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What We Signed Up For

Updated: Mar 19, 2023

One of our friends and I are in Guerrero Negro, about 3 hours south of where we are staying in Bahia de Los Angeles. We’ve come here to track down a fuel injector for our friend’s truck that we’ve been waiting a week to get.

We’ve been here all day. The mechanic from Bahia de Los Angeles told us the part was here, shipped from Tijuana, and now the guy at the shop is saying it’s not here.

No one is at fault, we’re told again and again in Spanish, except the shipping company, Baja Express. The part was supposed to come yesterday. It may come tomorrow on a small bus, or on a semi-truck. It may be come at 9 a.m. or 2 p.m., we’re assured, but really, who knows?

And so we’ve visited junkyards, other car part stores, and a diesel shop, all in an effort to find a new (or used) fuel injector. During this search, I cycle through frustration, anticipation, hope, and grief as our search comes up empty, and we remain “stuck” in Baja, unwilling to leave until we can all leave together.

So now we’re in a hotel; we’ve decided to spend the night rather than risk driving the narrow Baja highway at dusk and then darkness. As I rest in bed, I find myself wishing for something that isn’t. I wish that we had the piece. I wish that Baja Express (which I’ve decided to rename “Baja Depressed”) worked better. I wish we knew when we’d get the piece. I wish we would have called before we left.

It’s not what I want, to be in Guerrero Negro for the night, with tomorrow being Juliana’s birthday, but here we are. And I know that this, too, is just part of the Baja experience, part of the being alive experience. Things break: bones, fuel injectors, tree branches, parts of a rig, hearts. Life makes no promises. There’s no money back guarantee that we get to wrap our lives up in, as we exit from the womb and our lungs pull in air for that first searing breath. When I unhook from things being a certain way, when I’m at my best and most centered, I remember that certainty is an illusion, that control is a silly “let’s pretend game,” and I simply say, “thank you, god, thank you, life, for this day, for the sunrise, for those insanely magnificent ospreys diving into the water, emerging with fish in their talons. And thanks for this hotel room and the possibility that the piece might arrive tomorrow.” Saying this reminds me that nothing is promised, that I am owed nothing – not trucks or rigs or bodies that work forever. Life owes me nothing.

And really, that’s why we’re on the road, because nothing is guaranteed, nothing is promised, nothing is for certain. Cancer sleeps quietly on the window sill, silent and still, and then, months into a new dream job, or weeks into a retirement, or just as you celebrate your 49th birthday (or 25th birthday, or 85th birthday), it wakes up, multiplies and spreads everywhere, like gas silently filling every part of a room. Nothing is promised, not a long life, not healthy children, not an easy marriage or relationship.

And that’s why we’re on the road, because we want to experience this world, this beauty, these people, right now, while we are alive and able to do this. We want to breathe in sunrises and sunsets, to be close together as a family of four in a tiny, cramped space (“huge” by some standards, I know!), and unschool and homeschool on the road. We want to let our bodies and spirits live in a different rhythm, to experience time in a less structured way. Saying yes to this reality, also means saying yes to the reality that life is unpredictable, unstable, constantly changing, and wonderfully dynamic. So, yes, this particular moment is frustrating, but this is exactly what we signed up for. We signed up for being knocked off our travel plans. And it’s what it is. And life willing, we’ll get that part soon.

Playa Blanca, part of Bahia de Los Angeles

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