essays by shé

Baja Bound

“I’ll give you a hundred bucks to drive my truck onto the Young Brothers lot,” says the weathered guy outside the port gate.

I’d just dropped off my 4Runner for shipping to San Diego. He claims he doesn’t have proper ID for security, and wants to get his (also weathered) vehicle on the barge to Maui. But the days-long process has been stressful, and I have no desire to return. “Sorry, I can’t do that,” I say, and walk away. When I look back, he’s found somebody else. Excellent.

Yep, I’m going to Baja California. She’s been calling, just as Kaua’i did years ago in Florida. After flying to the mainland, I’ll pick up the 4-wheel drive (yahoo!) and drive south.

Stories about the land: dangerous, amazing, magical, beautiful, deserted, quiet, and… multitudinous surf spots.

Stories about the woman: adventurous, risky, brave, crazy, anxious, curious, and… heeding the call.

In Elizabeth von Arnim’s Enchanted April, the women book a holiday based on a paragraph in a newspaper. No photos, no Facebook, no Yelp. Just an address in the country.

I, on the other hand, have a guide book and maps and an acquaintance in Todos Santos. Still, it’s a foreign country with a different language. But I find comfort in a funny thing that happened in 2013. I had evacuated Olympia and was recovering from near-lethal mold toxicity. Back in Santa Monica — get this — I discover I’m fluent in Spanish.

Yes, I’d learned it as a kid in school, and with my best friend Gloria. But that was decades ago. Perhaps, since I had nothing more to lose (living in a Jetta at the time), the internal editor switched off, and I was free to communicate in that once again familiar tongue. I craved it.

So: trust, breathe, leap. Turning 60? Time to Surfari! Cast off the moorings and see what another part of the planet has to offer. It’s a benevolent world.

"Thar Be Dragons?" by Shé, 8.5" x 11.5" acrylic on paper, 2022
Thar Be Dragons? by Shé, 8.5″ x 11.5″ acrylic on paper, 2022




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