For the past three weeks I was in Baja California Sur. I went down for the first annual Baja International Film Festival as they were screening a film I’d recently made, Julio Solis, A MoveShake Story. The film festival was like nothing I had ever experienced. They flew me down from Los Angeles and put me up in a nice resort on the beach. They brought in the likes of Edward Norton and Gael Garcia Bernal. I even bought a pair of high heels at a local thrift store to try and fit in last-minute — a hilarious sight. It was my first experience staying in a resort in San Jose Del Cabo, a place where I had rented an apartment last winter for four months. The beaches of San Jose are lined with massive all-inclusive resorts, and I always wondered why anyone would travel that far just to be closed off from the rest of their surroundings.
I opted out of the film festival’s free flight home on Aero Mexico and stayed in Baja for a few weeks to visit old friends. I stayed in Cerritos at a friend’s amazing little bungalow village that is walking distance from the beach. I got into my groove of cooking with fresh basil, avocado, and lime on everything. It seems Baja is the only place I have figured out how to feed myself. Tiny grocery stores and ceviche stands are the best places to practice what little Spanish I know.
On my last weekend there, I spent some time at the local Sunday market in Pescadero. If you’re ever near Todo Santos, it’s worth the drive to come to this market. Some of my friends were selling their “Hecho en Mexico” surf clothing line, RIPPA, and I got my favorite mango habanero jam from Kate, a local expat. Walking around the market, I was filled with that familiar sense of community, and I started to look forward to being an expat in Baja myself one day.
On the plane home, with sand still on my feet and a bit of salt water in my ear, I sat next to a shiny young couple who were on their way home to Phoenix after staying in one of the resorts in San Jose Del Cabo for a week. Their friend in the seat in front of them showed them a map he had found in the airport of the downtown area of San Jose Del Cabo. He asked if they had ever been to the downtown, and the couple said they’d never even heard of San Jose Del Cabo. I felt my jaw drop in surprise that this couple were so removed they didn’t even know where they were for the last week.
Looking out the plane window and watching the beaches and towns I love slowly fade out of view, I became thankful that my life of living on the road and jet setting from location to location is never a vacation. I hope I never vacate life, but jump in and experience what every place holds, taking time for unique food, scenery, and most of all, community, for these are the pieces that give a place its soul.
All photos by author