As soon as I can, I’ll update you on my one year trip. I’ve decided to leave everything behind and spend real time with the people that matter the most in my life: my wife and three children. This is my story, I hope it will inspire you to create yours.
You can read my previous “On The Road” articles:
- On the road #1
- On the road #2
- On the road #3
- On the road #4
- On the road #5
- On the road #6
- On the road #7
- On the road #8
- On the road #9
- On the road #10
Date: from September 5th to September 25th
States/Province traveled through: Baja Norte & Baja Sur
I think it’s fair to write that it took us a full week in Mexico to adapt. Adapt to a new language, a new way of living and a complete new reality. As I’m writing this on the road, I’m comfortably seated on a balcony in front of the ocean in Cabo San Lucas. How did I ended-up in a cozy hotel room? Did I sell Freefall to travel from one hotel to another? Ah! You have to read my story to find out!
Baja Norte Days #85 to #90
Crossing the borders… this is where I left you the last time. I’ve heard so much and read so much about Mexico that I can’t even make myself an opinion. Funny enough, most people telling me it’s the dumbest thing to do (read the most dangerous) are the one who never set one foot in this country. They might have flown to those fancy 5 stars hotel, but they certainly never visited any “real” Mexican villages. Then, I’ve receive a whole different opinion from people who actually been to Mexico several time. This opinion is unanimous: it’s one of the greatest place to visit in the world.
Unfortunately, the mind is set to give a lot more priority to fear than positive sentiments. So it is with a heart crisped by fear that I drive Freefall through the Mexican gates. I’m not in panic mode, but I’m not the most relaxed guy on earth either. I can feel sweat dripping under my arm as I make my last turn before I get to the famous light. For those who don’t know, when you cross the Mexican borders, there is a light pole showing either a green light (meaning you can go without going through an inspection) and a red light (meaning you have to pull out your car and have a chat with the agent… standing with his big gun). They say the light goes random… but for some reason, the gringos with the big RV got the red light… go figure why! Hahaha!
The agent border is in fact a military that is quite pleasant. He discussed with us to know where we come from and where we are going. When we tell him about our project, he tells us how Guatemala is dangerous but Mexico is super safe (how ironic! Hahaha!). We quickly enter Mexico on our way to our first place to stay. Once again, we will use Harvest Host as the Baja has its own ruto del vino. Quite a pleasant start after all…
It’s a beautiful Sunday afternoon and there are lots of Mexican coming to this vineyard (L.A. Cetto).
The pressure cools down and we enjoy spending time here. It’s a weird feeling though as everybody is well dressed and we wear our “road trip clothing” which is pretty much just t-shirts and shirts. The feeling of not understanding a word that is spoken is also hard for me. Since the beginning of the trip, I go forward to meet new people and discuss with them. This time, I can’t really do that. I will definitely have to work on my Spanish during this trip!
On our second day, it’s time to fill up our RV with foods at Ensenada. I rapidly realise that moving my RV in a bigger city is quite a challenge. We completed our day without any problems, I now have a new iPhone with a Mexican cel package. Now that I have wifi, I’m a happy camper! Speaking of which, we discover our first Mexican camping. I’ve read that camping in Mexico isn’t exactly as clean as the one we have in North America. It’s too bad, because they have beautiful settings to establish nice campgrounds:
But they lack of maintenance…
Believe it or not, we did take our shower there ;-).
The next days were quite amazing. We had our first experience in eating in what I call a “boui-boui”:
It was delicious and Zabdi (the girl in the picture) is teaching us a few Spanish words while we discover their great tacos. Then, we found a little paradise right on the beach:
We will stay there for 2 days, camping right on the beach and I even caught a small sun burn while working on the beach:
Interesting enough, this beach is amazing but the water is very cold. We were told it was very hot in the Baja… I’m a little confused! We decide to continue further south and end-up in Bahia Los Angeles. It’s crazy how a day on the road and we are now getting incredibly warm weather. It’s now hitting 36-38 Celsius and it will be like that for the rest of our trip on the Baja. Needless to say that I had a hard time to deal with such weather… Once again, the camping is situated in an amazing, but all the junks left aside the beach leaves me less enthusiast about my first impression of Mexico.
