We crossed the border recently~ a 3-hour soul-crushing grind before arriving back in the good old USA in what was our longest, and yet least invasive border crossing in over two years. Los Barrile’s winter entered the history books. As always, it was incredibly bittersweet.
Last week raced by in a blur of activity. Dave & Anne, two of our VERY favorite peeps and our most frequent visitors arrived in Baja. Although they visit the fancy resorts of Cabo often, this was their first trip to Los Barriles and the week was packed with a variety of activities highlighted by wine and waterfalls.
Life in Los Barriles is moving along as expected. We chose this spot for our winter adventures in part because we were looking to decompress after a lively and evolving 2017. As we have continued to morph into our best lives, we understand that we require our work and play to interact, becoming simply joint elements of a single life lived well.
For the last three winters, we have driven past, through really, the tiny town of El Triunfo nearly a dozen times. We have stopped exactly once and that was only to buy a bag of veggies from the ladies on the street corner and snap a quick photo of their church. We always said, “we’ll stop next time”. Well, next time finally happened as we headed there for our Photo Field Trip of the week.
Two years ago yesterday we drove away from Jim’s parent’s road to drive the Pan American Highway. Two years. Three Countries. Tens of thousands of miles. And yet we find ourselves back in Los Barrile on Baja understanding more than ever that the road of life is rarely certain and even less often a straight line.
As we headed south towards Baja we knew we wanted to do some campground research along the way. Although we have camped on five continents, it never hurts to view other campgrounds with open eyes when planning improvements for Camp Coeur D’Alene.
With this in mind, we specifically chose to stay at some vastly different types of campgrounds to experience each end of the spectrum, checking out bathroom facilities, camp stores, and pricing options. While we didn’t garner any huge new ideas from what we were already thinking it sure was fun!
Today marks three weeks here in Los Barriles. Although we are all set up with our “shade compound” and, in between working on camp business, have been actively joining the local scene of art shows, pickleball, and yoga, it also feels as though we just arrived and is a perfect indication of how elusive the concept of time can be. As ever, one of our very favorite parts of our crazy life is the fact that we get to meet so many interesting people every day. And, also as ever, everyone is capable of being a critic. But for any negative vibes we encounter we just sit back confidently knowing we are mastering the art of living.
Well, we have arrived at our home for the next three months. Three Weeks. Three Mechanics. Thirteen Campgrounds. Nearly 2500 miles.
Although our most recent reinvention has us less overlanders than the last couple of years, we are still firmly rootless on many levels. And these last few of weeks moving from our summer -home at Camp Coeur D’Alene, to our former state of Oregon, to our latest winter resting spot in Los Barriles have reminded us of the reality of a life lived, at least part-time, on the move.
Whether you are a nomadic traveler, living a life on the road commuting from state to state to visit the landmarks, monuments, and attractions of the US, or flying to a European destination for that holiday of a lifetime, the risk of theft of your valuables is very real. Wherever there are large numbers of people, from a crowded beach to a music concert, there will be those who want to relieve you of your prized possessions – and they’re very good at it. So how do you minimise the chance of becoming another statistic?
It’s surprising how many travelers, especially the younger set, don’t bother to buy any form of travel insurance, and live to regret it. Hopefully, everyone’s holiday will go smoothly without any mishap, medical emergency or criminal activity, but unfortunately, annual figures tell us otherwise. Travel insurance can be tailored to suit your requirements. If you have a number of expensive digital products, paying a little extra and buying insurance to cover replacement of same is well worth considering.
Hotel security has improved enormously in the hotspots and big cities of Europe. Most rooms will have a safe, but if they don’t, the hotel usually has a secure safe in the reception area. Nonetheless, don’t just walk into the reception with a handful of valuables and cash. Put it all in a bag, tape it up and put your name and room number on the package.
Don’t leave valuable items lying around in your hotel room. Even if you’re taking a shower, put mobile phone, tablet or cash in drawers or under cushions. Out of sight out of mind minimises the risk of opportunist theft by anyone who has the authority to enter the room.
Holiday Apartment Complexes:
If you’re staying in an apartment complex, security may not be as high as that in hotels, although apartment security is improving. Apartment theft makes up a large proportion of insurance claims, yet the majority of these could so easily be avoided. In most of Europe’s hotspots, with daytime temperatures often in the mid/the high 30s, and nighttime temperatures in the upper 20s, travelers walk into their rooms and throw open every window and door they can find.
Unfortunately, they often choose to leave patio doors and windows open to cool the apartment when they go to the pool or out for a meal. The fact your apartment is on the fifth floor is no guarantee you won’t get a visit from our light-fingered friends if you leave them an open invitation. The same applies when you retire for the night. Having enjoyed a gourmet meal with a few glasses of wine you’re sure of a good night’s sleep. Your unwanted visitors rely on that. As you sleep, they creep in through the open patio doors and tip-toe around the apartment relieving you of everything of value. Lock your apartment as you would lock up at home.
Round the Pool or on the Beach:
If you intend to spend a day around the pool or beach take with you the minimum you’ll need. Okay, so the mobile phone and Kindle are a must, and enough cash to get a baguette and drink. If you are holidaying with friends or family make sure someone stays with the valuables while the others go for a swim. Don’t heap everything together and throw a towel over them. Hidden eyes will be watching for you to do just that. By the time you come out of the water and manage to find your sunbeds, they will be minus your valuables. The same with bags and rucksacks; never leave them unattended.
Out and About:
Whether doing a little sightseeing, or out on a bar crawl, don’t wear the family jewels. Nothing attracts your friendly local bag snatcher than all that bling sparkling in the sunshine.
It’s difficult for the ladies to go out without a bag. If you can’t make do with a money belt or bumbag, choose a shoulder bag, and put the strap over the head. Never leave it unattended; anywhere. For men, leave the wallet and cards hidden in the apartment, they’re a pickpocket’s favorite item. Spread the cash about, fifty each in two or three pockets and maybe fifty in a sock.
It all sounds very melodramatic, but really it’s just common sense and being a little streetwise. A little forethought will ensure you’re not the ones spending precious holiday time arranging replacement funds to get home.