A commentary on why we travel
A Content Creation Trip Inspired by the Travel Gear of Mantis Yoga
By: Janalyn Rose
"One of the reasons why we crave love, and seek it so desperately, is that love is the only cure for loneliness, and shame, and sorrow. Fate gives all of us three teachers, three friends, three enemies, and three great loves in our lives. But these twelve are always disguised, and we can never know which one is which until we’ve loved them, left them, or fought them.”
Our lives are not shaped by our conditions,
They are shaped by our decisions.”
Decision 1: Travel.
Decision 2: Buy Mexican Car Insurance before the border.
Prepare for the best case scenarios- waves hundreds of miles down the coast. Prepare for the worst case scenarios you don’t even believe in- purchase tow rope, jumper cables and something called Fix a Flat your friend Dave recommends “just in case”. Consider tacos a food group until notified otherwise. Bring Yoga Mats in a slick new sling from the coolest new company. Smile to yourself. Pack board-bag with at least three surf boards, a fin key, maybe some tropical wax- laugh at wetsuit, leave it- and head south.
Seven dusty driving days later, with a handful of scouting missions and stops along the way:
Sleeping roadside in cars and tents. Meeting men, best friends, at secret spots not on the map- who had traveled back to the same destination for thirty years, not because the waves were good, but because they could escape their lives- leaving them the beer when you left that secret spot. Minor complications like other men with guns at check points who had not-so-sad eyes and probably quite a few children. Sharing 1 room- 4 people- three amigos and me- inland for one night because no one drives at night through Baja.
Occasionally considering consuming the supplemental nutrition you accidentally left behind in the US, you resort to the taco plan. And after all of this and more, which you don’t even think of as the travel portion, just the trip between familiar and adventure:
Mid. Night. Surf. Full Moon. A frenchman that lives in a bus by the sea. Children running naked through the dust in-front of perfectly peeling waves. Same children racing motorbikes the size of large trikes and learning to read in a camper. Their parents lovers from a generation that still believes in love. Ours. Food that tastes like it came from the earth and was seasoned with salt from the ocean breeze. An ocean-eyed guy nose-riding a longboard with a dog named Rosa- no plan but to nose-ride.
What does it mean to be a traveler? Someone who is happier on the move than settling in. A person who seeks the novelty of an off-shore wind in a foreign place.
The girl with mermaid hair, the guy with sunscreen he doesn’t wash off of his face.
The yogini who knows she can take her mat and a few bags and be gone with a smile.
Wish it all into existence.
Lets talk about being in flow.
Yoga. Surfing. Laughing with your best friends OR the adventurers you meet along the way. Driving through unknown roads in foreign lands with music you love that will trigger specific memories later- peering through dust encrusted windshields at dawn to make it to the next spot. You must lust after what you love because you are young and on the run for dreams, not from something- but towards making those memories. Sprinting along the edge of where water defines the separation of land like that thin line you ride when you practice martial arts- the fight, the flight, the freeze, the pause, the past, the future.
Attending my first jiujitsu class with that black-belt Frenchman who donates his time teaching to see the local kids laughter and progress. Tri-lingual, he teaches in Spanish better than mine on a soccer field at night and drinks wine afterwards saying, “Why, my mother would not have it any other way” wearing a beanie in the cold evening air of the Baja Peninsula. I think I could fill you in on every detail if you wanted to know- but there are some things better left out on the open road.
It was as if we could eat daylight and taste sunsets.
The colors were those muted blue hues you see after people process photos- but it was what we woke up to- and the dirt dry desert- and the strange cactus green that crawled along parts of the cliffs trying to mistake itself for vegetation.
Baja is dirt, sand, wind, and then the ocean expanse of the extension of the California Coastline.
We are consumers, but we care for our environment- travelers who need nice things to make our way through the world. We also give back- through our passions, our laughter, our love.
What were we hunting? Wave trains and novelty. Maybe meaning.
Secret salt flats. Standing on roofs of places to check waves unnamed or mountain tops above aegean lapis lazuli looking seas.
Hiking to villages no one you know has ever heard of and will most likely never ever see unless maybe they view your photo, taken through your perspective.
What do you leave when you leave home? Belongings or lost love or things you might reminisce about later. And what do you bring with you?
All of the bikinis of course. and board shorts. your yoga mat. surfboards.
Don’t forget wax and maybe a head lamp in case your car doesn’t start (that happened too).
