My Holiday Gift(s)

There are many gifts for me this holiday season. The one I am cherishing the most at the moment is my gift of new friends.

There are many types of friends in the world and in our lives. Some friends are those we have known our entire lives, others are new friends from work or from a new hobby or activity.

My new friends have come from “the road” I am currently exploring. I would love to share with you a few of the interesting people I have met since I left home, mainly those who I now call my friends (amigos and amigas here in Mexico).

Sergio – the sailor. His mother is from Sicily and hs father is Porchugese. He grew up in Mexico City. He is a professional sailor and recently lost his boat in a hurricane. He has an adventure story per minute. I have not figured out Sergio yet, and I am hoping to get to sail with him on New Years. We are planning to sail from La Paz out to Isla de Ispiritu……My first sailing lesson!

Sergion Antonio Otero

Phil(ipe) – the bike packer. I spent a couple of days hanging out with Phil at the Hostel in Todos Santos. He told me of his many adventures bike packing in Baja and other places. I have become quite interested in this mode of travel and have since been receiving many text’s from Phil sharing with me the mechanics of what to do and how to do it. Fun!

Phil is on the right (that’s Sergio again on the left)

Jaden – the 19-year-old. Jaden is fascinating. I met her in my Spanish class and then learned that she is living at the Hostel in Todos Santos. She is a 19-year-old with an old soul. She left college (where she got into engineering school) because she didn’t want to attend via Zoom. She worked at an airport fueling plane and now thinks she wants to become an A/P mechanic. She’s looking into A/P school in Everett WA. She’s cool! We went surfing together yesterday.

Jaden in Spanish Class

Amber – Jaden’s 23-year-old sister. Amber actually works at the Hostel in Todos Santos. She found the job on workaway. She works four hours, six days per week. In exchange, she has a place to live. They don’t provide her with any meals, only lodging. Amber was the first person I met at the Hostel and she was just starting her first day on the job. She and Jaden drove themselves down to Todos Santos from Colorado. Amber has worked with workaway in several countries. She has graduated from college is just out exploring the world. She also went surfing yesterday. She did great and got up many times. He is cool, calm collected, and confident. A super interesting, cool woman who is fun to hang around with.

Amber (left) Jaden (right) Instructor (behind)

Raphael – No idea how old, but I’m guessing he’s 40. He’s from LA and works on training young Hispanic people to be leaders in the political progressive movement. Right now, he’s working with a program that is directly tied to Stacey Abrahams in Georgia. He works a lot, lives in a tent at the hostel, is teaching himself to surf, and is game to go hiking into the Sierra La Laguna with me and Amber in January.

Raphael (left) Jack (Right)

Jack – What a hoot! Jack works at the hostel, is from Ireland, and runs the bar in the evenings. The bar was closed before he got there, and he talked Jacobo (the owner) into letting him open the bar. It’s now open every night. Jack is fun, jovial, and a great guy. He adds so much to life at the hostel.

That’s not everyone. There are more “gifts” – Like Leea and David, who kindly let me caravan down the Baja with them, and then gifted me their guest room in their brand new home in Los Barriles. They also took me on a hike into the Sierra de las Lagunas and showed me the way into those amazing, lush mountains.

There is Doug, whom I met in Hood River pre-pandemic. He has been coming to Baja for 30 years. He surfs, he kites when he’s not working as a writer. A nomad, long before the term was coined. He and I were neighbors at Playa La Pastora over the Xmas holiday weekend. He has many stories to share!


I hope you love the gifts you are hoping for and receiving this season. I wish for you to find joy in the places you were not expecting. Friends as my gifts are one, big, special surprise for me. I sure hope I am giving as much as I feel I am receiving.

Whales, Waves and Waterfalls

Baja is really a fabulous place to live for the PNW winter. The temperature is mild, at about 80 degrees high each day. The nights are cool, so you can sleep, at 60 degrees, and there is always something to do!

I love to visit the beaches (there are many a short bike ride away from the hostel) and watch the whales. Without fail, the whales spout within minutes of reaching a viewpoint.

The crashing surf is another reason Baja is so soothing. I can hear the waves at night and in the early morning, from my bed in Westie! Of course, that is only on the nights when the mariachi bands are not playing – which is usually from Mon – Thursday. The nights I now sleep in town.

Last weekend, I went over to the East Cape to hang out with David and Leea – my caravan compadres. What a blast! Their new home is beautiful, with an incredible view of the Gulf.

Full Moon from David and Leea’s porch

David and I went for a bike ride Saturday on the well-attended trails of Los Barriles.

David on a Los Barriles bike trail

Sunday we went out for a waterfall hike with their group of paddleball aficionados. Wow! The hike was stunning.

Our group at the entrance to the park

In only about one-quarter of a mile, you arrive at the first pool and waterfall. This is where most people stop.

First Pool

We continued on for about another two miles leaving the crowd behind. The landscape is beautiful in the Sierra de la Laguna, with huge rocks, cactus, ficus, and more.

Ficus Tree

We arrived at our destination, which is a big, beautiful pool, with rocks you can jump from, a slide you can slide down, and water at the perfect temperature for refreshing.

The Prize!

The hike out was fast and fun.

I am determined to do the cross Sierra de la Laguna hike. I have been searching for a GPS track, and have finally found one! David and Leea are game!

Baja has so much to offer! If you have a wish to leave the grey and rain of winter, come down and visit. You won’t be sorry you came!!

