I am sitting in the sun, again. I am a worshipper of the sun and always have been. I lived for the summers growing up in Ohio when it felt like 90% of the days were gray. I moved to Colorado as much for the sunshine as for the mountains. Ah…sunshine wakes up my soul.
We drove most of yesterday from San Felipe to Guerrero Negro. We were trying to make it to the south end of the bay (Ojo de Liebre) where we plan to camp for several days and go whale watching. When we drove through the town of Guerrero Negro our internet maps led us to a salt mine and the road became questionable. We kept going a bit further, but our rig is smaller and lighter than our travel buddies and I was getting worried about us (let alone them) sinking in the sand. Since the time change made it after 5 pm, and the rest of the driving was likely to be on unpaved roads, we decided to stop and park in the big sandy open space. When given the ok, the kids jumped out of the trucks and were immediately climbing on giant tires retired from the salt mine trucks. You could hear the joy of children being back outside after a long day of travel. I turned the rig around and parked it while the kids proceeded to get filthy dirty.
I cooked up some quesadillas for five kids while our adult friends made a run into town for water and a sim card. Dirty kids poured into our rig and devoured bean and cheese quesadillas and few cucumbers. Nightly slumber parties or tent camping has already become a thing with these friends. We slept soundly and woke to a beautiful sunrise. So far so good for boondocking in Baja. Jay and I walked out to the salt flat this morning to watch the sunrise. Perfection.
I’m going to rewind and tell you a bit about why we are on this trip. In 2007, Jay and I took a year off and traveled in a (very small compared to our current) RV called a Rialta. We named that year Carpe Rialta (and our old blog still lives there) coined by our friend Ray Purcell while sitting around a climber’s campfire. We seized the Rialta and wrung it dry. We rock climbed in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico and flew to Argentina for a few months. It was the best year of our lives and we decided then to take a year off on a boat in the Caribbean with our kids when they were about nine and eleven. That goal has been in our minds since we had children and to make an adventure like that happen takes a ton of planning and a big dose of faith.
Several years ago we weren’t sure how we were going to swing this trip financially, but once Jay and I get set on something it usually gets done. We knew that the memories they made on a year of adventure would serve them for the rest of their lives. They’d know that they were capable of big things. They’d know that they could adventure through countries where they didn’t speak the language. They’d know first hand that not everyone in the world lives like we had in Golden Colorado. This was more important than more money in our retirement accounts or a bigger savings for their college education. We were going to do this trip.
As time went by, we saw that our kids were already pretty strong and independent. We were in a great neighborhood, and we loved our friends and community. However, suburbia is not where we thrive. In 2019 it became clear that the school my kids were at wasn’t serving my oldest as well as I had hoped. We had planned to homeschool while we traveled, so I upped my research and decided to make that happen sooner. Just as I pulled the trigger on homeschooling, the pandemic shut the schools down. It seemed to me that it was time to go, but Jay loved his job and was committed to his work. We discussed it and he wanted to at least finish out the calendar year. In the meantime, the housing prices in our neighborhood were going crazy and we weren’t attached to the house at all. We were planning to rent it, but the rent wouldn’t have gotten us much more than the mortgage and this 1960’s house would cause us landlord headaches. We also had a rental in California and the lease was up. We’d had an amazing tenant for the past three years and she was interested in buying it. In a matter of a few weeks, we’d decided to sell both houses and move up our trip. It felt crazy and exciting and risky all at the same time.
I’d moved several times and packed up a house just five years before, but this was different. I wasn’t sure when we were coming back or where we were coming back to, but I didn’t want to pay money to store anything that I didn’t absolutely love. I have the pleasure of knowing Courtney Carver and reading her book Soulful Simplicity. The minimalism movement and her take on it in that book strongly resonated with me. I knew we’d be happier with less. I started downsizing as much as possible and getting rid of as much as I could. That said, my mom had saved all my toys from my youth. I loved having my Cabbage Patch Kids and My Little Ponies, but my daughter could care less. It felt heavy that my mom had hung onto my stuff this long and then I was going to donate it, but I didn’t want to put that type of weight on my kids. They don’t have to have the things to have the memories. We gave away most of their toys, books, stuffies and gear. Thankfully, the way that we’ve raised our kids is with this same mentality about stuff. That’s what they see it, just stuff. I’m sure you can imagine that this is both good and bad when it comes to taking care of things.
If I had to summarize all of our why it probably comes down to the acrostic poem of our family values that I made for Jay for Christmas one year:
This trip is our way of living into those values every day and instilling them in our children. And now, it’s time to go find some whales!