After arriving in Mexico a couple of weeks ago, we have been trying to acclimate to the abrupt learning curve. Let’s just say there are no straight roads in Mexico! If you’re wondering what it’s like to uproot your life and live in a van, here’s what I know for sure. Take all of your comfort zones and what you know about your daily habits, and throw it all out the window. Then imagine yourself on an awesome surf vacation in what appears to be paradise, but you have to work and be productive while wishing you only had more time to surf.
Don’t get me wrong, we are surfing our arms off and we are having an epic, once-in-a-lifetime experience, but nothing here works the way you expect. Absolutely everything takes at least five times longer to do than you ever could have imagined. Add a little language barrier and some problem solving issues you didn’t expect, and suddenly the most basic things can feel like overwhelming obstacles. I know one thing is for sure, I think we all look forward to the day when we no longer find ourselves uncomfortably showering at a palm tree 3 feet from our neighbor while they’re having dinner wondering to ourselves, “Is it rude to wash my private spaces while we continue our conversation?”
Well, that’s a small taste of what’s happening to us in Playa la Saladita. We have a wonderful beachfront palapa covering our campsite and we are getting a crash course on the local beach town politics. Meanwhile, we spent the better part of 10 days trying to get our technology to work and stay connected to our businesses so we can keep everything running smoothly. We’ve learned phone signals are spotty at best (You might get a five minute conversation in at dawn or at midnight if you’re lucky). Trying to do anything more than a basic Google search (like uploading and sending data) might take three or four hours if no one else is using the WiFi. Then my SIM card on my iPhone died. And guess what? The phone had to be shipped back to the states to be activated on an American cell tower. YAY! It may sound great to be disconnected, but we are all trying to work. Disconnection is not an option. So we continue to gimp along, on Mexican time, where everything gets done mañana.
Technologically speaking, being disconnected is an ongoing struggle, but our connections to new people and new rhythms of life continue to blossom and sustain us. We’ve had the good fortune to meet and mingle with some really wonderful people. Kristy Murphy (the 2005 World Longboard Champion) and Cat Slatinsky are down here for a number of weeks running their Siren Surf Adventures and have introduced us to a number of local food gems.
Our crazy Canadian neighbor, Brian is a wealth of information about the in’s and out’s of living and traveling in Mexico. We met up with a great couple from Long Island, Greg (aka “Toots”) and Kate Phuros who had been following our posts on The Inertia, and were excited to find us still here. We were introduced via social media to another couple from New Jersey, Jason and Melonie, when a mutual friend realized we were all here at the same time. So, I studied the profile pictures, swam up to them in the lineup and we introduced ourselves. We had the great pleasure of meeting Steve and Suzi Sauter from Carlsbad, CA, who kindly invited us to join them for dinner at the house where they were staying, Casa Trim, owned by CJ Nelson. And the list goes on and on. In fact, later this week I’ll be sitting down with two great Champions of Stoke, Linda Benson (1959 Makaha Champion and 5 time US Champion) and Kristy Murphy, to interview them about their lives and roles in women’s surfing. What an epic adventure this has already been!! All of these friendships will be memories we’ll have forever and relationships that will continue onto other waves in other places.
It is a little sad to see people come and go, but the cool thing about being homeless on the beach and meeting these great travelers is they drop off large bags of food and miscellaneous items they can’t take home with them. You know all the necessities in life like milk, mangos, tequila, and toilet paper!
Editor’s Note: And lest we forget, the Two Feet and Classy Presidential candidate, Chodes Mahoney, and his fool-proof, three step program for improving the quality of life for all: