place on the beach to eat some pot cheesecake which we politely declined and then she walked away. As soon as she was gone we could not stop laughing. We were all so taken by surprise by her that it made us realize you never know the personalities you will meet on the road. That trigger fish story totally makes more sense though after we found out about the cheesecake……
On the way home we all sang Jolene by Dolly Parton in the back of the truck at the top of our lungs.