Friday, December 2, 2016

Lou starts to homestead

You know Lou really likes a location when he expands his outdoor space beyond a clothesline and a mat by the door of his trailer. He has decided to stay at Campo Turistico #1 for another three months or so, and today he's filling some planters he scrounged. A palm, succulents, some herbs.

Meanwhile, about the most I can commit to a place is to pay for a certain number of nights and put out my chair.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

How much contentment can one guy withstand?

An  American catches something

The daily routine here at Campo Turistico Uno starts with watching the sunrise, staring at the sea and breathing the fresh air. It ends with watching the tide, shrimp boats and marine life and commenting about how much we like it here. In between there is conversation, Internet, a little exploration, showers, naps, more sea gazing, and excellent food.

This evening we went to satisfy our jones for flame grilled chicken at a joint recommended by the campground manager. It was perfect. So were the fish tacos the campground owner made for lunch. And the huevos rancheros she made yesterday. And the burritos before that. And the enchiladas before that. And the shrimp and fish before that. And the tacos from the stand in town. And the produce from the vendor. And the tamal from the lady at the swap meet.

Lou asked, "Have we had any bad food since we've been here?"

"Mmmmm, nope." We haven't even had anything mediocre, except maybe what we made ourselves.

Okay, so the temperature has dropped into the upper 60s, and it's windy on and off. Not storybook paradise weather. But it's warmer than Yuma or Quartzsite or other Arizona snowbird havens. And there's the sea. And the food. And the friendly, gracious people. That's a lot to be happy about.

Next week I'll be going back to El Norte for a while to take care of some business. I hope it won't take long. I'll miss this place.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

You are the most important component

This post is aimed at those for whom living in a vehicle is one of several options rather than the only option. It's for those with time and resources to make considered decisions, and the freedom to modify them.

Vandweller and nomad forums are filled with questions about vehicles, how to fix them up, how to have electricity, what to do about heating, cooling, cooking, cleaning, beds, toilets and on and on. Those things are important, but I think they get in the way of the most fundamental question:
Am I the type of person who could be happy and successful doing this?
Given the best equipment and a sufficient source of money, some nomads will still be miserable. Some will fail. Because a vehicle can only transport and house you. It can't repair you. Living in a vehicle can change you, but it's you who's the agent of change, not the van, not the solar panel, not the composting toilet...

So, what type of person has a better chance of finding nomadic nirvana? I've assembled a list of attributes that, from my experience, are shared by happy, successful nomads. I think a lot of the attributes also apply to the building-dwelling life. (No doubt there are more things that could be on my list. Feel free to add your own.) Rate yourself on a no–somewhat–yes scale. Obviously, more yeses are better.
I have an independent nature 
I'm self-sufficient 
I'm self-directed and self-motivated 
I always have a back-up plan 
I'm not tied to a location 
I'm not tied to a culture 
I'm not tied to the past 
I look forward to new experiences 
I can entertain myself 
I'm curious 
I'm alert 
I like solving problems and have a good track record at it 
I'm good at finding answers 
I have a good bullshit detector 
I adapt easily to changing situations 
I'm usually calm 
I can distinguish between the essential and inconsequential 
I'm comfortable with tools 
I'm not afraid of getting dirty 
I know generally how vehicles and gizmos work 
I can change a flat tire 
I know what to do in emergencies 
I enjoy camping 
I have an adequate sense of direction 
I like myself
If you didn't score many yeses or somewhats, you might want to think more deeply about this whole nomad thing. You might do some work on yourself. Is your temperament changeable? Your personality? Some psychology professionals say yes. Some of the skills on the list can be learned. Knowledge can be gained.

My intent isn't to talk a lot of people out of their nomad plans. It's to prepare them. I try not to say, "Hey gang! Come be a full time nomad! It's perfect for everyone!" Because it isn't. I don't want to see frustrated, anxious, stumbling, unhappy campers. I don't want anyone to regret their decision. I don't want anyone to crash and burn. I want them to have the life that works great for them. For you.

