a few days ago I surfed a near-perfect 6 to 8-foot point break with one other guy out in trunks. The water was turquoise-blue, the morning sun was shining, light offshores kicked sand up on the beach, and while I was scoring set after set, my wife laid on the beach under a palapa, enjoying the tranquility of our new lifestyle. For the past three years, my wife Rosie and I dreamt of quitting our jobs and driving from our home in Southern California to the tip of South America and checking out everywhere in between. On April 9th, 2015, our dreams became reality. For the past six weeks, Rosie and I have been exploring Baja, filling our days with surfing, fishing, lazing around, drinking beers, eating amazing food, making new friends, and creating memories that will last forever.
The dream of long-term travel and experiencing total freedom was a long time in the making. Throughout the years we’ve spent together, it became evident we didn’t want to work a typical nine to five job, wasting away for a measly paycheck just large enough to pay rent. We wanted to do something fulfilling and unique. So we began to dream big and plan even bigger, as the next several years would be spent working our asses off in order to create our own life story. A life story that we could look back on and smile. A story that we could one day share with our children.
Punta Perfecta doesn’t get its name for nothing. It looks enticing, but this wave was massive and mean.
The first chapter in our story starts in Baja, Mexico. After only a month of being on the road, the freedom we’ve experienced thus far has effortlessly justified the leap of faith we took leaving our jobs for an unknown future. Each day we wake up to a new setting, ranging from cactus forests to lagoons to arroyos with oceanfront views. If we find an attraction to the place we are in, we will stay for several days until the unknown beauties of the next bend in the road beckon us to move.
Our Ford F350 with a cabover Lance camper is our home on wheels. This self-contained, road-dominating beast has everything we need to live a simple life while offering some of the comforts of home. It comfortably fits a bathroom, stove, sink, refrigerator, and, of course, a bed. I can even fit all five of my shortboards inside, only needing to strap two longboards and a step-up on the roof.
Embracing the “home is where you park it” lifestyle, we strive to make few plans, leaving each day open to become a story of its own as it comes. Typically, the only thing influencing our itinerary thus far has been swell. If there are waves, we want to be there to catch them. In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past several months, Baja has had an incredibly healthy run of swell so far. And to say I’ve been a happy camper would be a towering understatement.
From California, we traveled 10 hours south through small towns, cactus-filled prairies, and empty desert landscapes until we arrived in a small fishing village off the coast of the Sea of Cortez called Bahia de Los Angeles. My wife’s relatives have property there so we filled our days fishing and hanging out with her family. We were both familiar with the geography from Tijuana to the Bay of LA, so when the time came to leave this fishing wonderland, our spirits were excited with what lay ahead. Our trip through Baja California Sur took us from Guerrero Negro to San Ignacio to Playa Santispac to Bahia Concepcion and into Scorpion Bay. The waves were in no way, shape, or form pumping when we got there, but our definition of a longboard paradise was redefined. After bumping into some friendly locals, Bert and Jack, who gave us the scoop on tides, wind, and swell, we waited for the tide to get just right before taking our longboards out for a spin.
Classic Scorpion Bay offers up some of the longest, most perfect rides on the planet.
I stroked into my first wave, standing up on a waist-high little peeler breaking over just a few feet of sand. The wave was seamless, allowing me to make my feeble attempt at walking up and down the board as it continued on and on into the bay. By the time I kicked out, my legs were burning. Standing in a foot of sand, I’ve probably never worn a bigger smile. This was the first wave I surfed since the trip had begun a week and a half prior. I paddled back out overwhelmed with emotion—this was just the beginning of a truly magical journey.
The days spent at Scorpion Bay were extraordinarily memorable, to say the least. It energized Rosie and I, as it served as a simple reminder that the lifestyle we had adopted was the best decision we ever made. We spent the days surfing together and camping in our rig right at the bottom of First Point. For the first time in our lives, time was the thing we had most of. While we both got to enjoy our own passions individually and in more depth, we also had more time to enjoy each other’s company, which, I believe, is bringing us closer together. It’s really cool how much of a team you become when your list of possessions and responsibilities diminish. Consequently, our attention to the present moment and time with each other increased in both time and quality.
Nothing like sitting around a bonfire after a long day of surfing.
From Scorpion Bay, we hit Punta Conejo, La Paz, Todos Santos, Cabo San Lucas, San Jose Del Cabo, Zacatitos, the East Cape, Cabo Pulmo, and La Ventana. We lucked out and found ourselves at Punta Perfecta for that big swell that lit up Puerto Escondido in early May. On the biggest day of the swell, my brother (who happened to be in town) and I decided to paddle out after watching the waves all morning. There was an hour where it appeared the swell was diminishing, so we grabbed our boards and paddled out into what we found out to be waves that were way too big for the boards that we had. After what felt like 1,000 strokes to get through the middle zone and out back to the line up, huge deep-water walls were marching through. Guys on 10-foot rhino-chasers were having a go. My brother, who was 50 yards ahead of me, got hit by the biggest swing set of the morning, taking three 15-foot bombs on the head. It cleaned out the entire lineup, breaking the leashes of half of the eight guys that were out. It was pretty gnarly seeing my brother take that heavy of a beating. After 45 minutes I was able to pick off a small one and make it to shore, simply elated to make it to the sand unscathed.
Massive cleanup set at Punta Perfecta.
We hung around the East Cape and other regions south of La Paz for several days, scoring some smaller waves, hanging around cool camp spots, and snorkeling with tons of fish. Deprived of a good party, we hit Cabo for one too many days, taking advantage of the plethora of bars and activities available. By this point we were really in the flow of things. We typically go to bed soon after the sun sets and wake when the sun rises. Our days are long and care free, and we often have plenty of time to enjoy the scenery around us. The setting we wake up to is constantly changing, but the kindness of the people we meet and the quality of the lifestyle we set out to live does not.
As Rosie and I sit here waiting to jump the ferry to mainland Mexico, we can’t help but smile at each other. We don’t know what the next few days hold, but that’s the beauty of it. We are writing our own story day by day and it’s only up to us how we fill the pages of our book. If you’re thinking of doing an adventure of your own, big or small, get out there and do it. Quit talking about it and do it. It was the best decision we ever made. Don’t overthink it. Find a way to make it happen and go write a story of your own.