I’ve been trying to write a profound wrap-up to our latest Baja adventure. Drafts have ranged from sarcastic to sappy but none have captured “it”—the essence of the experience, the lessons learned, the feel of returning to a place that is not mine and yet is rooted so deeply within me.
This is hard for me to admit—I suspect it would be the same for any writer—but the truth is that I can’t explain it to you, and I can’t describe it to you in a way that will do it justice. The whole is not the sum of its parts. Some of you would understand some of it, but even the friends who joined us at various points on this journey would not fully grasp “it”. To do that, they, you, would have to inhabit my brain and it’s overcrowded in there as it is.
This epiphany came to me as I leaned over the gunwale of a boat and petted a grey whale calf on sunny day in Laguna San Ignacio. Now, I can tell you what the whale’s skin felt like (kind of rubbery and slick), and describe the way the baby came to us of its own free will, and craft a funny recounting of the mischievous “blow” that drenched me, and present you with a thousand other details. I can show you photos and videos. I could even write a song or draw a picture, if I was feeling particularly inspired. But I can’t make you feel “it”. I can’t make you feel the moment when an animal that could easily smash a twenty foot panga into toothpicks chooses, instead, to make contact with a bunch of tiny, helpless humans. When the whale rolls in the water to look at you and you know, in that instant, that you are being “seen” by an intelligent, living being… I can’t capture that.
Furthermore, as amazing as that experience is, no two people will feel “it” in exactly the same way.
Much like Baja.
I am always grateful for everything that travel gives me—good and bad. I come back from these walkabouts feeling a thousand feet tall and microscopic all at once. I am filled with love for my friends even as I marvel at our differences. Hopeful and despairing, energized and exhausted, introspective and shallow, enlightened and perplexed, I am full of contradictions and I embrace them.
I can’t capture “it”. I can tell you that if opportunity presents itself don’t hesitate, pack your bags and go. Run away. To the desert, the mountains, the ocean, wherever. Go to those places outside of civilization, let them break and mend your heart a thousand times, get to know the world outside your world. When you run out of road, make your own.
Go experience “it”… whatever that means to you.
Until next time, I hope this finds you healthy, happy, and lovin’ life!