Monday, December 26, 2016

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Well it has been quite awhile since I have taken the time to write. Most of my posts have been about life, travel, and adventure. Though the posts have become slim, the adventure of life has not. Sometimes I feel like there is no need to write and express  stories of life because the reality is probably only a handful of people actually read my stories. But then every now and then I get proof that someone actually enjoyed my writing.

The most recent proof is a random visit from a good friend Matt Paffhouse. It is awesome how life brings and makes connections at the most unplanned times. I am not working on some amazing river in some far away country or traveling in my van somewhere tropical. Nope, I am making fake snow at one of the larger malls in Guadalajara, Mexico. How did Paffhouse know I was in Mexico? Well in this day in age where something like writing a story has changed to the easier route of just posting the photo with no story, "Instagram”, Paffhouse noticed a photo that was uploaded a week ago of a “day at the park in Guadalajara.” Though we as a society may waste countless hours swiping away at photos on Facebook or Instagram, just sometimes it turns into something better than a "like" or a comment of the photo.

My case of Facebook providing something positive is my good friend, Matt Paffhouse realized I was in Guadalajara and came for a quick visit. He is currently living in Chiapas, writing a book and was on his way home for the Holidays and the best flights had a layover in Guadalajara. So sometimes Facebook or Instagram can provide a beautiful re-connection of friends. During our short reunion of cold cervezas, Paffhouse asked if I was still writing?

"No, not really, it has been quite some time since I have written or posted a blog."

"Well, I have always enjoyed reading about Tour De Suenos and the post have always kept me very captivated."

"The one about the big waves and gnarly hold-downs, fucking crazy."

"In fact I am using the idea of Tour De Suenos in a part of my book right now."

It hit me that maybe I should write more.So here I am staring at the computer screen, trying to figure out what this post will be about. Or where my words and thoughts will take me...

But like my friend Paffhouse said, he enjoyed reading my blog so I should try and express a bit of my life or thoughts. 

Right now I am working for a company that does snow shows at different malls throughout Mexico. We provide the general public with magical shows that makes both adults and children feel as though they are having a beautiful white Christmas, even down here in places like Guadalajara, Mexico. The job itself is pretty chill, I have mornings and early afternoons free and then I show up for 3 shows in the evening and am back at my hotel before 9pm. It is a great way to save money because essentially I am down here working everyday for 2 months+. The downfalls are if I don't occupy my time with something healthy or productive, loneliness can set in quite easily.

I first heard about this job about 4 years ago when some friends I worked with on the Toulumne river in California offered me a spot. Since I spoke Spanish and was comfortable living in foreign countries, they felt like I would be a great fit. At that time of my life I was more interested in traveling, working on the river, than spending 2 straight months with no days off in a big city in Mexico. Saving money was not high on my list. So why I made the change this year?

Well I feel as though my dream has shifted a bit. In 2008 I attended guide school on the Kern River and from that first summer my newfound love for the river took me around the world, more than once. I was literally living my dream life every single day. My job was to take people on river  expeditions  in places like the Sierra Nevada of California, the mighty Zambezi or the far north of Africa in the Atlas mountains of Morocco. I would work a North American summer than chase summer to the opposite hemisphere, making enough money to fund the next trip on the river or maybe chasing some surf in between seasons. During all these travels and adventures I have found my best friends.

The shift has slowly come the last few winters when I did not travel to do a rafting season.  Am I slowly growing up?? Whatever that means. I got a dog last year, I have an awesome girlfriend but the other thing that lacks is a permanent home.  This is where the dream is shifting. This past summer we took a vacation to Oaxaca, Mexico for a month and a half. In this trip the idea of settling down a bit soon became the focus.  

Mexico, I have always loved Mexico. The people, the food, the waves, the beaches, and mountains. And now I find myself working in Mexico, saving for that dream home that may be near a beautiful beach, rivers and mountains in the state of Oaxaca. In order to chase our dreams, sometimes we need to sacrifice a bit of our time. I am thankful I have this opportunity to work in Mexico, save money, but there are those moments when I feel all alone.

Like I said before I have plenty of time in the day that I am not working. I have found a great routine to keep my mind off negative things like being alone. I start my day off at  a great yoga studio where the teacher truly cares about her students. Then I try and get another form of exercise whether it be running at the local park, riding a stationary bike or go to the gym for a swim and some weight lifting. Besides my active routine I do find myself going back to the worldwide Internet, sometimes browsing useless information but also trying to learn. I have been taking some Permaculture courses and slowly trying to learn how important it is that we not only take care of ourselves but also the world around us, Nature.

