I danced in the tip toeing tides of the neon orange and pink hues of the cascading sky. A breathtaking view of jagged fiery mountain tops set upon the backdrop of a dream like reality. Feeling the deep bass flow through my body with every vibration, I twirl around to take in the moment. I see an array of colorful spinning umbrellas and flowing fabrics as if I’m living out the scene of a Mary Poppins musical on acid.
We were happy, we were wild, we were free, and we were in Mexico.
Whenever a trip down to Mexico seeks me out, I take it. I’ve always believed that theres something so magical about Mexico. Maybe its the beautiful ruins that hold mystery, maybe its prickly cactus aligning the dusty desert roads, maybe its the empty breaks along the coast, maybe its the simplicity of it all, or maybe its the idea that time is of the essence, and the only time that is important is the present, the moment, the now.
I lost track of time for a solid 10 days on this trip to Baja. Our only concept of time was burrito:30 or beer:30.
Our intentions were to surf, fish, lounge in the sun, and camp under the stars. We arrived to a rising
summer solstice full moon on a Monday evening. I awoke to a misty morning fog with an empty beach break and a building swell. I knew I was in for a treat, but little did I know that I would stumble upon festival of like minded humans and music that would move my soul.
We were three days into our trip when we decided to take a ride on our ATV down the sandy dunes to the
opposite side of a crashing point break. As we approached the last stretch of the destination, a giant dome with patterned clothes were being hung by each connecting pole. My mind flashed with delighted as I recalled my buddy had mentioned he would be DJ-ing at a festival in Baja around the same time that I would be down there. “Genius Loci,” he said. “You should find it!” I don’t know if I found it, or it found me, but I do know it was serendipity.
My mind was blown, we found it?!
I stopped to talk to the two guys six feet above us as they set up the playground-like dome. A brief introduction was made between me and a long haired guy that smiled as I told him my name. He explained that
it indeed was the festival that my friend had spoke of, and it would kick off tomorrow (Thursday) at 4pm.
We went back to camp to let the rest of our camping crew know what we had just discovered. I had one last sunset surf session alone at our camp and (hardly) went to bed, knowing that I would be at the festival tomorrow. Although I knew I was up for a challenge, seeing as though I had no tickets to get in and no money on hand. But as my dad always said, “if theres a will, theres a way.”
First thing next morning we drove over the set destination with our tent packed and strapped to the back of the ATV. I held on with one hand in hopes it wouldn’t fall off with every sandy bump we hit. We set up on the edge of what would be our new beach front property for the next week. With the first obstacle hurdled, next step was getting the rest of our stuff over there. But how? With the parking lot completely fenced in and blocked off, there wasn’t much way around it.
Thats when we ran into our smiley long haired friend again.
“Hey!”, he walked up with a walkie talkie strapped to his belt buckle, with an essence of importance. As we chatted with my proclaimed excitement, he mentioned he might have some extra tickets to give away since a few of his friends weren’t going to show up. I must have resembled Jim Carrey in The Mask, as my jaw dropped and my eyes popped with thrill at his offer.
We hauled ass back over to our abandoned camp, catching accidental air on the ATV (yet maintaining my ear to ear smile), to pack up the rest of our belongings. A winding dirt road led us to the entrance as the man with a purple fox tail and lady with a top hat greeted us waving Genius Loci wristbands. “Welcome!”
We made it. We were in!
I’ve never moved my grooving body so much in my life, I’ve never danced bare foot in the dirt while under the waning moon and into the rising sun, I’ve never felt so much eccentric and ecstatic energy, I’ve never connected to the ocean more, I’ve never experienced so much love from so many people in such a small amount of time…until Genius Loci.
Our camps were called homes, each home containing a different vibe to every tribe. Each tribe naming their home bases with intentions. Names like: “Camp No Judgement”, a camp that spoke for itself in the name, with acro-yoga sessions and morning back massages to loosen up after hours of dancing. “The Red Light District”, a camp that strung bright red lights all across their community of connecting tents and streaming above inflatable couches as a communal living room. “Pixie Palace”, a teepee tent where two girls created beautiful handmade jewelry and trinkets from treasures found on the beach. And our cliff side home that laid between two peeks resembling boob cleavage, dubbed as: “Camp Cleveland”.
Mornings consisted of Yerba Mate Lattes, beachside yoga, playing in the waves and deep conversations that will forever stick in my memory. Looking deep into the eyes of others and truly connecting to the moment that we were all so in love with. Mornings that melted into afternoon beach parties with DJ’s who set the mood of the setting sun. Welcoming the night as we danced in the rising moon. The oceans’ tide kissed sandy shoreline and sparkled under the luminescent sky. And for most of us, sleep was something we agreed to catch up on when we’re dead.
As Monday morning rolled around it was time for goodbyes, but it was a different sort of goodbye then any other I’ve experienced. It held energy of knowing that it wasn’t truly goodbye, but it was “I’ll see you again.” We packed up to set back upon our individual journeys, but innately recognizing our paths will cross again later down this adventurous road called life.
I look back and think about how I almost bailed on this trip down to Baja. For that, I will forever run with this idea: Take every adventure thrown your way, because you never know when will be your last day.
Baja you stole my heart, Punta Cabra you moved my soul, and Genius Loci you changed my life.
I will see you next year!