We will spend a few days going down slightly everyday in order to find a great place to boondock. I find this period of the trip a little bit harder as we need to constantly lookout for resources. One day is doing our grocery in a small mercado with birds, dogs and flies all over the place, another day is stopping at the agua purrificada to fill my RV with fresh water and then, we look out for propane or more foods. There aren’t any cities on the road, but most likely small villages with dirt roads. This is a period of adaptation and I’m slowly trying to figure out how it works here. In fact, it’s pretty simple; you can pretty much do whatever you want and chill all along the way. You should never worry about anything and just let it go when it doesn’t go the way you want. It’s true that Mexicans are very helpful and smiling. We should simply adapt to their culture and follow their way!
Before going to Baja Sur, we will spend a few days in a perfect boondocking place:
This is where I’ve celebrated my 35th birthday. When I was 30, my goal was to become millionaire at the age of 35. I was on my way to a great career and my online business was soaring. 5 years later, I’m far from being millionaire, but I can say that I will live my 35th year on earth like one. Taking this pause, enjoying life and spending time with my family make me feel like I’ve won the lottery. We don’t get much sleep due to the warm weather, we can’t speak with locals because we don’t understand much, we don’t have access to clean shower most of the time, we eat what we can find and it becomes to be repetitive, but this is not the important part. The important part is that we are living. Each morning, I wake up in an amazing place, my kids are around me and I can discuss with my wife while relaxing by the beach. There is no rush, there are no expectations, there are no performance. There is only us, going forward and discovering this country. At first, I was scared. But fear is something happening solely in your mind, nowhere else. After this first 10 days or so on the Baja, I realize that there is nothing to fear here. It’s only different and we only have to manage those differences and embrace them.
Baja Sur Days #91 to #105
Crossing to Baja Sur was somewhat fun. We had to get the RV fumigated by some kind of white liquid. I’m asked to pay a donation and I give the guy 20 pesos. Our friends behind us are ask for 20 pesos as well but received a receipt… go figure!
To be honest, I wasn’t impressed that much by the first part of the Baja. The junks on their beautiful beaches and the difficulty of having access to basic resources kind make this part of the trip “ordinary”. However, after spending my birthday in Bahia Concepcion, things started to turn around the other way. We ran into our first “small colonial city” named Lorretto. I was excited to walk around the city and enter the small shops.
I now start to understand a little bit of Spanish and I can shoot a few words here and there. Enough to bargain our first purchases. I’m also getting better at negotiating our campground price. It seems the price asked for anything in Mexico is never the “real price”. I particularly like it and getting better at this game!
During our trip in the Baja Sur, Mexicans celebrated their Independence. We happened to arrive in a campground with a big fiesta going on. Kids rapidly integrated ours and William even showed that even Canadian can scores goals at soccer:
We spent our last week of the Baja between La Paz and Cabo San Lucas. This small peninsula is just amazing. La Paz is a great city with a lot of things going on. They have a beautiful boardwalk where we spent several hours. We were even able to boondock by the beach and enjoy a small breeze.
Tired of all that warm weather, I decided to call 3 days off in a hotel in Cabo San Lucas. This was quite far away from the way we lived for the past 3 months in our RV, but man it felt good to have space for everyone.
We took those 3 days to let the dust of the past 3 weeks settle down. It was quite an adaptation to a new culture, a new way of living, a new language, a suffocating weather and also traveling with another family. While it was a lot of fun at first, things aren’t going too well with the other family. It’s nothing related to us, but the woman has a hard time adapting to Mexico. It creates lots of tension between her and her husband and the ambiance is sometimes a bit tense. Taking a few days off within our family made us appreciate our couple and our family even more. My wife and I are on the same page and we want to keep going forward. It’s truly solidifying our bonds.
At the same time, I realized how I was shocked to see those tourists in Cabo San Lucas trying to get drunk by noon in the hotel pool. This small city is full of stores and it really looks like we are in USA again. A lot of consumption, a lot of flashy dresses and cars, a lot of superficial. I’ve truly enjoyed my time in the hotel room with a real bathroom and the A/C on all the time. But I now know I don’t want this life anymore. I don’t want to buy more stuff and burn my energy and money on meaningful things. When I come back, I know it will be different.
On September 25th, we joined the other family and we took the ferry to hit the main land. Will they continue with us? What happened on the mainland? This will happen in my next on the road. Note: I promise to be faster next time! Hehehe!