Being somewhere new for only around 6 weeks is kind of hard to break into a new group of friends. When those days or moments came when I started to feel lonely, I feel like something positive seemed to come just as quickly as those negative thoughts.

I was sitting by myself drinking coffee at the small restaurant and the owner comes up and starts a conversation. Just as I was feeling down, he takes time to chat about his time he spent in California and then as I pay and am about to walk away he says, "Aqui estas en Casa."

Then I was able to visit some old friends in Puerto Vallarta.  Like the past they welcomed me with open arms. I was welcomed with that warm genuine Mexican greeting of great food and conversation, then as it was time to hit the bed for the night I was given the owner's bed both nights. No need to sleep on the couch, this time we give you our very own bed.

Back in the city, all I want to do is to share a meal with someone and have a real conversation. I get treated to some great yoga and instead of just heading back to the Hotel breakfast, I get treated with a tour around town doing errands. Then a stop off at the tourist old town of Tlaquepaque and have a wonderful meal. The simple things in life matter.

What do all these experiences have in common? Good People, real conversations,
a positive world.

I want so badly to try and see the positive things in life. I do not want to dwell on the negative but it was a bit hard to travel down to Mexico the day of the elections and arrive to find out the results. I would hear first hand from folks down here how they felt, some angry, some in fear, most not happy.

For a long time, maybe as long as I can remember, I have never had that feeling that Mexicans being in the United States was a bad thing. Even to this day I do not feel okay with the way minorities get treated, such as Latinos. Why do I believe all of this? Maybe it was the way I was raised.

Mexico was our second home, literally. Since early childhood my parents would take us on vacations to Baja and also to Mexico. My dad's first Baja trips were when he got his license and would head off to find empty surf. In his early twenties he went down to Mexico in search of waves and I think he found something much more important than good surf. He discovered that the beauty of this country lies in the people. He created a relationship with a family in Nayarit that he has kept for more than 30 years. He even gave Jose and his brothers the opportunity to come to California and work for his company when he was first starting.

These are stories I hear firsthand from Jose, as he tells how they swam out into the Tijuana sloughs to avoid “La Migra” and how he used to babysit, so my parents could go out on date night. I first  truly heard these stories about 10 years ago when I started to learn Spanish and would travel to Mexico and stay with Jose and his family. I was retold this story and others just a few weeks back when I went to go visit Jose.

So do I feel angry when our President elect speaks negatively about Mexicans, yes. I have never been a person who is super into politics but it does hurt when I hear about the ideas and feelings that the new government of the United States has towards our neighbors. I don't know where I am going with all this, but maybe I feel this way because of the experiences I have had in life. More than once was I allowed to go to a country other than my own and work, live and be treated fairly. So maybe this is why I understand the reason people from other countries want to come to the United States and work and live. But I don’t understand why they get treated unfairly.

So here I am, December 25, in front of my computer screen on Christmas Day all alone. My family is not with me, my friends are in all parts of the globe and I spend the day by myself. I try to take a moment and look at the good in life. While most restaurants are closed on Christmas day, I can be thankful that a co-worker invited me to his family's house on Christmas eve and like any true genuine Mexican mother would do is, not only provide a delicious meal of tamales but would send me home with a bag full of tamales. So even though restaurants are closed today, I had a meal.

I am grateful for my life, for my health, for work, and for the family and friends I have. Today I may have spent Christmas alone, but by no means am I truly alone. I want to see the good that is in this world, and I want to be a part of the good. In a few weeks I will head back to Oaxaca in search of the perfect piece of land. I will continue to believe in this life of “Suenos”, and I will do my best to find the positive things in life.

Merry Christmas and all the Best for 2017!

"Healthy plants and trees yield abundant flowers and fruits. Similarly, from a healthy person, smiles and happiness shine forth like rays of the sun." - Inyengar


  1. This is an awesome post. No photos needed. Buenas suerte amigo.

  2. Somehow I stumbled across this post while lying in bed at work and seeing your thoughts on the screen made me miss you brother. I am glad to hear you have a second home down in Mex. If there is swell in the next few weeks at Pe'ahi, I'll be there. You should come visit. Be good to catch up over a beer and meal someday. You are always welcome at our place in Norcal. Happy New Year my friend.

    James Kornweibel

  3. I'm glad you're writing again and to read a post from someone I actually know. I'm sorry you have lonely days but I feel that your outlook about doing right by others will pull you from the doldrums of life. My best days are when I take the time to help a stranger in need. Safe travels and please continue to write!