The cutest little turtles

Tonight at sunset a group of us from the hostel drove out to Tortugueros Las Playitas to watch the evening’s release of baby turtles.


The organization collects Turtle Eggs on the beach and securely hatches them. They then release the hatchlings out to the sea.

The turtles are tiny.

Crawling toward the Surf

They are so cute.

Turtling toward the Surf

They only walk toward the surf. Not one turned away from the surf.

The turtles are so small, and the ocean is so vast. It felt a little sad, like those tiny little turtles, must feel alone, lonely……yet, rather, they seemed to be excitedly getting started in their life in the huge, surging, Pacific Ocean swimming alongside the whales.

Some days are (definitely) better than others

Today was a bit rough.

There was a mariachi band playing next door from about 11:00 last night to 4:00 this morning. It was loud, crazy, and annoying. From 4 – 5 am the musicians said goodby, honked their horns, hooted, yelled, and finally…..there was quiet and I was wide awake!

At about 7:30am I thought I would go for a run. It was a coolish, mild morning. I ran up over the hill behind the hostel, to the beach, down the beach to a road, and then did a big loop over the hill back toward town.

Along the way, I found a trail and followed it. The trail led to some human-laid, rock stairs. I went down the stairs and four dogs, with collars, came at me. I thought they would bark and then move on, but no, rather they went after me, circling me, ultimately attacking and biting me in four places.

Ugly this one needed the stitches

I yelled for some help, and a couple of women walked toward me up, what I now realize is a private driveway, to help. They summoned the dogs’ owner, and she arrived to call off her dogs.

another bite

I was a bit of a wreck. Once the dogs were secured, the owner had me sit down and called on her Wilderness First Responder (WFR) to clean out my wounds.

Of course, one on my ass

Turns out, the dog’s owner, Bryan, runs Todos Santos Eco Adventures and the guide was next door with a tour group. He was very helpful, and while he cleaned my wounds, I calmed down. Bryan told me I must go to the Hospital (which is a one-room building in downtown Todos Santos).

Next, I asked if she would agree to pay for my medical treatment. She immediately called the hospital and made all necessary arrangements. I was grateful I didn’t have to push her to agree. She also told me that she could provide proof that all four dogs have had ALL of their shots. Whew!

WFR friend

Her WFR employee (sadly, I cannot remember his name) insisted he drive me to town, and deliver me to the emergency room. A doctor and a nurse immediately greeted us, showed me to a room, had me lie down on a cot, and began their work.

The Dr told me I needed to have three stitches in my right shin dog bite, the others just needed a good cleaning. He probably treats dog bites all of the time. There are many unattended dogs running around in Baja.

Getting Stitched

Before I left the hospital, I was armed with antibiotics, ointments, and ibuprofen. No swimming for some days. The Todos Santos Hostel has armed me with a device to fight off a future attack.

It’s so easy to feel bad, feel afraid, think that this place sucks, hear the message “retreat”. Instead, I just choose to think it’s simply another experience and not that big of a deal.

  • So, I got no sleep last night.
  • So, I have a few new scars on my body and my brain.

When the worst thing that can ever happen to you in life happens, nothing else is a big deal, ever.

I’m just giddy today!

Some days are so fun! I didn’t do anything special today, yet everything I did just tickled me!

Bert and Glenn in Cabo last Sunday

The day started with meeting Ivette, the owner of Habla Mexicano in Todos Santos. Apparently, she has not been getting my emails. Doesn’t matter! I am enrolled in an immersion class starting next Monday. Bueno! Oh, and the price was about 1/5 of what I was expecting. Muy Bueno!

The Todos Santos Hostel is turning out to be perfect! I do LOVE Pescadero Surf Club, with it’s quiet, older clientele, fresh well water, and pool. I will be back there in January.

The Hostel, though, is a medium distan Dds Dr. ce run or a short bike ride to several beaches, walking distance to town, has super fast internet (I am online in the Westie), and is much quieter than I expected. They are letting me stay one full month, at a discount. Score!

Todos Santos Hostel

Today, I rode out to Playa La Pastora, which is North of Todos Santos about 5 miles. The beach is sandy and there were maybe five other people as far as I could see.

Playa La Pastora

I perched on the steep sand, and watched whale after whale breech and blow. WOW! What a show!

On my way back from the beach, I stopped at a barber shop and had my hair removed. Ah! It feels so good to be light! The barber was very kind and, I think, had a great time working on my crazy hair!

Crazy hair

Living here is getting easy already. So far, I love it!

lleguĂ© Todos Santos! (I have arrived!)

It’s beautiful! I am watching the sunset over the Pacific Ocean, on the deck, at Pescadero Surf Camp just South of Todos Santos in Pescadero.

Pescadoro Surf Camp

Was a pretty grueling drive. We did about 7-8 hours each day for 3 full days to get here. David and Leea were SO MUCH FUN!

The way home will be much longer, with many more stops – for sure!

Beaches of the Gulf

Westy did fantastically! Zero problems or issues!

Moon over Westie

Now to settle in for the winter. I will go to town tomorrow and sign up for my Spanish course, which starts Monday. I will also figure out how to have full-time internet on the TelCel network. My work for tomorrow.

Desert Landscape

The boojum trees (also called ‘candle trees’) were everywhere. You can kind of see them….

Driving from Sumas to Todos Santos has been an adventure for sure! I’m not the best, or most confident “driver”. Driving is one of the things in life that pushes me out of my comfort zone.

I’m so glad I did it! I’m so happy to be here.

Sunset Pescadero