I emerged from the air-conditioned bus into a cloud of dust and heat. I certainly wasn’t in Guadalajara anymore.
Robin’s instructions were to go the house at the end of the street right before the bus station, so that’s what I did. When I arrived, there she was, Robin on the couch. Just like she looked in pictures, but different than I remembered. After all, I hadn’t seen or talked to her in almost six years, not since we were in high school together.
Before long, we were draped over lounge chairs talking about life in Sayulita. She described it as a place of heightened emotions, condensed time, and removed from the world. Nobody gives a shit about this tiny tourist town in coastal Mexico.
I felt like I had entered another world, a fantasyland where time doesn’t exist and real-world problems and questions are irrelevant.
I don’t have a mission. I just want to surf and be a bum. And I’m happy.
If I had an answer, it would probably be all those cheesy things like the golden rule: treat others how you want to be treated.
What’s something that guides how you live your life?
The ocean. I always want to be by the ocean, I grew up by the ocean, I love it. [My boyfriend] and I both surf and it’s something we have that really strengthens our relationship. We both love it, love going together, and every time we go I’m trying to improve, every time I’m trying to practice. It is so humbling.
It’s a special town no doubt. There are tons of cool people. People from all over the world. It’s a huge melting pot, not just Canadians and Gringos. There are people from South America, from Italy, from France, Northern Europe, the Swedes, the Norwegians, the Finnish. There are so many languages going on at once and it’s a great vibe.
When I go back to the States people are very standoffish, not as friendly. It doesn’t cost you a dime to say hello to someone. Here everyone’s like “Hey, whats up? Hey, how you doing?”.
There, it’s as if it costs them. Like, “Do I have to say hi to that person? I’m just gonna ignore them.” I just love the openness of this town.It means a lot to me; it’s a home away from home.
On being American
There are a lot of stereotypes about Americans and, it might be kind of snotty, but I just say I’m from California and it’s a different meaning. It is. Speaking Spanish has helped me overcome a lot of boundaries that I’ve had in other countries where I don’t speak the language.
One amazing experience I’ve had
I went to Zimbabwe with my parents for a month and they were teaching a course with their Veterinarian friends on how to tranquilize, capture, and release wild animals. Wild, African animals. It was the most insane month of my life.
I got strapped in a helicopter and they gave me a dart gun – I had never been in a helicopter before- and they lifted me up and I had a gun in my hand and they’re like “alright, aim for the target”. I was literally hanging out of the helicopter, like an action movie.
The craziest experience of that whole trip was when I was on the giraffe team. We practiced for this but… when it came time, the helicopter was like *bchh* Giraffe Spotted *bchh* Young male.*bchh*. Dart in at Oh-Eight-Hundred.*bchh*.
We were in the truck, chasing the giraffe, then we jump out of the truck, the giraffe is running towards us, and the helicopter is chasing it towards us. It was a juvenile male, but it was still 18 feet tall, huge, and you’re right underneath it. We stretched out the rope, ran with it, ran with the giraffe, crossed the rope, and the legs just came together and it just gently fell onto the grass.
Then it was someone’s job to catch the giraffe’s head and sit on it and blindfold it. We ran in, took blood samples, tick samples, and I actually got to stick my arm halfway up a giraffe’s butthole and collect a fecal sample. I had a glove on, but the glove was almost not long enough. They were like “get your arm in there!” and I was like “are you fucking kidding me!?”. I was 18 years old and I had no idea what was going on.
It was a cool trip overall… I’d like to go back and have an experience more on my own, but I loved that I got to see a world of my parents that I had never known before and had only heard stories about. They did so much work in Africa before I was born, and as soon as my mom got pregnant they went back to the States.