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.

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