The rain increased as I stumbled along the path, tripping over tree roots. Confused, I realized I’d made a wrong turn somewhere along the way and turned to correct the path when I saw a group of men approaching in the ever-darkening Guatemalan evening. I continued forward while trying to project confidence with Aspen glued to my side. I uttered a greeting as we passed the group and received long stares in response before their gaze turned to the large black dog at my side. I hurried her along the path and arrived safely at the villa shortly after, my nerves totally shot. The saying goes “Who saved Who?” in the world of dog adoptions but in that instance, I was absolutely certain it was she who saved me.
What does adventure mean to you? Is it a weekend away to a new destination? Perhaps adventure to you means just pushing boundaries beyond your normal comfort zone. We have always gotten an incredible high from waking up in a new country or location with no idea how the day would play out. 2020 is not that year.
The official definition of adventure even adds in a bit of danger.
an unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, experience or activity. Especially the exploration of unknown territory.
During these last few months of time spent close to home, we have found ourselves endlessly discussing past adventures while craving for our own next big adventure. We’ve scoured the pages of this blog reliving the countries and continents we’ve explored and missing all those we’ve met along the way.
Recently a friend shared this quote: “Now is not the time to lament what we can not do, but embrace what we can do”. So true in this year of disruption on so many levels.
While BIG plans are in the works with more info to come about later, we have managed to have a few short trips up and down the Oregon coast. While the unusual and dangerous elements may have been missing, there is no question that this scenic route is one of the most spectacular we’ve ever driven.
Meanderings both north and south delivered on stunning vistas, magnificent empty beaches where masks and social distancing were unnecessary discussions, along with some damn good seafood.
Saturday we leave for our next mini-vacation with a two-week jaunt through Central Oregon hanging for a few days each in several of our favorite campgrounds and enjoy days of leisure. The only things on the agenda are sleeping in, days spent on the lake, and lots of R&R.
I suspect I’ll even read a book, or five. The majority of our time will be out of touch, fully unconnected from the chaos and dysfunction that is 2020.
New adventures await and one day our plans will again include international travel and far-flung locales. One day we will hug our friends close and enjoy group outings.
For now, we relish our time together. For now, we are grateful daily that our sweet baby girl is still with us and smiling daily. For now, we appreciate that we work in one of the few travel industry jobs that is actually thriving. For now, we take one day at a time dreaming of adventures to come.
The boulder fields of Catavina offer a unique bit of Baja. Set smack in the middle of a 180-mile gas-free stretch between El Rosario and Villa Jesus Maria, the hamlet of Catavina is easy to pass by. Our advice is to spend the night. The boulder fields and an astonishing array of cactus combined with stunning sunsets make for a pleasant stop along the way.
The light rising over the bay bathed us in light, but it was the waves that had woken me. Not crashing onto the beach but like a whisper. Similar to belly breathing in Yoga with a long deep inhale culminating in a soft exhale. Thus began another day in paradise. This is life on the Baja.
Our itchy feet are soon to be rewarded as our compass once again heads southward. The last seven months is the longest we’ve stayed in any one spot for the last four years and we are feeling it! Luckily, having negotiated a 59-day leave of absence each winter allows us to stay in touch with the wanderlust that is core to our true selves.
Four years and 17 days ago we drove away from Jim’s parent’s house in Salem, Oregon heading south. The plan was to spend a couple of years driving the PanAmerican Highway, working on my writing, and explore in-depth a new-to-us continent. As the sun sets on one decade it is clear that having such a plan rarely works out exactly as we expect. Today I write this from a campground in Coos Bay, Oregon somewhere we never thought we’d end up having not yet made it to South America. As the saying goes…the best-laid plans.
One of my favorite quotes from “Sweet Home Alabama” is when Reese Witherspoon’s character is told “You can have roots and wings”. This is a difficult concept for me. Those who follow our social media are well aware we followed the road back to Oregon and the questions have been many. In truth, we never planned on leaving Clio’s and the stunning Sierra Nevada’s early. We loved the managers and our co-workers and the chance to explore a new region. However, the truth is also that for two years we have been searching for a paying camp job in Oregon or SW Washington, something that is far harder than you might imagine.
Our friends, Bryan and Jen along with their wonder dog, Karma, AKA The Dangerz, have a philosophy. Each day they wake up and ask themselves “Are we perfectly happy where we are with what we’re doing?” If they don’t like the answer they make changes…immediately. As we have followed their eventful journey these last few years we have been forever inspired by their willingness to completely change up their circumstances in search of happiness. This general outlook on life has served us well.
64. That is the number of different campsites we experienced between October 14, 2018, and April 7, 2019. If you’re doing the math you’ll notice we moved on an average of every 2.8 days. When you consider we spent nearly two full months lazing in Los Barriles the numbers are too exhausting to calculate. A truly crazy busy last six months saw us traveling through eight states (two of them twice) and up and down Baja twice. It was also an amazing winter filled with friends both old and new, many places both old and new, and grand adventures. However, we are, needless to say, road weary by now.
Here is our annual, and this year exhaustive, list of where we stayed from the day we left Coeur d’Alene to our arrival at our new camp in the Sierra Nevada’s. Because of the number of stops I’m breaking this down into more than one blog post. We begin with the fall adventures from our departure in CDA to our arrival in Los Barriles.