Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Many changes: made possible by the fertile void

On November 9--what would have been my mom's 82nd birthday--Dave and I head to Mexico to our new little house. For the two-day drive from San Diego to Baja California Sur, we're caravaning with my sister. She said she feels like Mom will be guiding us.

Rear view of Casita Once.

When Dave and I set out to live a nomadic life a year and a half ago, we had no idea we'd end up with a Mexican casita for a home base. In June 2013, immediately after I turned in my grades at the university for the last time, we flew to L.A.

Next we planned to go to Australia, Boston and Cape Cod, Hawaii, India, Sri Lanka and Hong Kong. An eclectic itinerary based primarily on being with friends during the best seasons (e.g., "let's avoid monsoons" and "let's hang out with our friends when it's best for them").

We also had an idea that we'd like to spend winter in the mountains. We found a four-month ski house rental in Tahoe through Airbnb, which we shared with friends.

Strung together, those plans would take ten months. After that, who knew?

We didn't factor in brain surgery. That happened two months in, after I had a seizure in Cape Cod.

Post-surgery, the opportunity popped up to buy a casita in El Pescadero, near Todos Santos. We'd never been there. We'd never seen the resort, except through online photos. The casita was still under construction.


We loved Mexico. We'd taken a great trip to Mexico City, and over the years we'd both spent time in different parts of the country. My sister had been going down to the tip of Baja for more than twenty years and knew the resort well. The price was insanely affordable.

These are the logical reasons. But our decision wasn't based on logic. Around the time of my surgery, I'd had a revelation, words downloaded from the ether: I want to live within walking distance of swimmable water.

To embark on our odyssey, we'd left the town of my dreams: Santa Cruz. We loved it there, but it was time to let it go.

We dove off the cliff of the known into the unknown, the fertile void. We were making space for new things. And new things always come.

Turns out, the casita is a five minute walk to a sweet beach. And there's a pool and jacuzzi at the resort. (And it has both an indoor and outdoor shower!). Water, water, everywhere.

Playa Cerritos

I'm not sure I would have known so clearly, so intuitively, that buying the place--using a large chunk of our savings--was the exact right thing to do if I hadn't just undergone brain surgery. The fertile void had delivered.

The casita was #11, our favorite number. The number of balance, of lining up with life. We named our new place Casita Once, "House Eleven."

Fast-forward a year: we will be seeing Casita Once for the first time next week. It's small. One bedroom, tiny kitchen, backyard, rooftop patio. And it's empty.

Our car is filled with most everything we own: a blow-up bed, sheets, towels, Rummikub, miscellaneous kitchen items, and the framed mermaid print Dave gave me for my birthday four years ago. We plan to haunt the stores of Cabo, Todos Santos and La Paz for furniture and appliances. I love the idea of starting from scratch. Lots of color, no clutter.

After seventeen months of nomadic life, it's kind of stunning to think we will be setting up house. Our house. In a foreign country. I'm hoping my dusty Spanish will kick in.

We'd love to have visitors! It's a quick flight to Cabo from many places. A shuttle will take you to town, where we can pick you up and drive you down the dirt road to our place. The resort has many options--from hotel rooms to palapas to casitas--that start at $75 a night.

We aren't sure how long we will be in Baja. On a visitor's visa we can stay up to six months. If we ever decide to live there permanently, we can apply for a long-term visa.

We also aren't sure if and when we will have wifi coverage in our casita. But at the palapa near the pool we can sign in. We will not have international phones, so the best way to contact us while we are south of the border is email and Facebook. If you'd like to call and/or text in real-time, we have Viber and WhatsApp and Skype.

So. Onward. As Stanley Kunitz writes:

I have walked through many lives...
every stone on the road
precious to me. ...
I am not done with my many changes. 

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