I get asked all the time what brought you to Todos Santos? I’m always a little confused as to why that’s the first question people ask as they travel through Todos Santos. It always leaves me confused about how to answer, my first instinct is always “por que no?” Well why not? I find people to be fascinating and everyone has a story of where you’ve been and where you are going. I just never received the same question living in other places. Do people really ask a new acquaintance why do you live in Oregon? Why Seattle, New York or Montana? Why do you live in Canada?
Living in San Francisco for five years before moving to Todos Santos all I knew is that I didn’t want to live in a city anymore. During my time there I craved more and more to be outdoors and would look up hikes in the surrounding areas and sometimes would travel 3-6 hours just to get a sense of some outdoor magic without the heavy crowds. I would choose the wrong time to go get groceries and would spend hours stuck in traffic. Those moments I would think about my life in terms of how many days or weeks have been spent sitting in these traffic jams when they were all added up. The countless hours being stuck in traffic as I tried to escape the hustle of the city to go on hikes became taxing on my soul.
I knew that I wanted to move once I graduated from my jewelry program. I had always dreamed of living near a beach one day and I wanted to be in a warmer place. I had also wanted to expand my horizons of living in a foreign country for a year but when I really thought about it I had two main criteria for where I wanted to move. It had to be cheaper and warmer. Truthfully I could have moved to a lot of places that would have met all those requirements, and I feel as if I could have picked anyplace. I could have really thought and planned somewhere to move.
I wanted an escape. I was also running away from some personal things happening in my life at that point so the sooner out of the city the better. I picked Todos Santos because it was easy. Having spent a couple weeks here prior I felt as if it would be an easy transition because I had met a few people that lived here already. A few short months after visiting I sold most of my belongings, packed the car and just left. I signed a 5 month lease with the thought of figuring it out where I want to go after that. Then I just never left because then Todos Santos picked me. I found a lifestyle I didn’t even know I was looking for. I have been manifesting living by the beach most of my life but just never expected it to be in Mexico.
It’s not always easy to be in a different country. Mexico in particular is much more relaxed and more suitable for me but there’s a saying “Mañana doesn’t mean tomorrow it just means not today.” I think most expats can agree on the one thing that you give up living here is convenience. It can be a big transition to try and figure out the ways of another culture. It’s not convenient to have the wifi go out when you have an important zoom call. It’s not convenient to be told your car or plumbing will be fixed by a certain day but then be waiting weeks for the real results. It’s not convenient to have to make multiple stops in town to gather ingredients for dinner. It’s not convenient to try and get money out of the ATM and have it be empty. Spending prolonged time in Mexico has made me a very patient person but the beauty and culture of the country makes everything worth it. If you find yourself broken down on the side of the road, usually someone will try and take the time to help you right away. People are kind here and the community looks after each other.
Pre-pandemic I’ve described Baja as a place that can be very isolating. When I first moved here almost 7 years ago there were only a handful of people in my age group, and you hung out with them if you liked them or not. Those people welcomed me with open arms and showed me all of their favorite spots around the peninsula. So many things are changing with so many new people moving to the area but a few things haven’t. The sun is always shining and the people are always smiling. I’ve never lived somewhere you can make lifelong friends sitting down for tacos. Sitting on crowded buses in San Francisco even if you look up from your phone to acknowledge someone else it’s highly unlikely that person is looking to connect.
You may come for the beach and the warm weather but you stay for the people and the like minded souls. I say it’s not an easy choice to move here because you also give up a lot of things you may think are important. This kind of lifestyle isn’t for everyone but when you let go of the little things you see a bigger world open to you. So many small seemingly easy tasks can take days or weeks to figure out. Baja will try and test your patience.
However the community is unlike any I’ve experienced before. When someone opens up a new restaurant or is under new ownership you show up and show your support.
I have met more amazing people here randomly out and about at taco stands, the beach, markets, events and through other friends here more than I ever have anywhere else in the world. There’s something about this location that makes time slow down. You really get the sense to appreciate what’s right there in front of you.
The motto I live by is “everything happens exactly as it’s supposed to happen”. When you choose happiness one step at a time you build a better life for yourself and those around you. There’s no ‘right’ way to live your life. I had to let go of the ‘shoulds’ in my life. I should be getting married and having kids, I should be hustling for my career, I should be closer to family. Instead I replaced those with ‘could’ and then followed my heart. I believe as my mom told me growing up that you can do anything you put your mind to. So start thinking of what you dream of for your life and thinking of ways to make that happen. Spend some time researching it to make it happen then let go of the fear of failing. You can always go back to the life you have now so I encourage you to try and make that change for a better life. This doesn’t have to be a big change and a move to a new country but could just try that new thing you always wanted to.