What makes us different than your average crew? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
Maybe my fancy camera gear, or Caitlyn’s tattooed freckles, maybe Ken’s definitive jaw line against a silhouetted scene.
We come with the same humanness, the same songs sung into the night of different tragedies and joys and starlight that burns our eyes with hope.
We come with that same desire to change the world, even though we know we could just be kind to one another as a start- but we are young enough and wild enough in spirit to think maybe we will.
And then there are the things you pack in your bags: clothes you’ve had since high school, or something you picked up for a festival, the yoga pants you won in that contest on Instagram, the shirt your best friend gave you- they all fit in to your bag, you’re not sure how, but they made it.
And the other thing. your softness and your bruises.
The way you think you look in photos that someone is taking from a distance.
The need to be loved, desire for friendship, the sword you draw when the martial arts don’t work.
Have you been star gazing when there are zero lights from buildings at night?
Have you seen stars that not only fall, but burst and explode when they are shooting? I did that.
I did that with a boy named Scotty and his dog Rosa while playing the ukulele after a fish dinner caught out front and cooked in tin foil in the stones of the fire. He was the one without the plan other than being on the nose of his long-board longer than anyone. It’s working for him.
He is so focused on what he loves- he might become famous someday. And in the culture we’ve created, or that we have come into (depending on your age group)-there is something to that. A single line of focus. A retaliation against the cell phone.
The potential to be famous for actually being good at something, or making a great product. or caring about an environmental issue and actually knowing what the issue is.
We drove through towns where people used fallen palm fronds to swipe flies away, sitting drinking old coffee on Sundays in the heat, horses nearby, barefoot children looking wide eyed at our surfboards strung up across the tops of our cars.
Everyone is given the chance to evolve. it’s inherent. you could almost refer to it as a human right- or a human rite.
SO, in Baja. My car wouldn’t start and we left it that way for days.
We ran through a plaza like kids doing cartwheels and handstands because it was beautiful and we felt free.
A man with a mustache and long grey hair played my guitar. The one I’ve had since I was 18. He felt free too. He made margaritas and talked about Willie Nelson.
Someone started a fire and it was perfect.
Did you know that you can be in the middle of nowhere and have absolutely everything you need if you have your bags packed right and meet people who bring a camping stove?
We were ridiculous- we had the finest yoga pants as I mentioned and the nicest travel gear on the planet- but we had no more than a can opener and a french press- yes, some coffee- but no camping stove to heat the water.
Luckily for us, every single person we met had the best intentions. We met two guys who were on the road for a few months around day 10- they invited us, in sympathy, to use their camping stove.
Let me see. there was the moment we almost went off the road when I was driving.
But the part we remember is that I basically surfed the super treacherous turn like a boss and prayed not to roll the car off the cliff edge while fish tailing through two hairpin turns.
We truly believe it was the weight of our bags in the back of the car, packed heavily with the things we couldn’t leave at home, that kept us upright, pulse rates rising.
Or maybe it was the quality of the prayer, or karma, or the strong desire to keep adventuring. Maybe what kept us from flipping, or going over the edge out of control, so close to our destination and so far from home- was the sound of my friend Mike’s voice saying “pump the breaks” in my memory- as loud as if he was right there with me.
There was definitely a moment of silence after that happened. Some awkward laughter. We had talked endlessly for days prior, because for some reason between all of us were only three playlists, so the music got kind of old as the dust folded around the cars as we sped through the desert.
And sometimes we think we will change each other through conversation.
But we can’t change each other through anything, we might minutely change ourselves if we make decisions that broaden our bandwith. Travel is a start.
In the end, we are the difference between what we decide to say out loud, and what we keep to ourselves. It's like Jay-Z said- “I believe you can speak things into existence.”
We have this duty to each other, to tell the truth, to make the best of each situation but sometimes we pack our bags and hit the road and forget the rules and keep on.
We have to live absolutely enormously.
This concept of choosing to live in a beautiful state.
We have to go big, retreat. travel. adventure.
We need to be conscious and respect our product quality as consumers.
We need to listen when children speak- dash after them when they run in the road and show them the unique way to breathe for yoga.
Don’t run from what happens. Use it as a chance to grow.
The seeds you plant get some sun with a hint of salt water in the wounds, it’s okay.
We exposed ourselves to the elements.
A cliff edge camp sight in Scorpion Bay.
Sun exposure changes us and shows how much time we’ve been planeting. And if you’re lucky, how much time we’ve been planting.
And time exposes us.
These were our memories from Baja.
Learn More About: Janalyn Rose
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