Now with 100% more hammock

We  moved camp to the north side of the cafe to put more room between us and other campers. There's more sand and no wall separating us from the beach. We're slightly closer to the shower and toilets. We also have more shelter from the wind if it returns. Best of all is the shorter stroll to the fabulous meals Victoria makes for us.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

At the swap meet

I got weird reactions in the eastern United States when I used the term swap meet.

"What? A place where you trade beef or something?"

"No, a place where you meet to swap things. As far as I know, it started with California hot rodders wanting to trade car parts. Now you can buy all sorts of things there."

"Oh, a flea market."

"What (I joked)? A place where you buy bugs?"

Thanks to Californians coming to Baja, they say swap meet here. There's one every Saturday north of town, by the recreation center of a gringo real estate development.

I didn't need any merchandise, but I scored some tamales and empanadas. Also, the produce vendor we bought from earlier in the week was there, so we stocked up. We also found some fluently bilingual Yanks to translate when our limited Spanish failed.


There were strong winds the past two days, so the shrimp boats came in from the Sea of Cortez and anchored in the north end of the bay where the water is calmer and mountains block some of the wind.

Pelicans and gulls swarm a boat hoping for a meal

I have mixed feelings about the shrimpers and other commercial fishermen. (Mixed feelings seem to be a theme with me lately.) I love seafood. But the Sea of Cortez (and other waters) is being fished to death.

Friday, November 25, 2016

So, we're driving in Mexico, but legally?

This is my second extended foray into Mexico in my own vehicle. The fifth where I've done any driving. But until I stumbled upon this article, I had never thought about International Driving Permits. Tourist visa? Check. Mexican auto insurance? Check. Passport to get back into the US? Check. But what is this business about International Driving Permits? Well, it's kind of weird. Read the article and learn.

Conflict of interests

On  one hand, I really like the place we're camped and want everyone to know about it. Sharing is good.

On  the other hand, one of the things that makes this place so desirable is there's almost no one else here.

So, as a compromise, here's a clue:

Thursday, November 24, 2016

A plan is developing

When people find out I travel full time, they tend to ask what my favorite places are. I haven't had a no-hesitation answer. I like a lot of places.

Also, as winter approaches each year, I toy with the idea of getting a cheap apartment and hibernating until spring. But it's difficult finding month-to-month rentals that aren't dives or expensive vacation properties.

Meanwhile, I'm running out of new places to see in the West. And I can't imagine circumstances that would make me want to explore farther east.

Fish and shrimp: better than turkey

Then, as Lou and I were talking after Thanksgiving dinner about extending our stay here in San Felipe, a little voice in my head said, "Hey, what if you spent winters here, where you not only have quiet, laughably cheap beachfront camping, but also electricity, flush toilets, hot showers, wifi, a great cook, fresh seafood, a town for supplies, and friendly English-speaking management? Then you could summer in Colorado, like you did this year. Travel in spring, and for fall there's that camping spot you were offered in San Luis Obispo."

Hmmmm, change from a wanderer to someone with a circuit? I could give it a try. All plans are subject to change, of course.

I'm certain of one thing, though. My no-hesitation favorite place answer is San Felipe. At least at the moment.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

What are we doing up at this hour?

There was an amber glow on the horizon when I roused from delicious sleep. I pulled on my pants and a jacket and went outside to be part of the sunrise. It was 5:22.

I took the photo above, then settled into my chair to watch the changing sky, the pelicans and gulls, the water. There was only a slight breeze. It was very quiet. Then, as if we had planned to watch the sunrise together, Lou stepped out of his trailer.

We  talked about the sun, moon, and tide, about the rotation and orbit of Earth. We talked about time, on the cosmic scale. And on the personal scale.

And we talked about the strawberries Lou bought yesterday. "Good Mexican strawberries that actually taste like strawberries. I think I'll have some."

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

To market, to market

We were headed to the Calimax supermarket when we spotted a produce stand. Support small businesses when you can, right?

We  got a load of stuff for five dollars. Lou is especially excited about the strawberries.

When we finally got to Calimax, Lou said, "Okay, all I need now is sunscreen and beer."

To which I replied, "That's really all a gringo needs in Mexico."

Good morning

Lou discusses fishing with a Canadian

Pet sharing

One of the campground manager's dogs came by to say good morning. Now, while looking at this picture, try not to yawn yourself.