This was going to be the end of my nine-month journey down the Pacific, so I decided to forget money. "Breaking even" in Cali wasn't going to happen and playing the credit game was only becoming more complicated. That said, I picked a departure date and things began to get good as I found a light in the tunnel.
The entire time I lived in San Diego, everyone liked to refer to the city as "paradise," which was difficult for me to swallow. To me, "paradise" means more to me than daily sunshine and waves, even if that's a pretty good start.
It wasn't until I decided to leave town that I really started to San Diego. I couldn't see it through the haze of pot smoke, incense, frustration and poverty that surrounded me until my visit had an expiration date, and when I left the country entirely and headed south to visit a friend in Baja I finally felt it. For a few short moments, I found paradise.
Not every moment was golden. I actually spent a considerable amount of time crying. I got terribly lost in a country where my language skills were insufficient. Men requested sexual favors for aide and I was grateful to escape and find one who only wanted money to help me find my way. The sun became a broiler as I searched the cliffs for a spot of shade that never arrived until early evening. As the days passed, I got scraped by lava rocks and became freckled and leathery. I was surrounded by strangers from strange lands with whom I believed I had nothing in common.
None of it matters. When it was good, it was great.
I'm not sure if its possible to live in Paradise. I don't think Paradise is something with staying power.
For a couple days during a trek across the peninsula, I found paradise with a motley crew of travellers from two hemispheres, three continents and four countries. On any given day, three languages would flow among us and I would only be able to fully participate in one.
Part of the reason this trip was so good is because I knew I was leaving.
Part of it was being forced to stay.
It wasn't just the place. It wasn't just the people.
My story of Baja will follow in installments.