As some of you may know, I’ve up and skipped town for a summer sojourn out west. While I’m a bit belated – by three weeks or thereabouts – in posting news of my departure (or really anything for that matter), I’ve decided that the lessons learned thus far and those still-to-be-acquired on this short trip are still worth sharing.
The plan is/was as follows:
- San Diego, CA – 1 week
- San Jose del Cabo, Mexico – 3 days
- Rancho La Venta, Baja Sur, Mexico – 1 month ← I am here
- Love Apple Farm, Santa Cruz, CA – 2+ months
- Monterrey/Big Sur, CA – 1 week
- Utah – 1-2 weeks
To experienced travellers I imagine this sounds like a quick vacay, no biggie – but alas I do not yet qualify as particularly “well-travelled” and as such consider this more of an “epic self-led quarter life crisis summer camp adventure.”
Why now, though? Why here? What even is Rancho La Venta? Aren’t there farms near Philadelphia? Don’t you have a great boyfriend and a great apartment…not to mention plenty of potential jobs and educational programs to pursue? Why any of it?
All good questions. All questions I’m hoping to have a better answer for afterwards.
All I know now is that I needed to go.
After twenty-six years living in Philadelphia, things were finally beginning to become unbearable. Environmental stagnancy, reappearing (and newly emerging) bad habits, and an ever-increasing awareness that a whole lot of my values and goals were going to be quite tough to pursue from a third-floor apartment in the thick of the concrete jungle of South Philly built up like a short shake and a bottle of kombucha to get my ass moving.
This sudden restlessness made me more keenly aware of a frustration that’s also been building over the year and a half since I started exploring careers in food, food systems, and the like a year and a half ago. Shackled by my urban locale and inconvenient resume of administrative strengths, my attempts to get more intimately acquainted with the source of my food were met with many hours hunched over a computer screen instead of the intended crouched in a chicken coop.
I hate cubicles. I told my mom that after my first desk job after high school. I told her I would never work in a place where I had to dress like that and sit in a fucking box (well, at the time just “box”) every day.
And somehow I had ended up back in one.
Screw this. That’s basically where I got to.
After a quick inventory of all the things I know I love in life (a good shower after a hard day’s work in the dirt, cooking a meal for friends and family, a good canter past a tree-lined river bank, shopping the farmers market with no more plan than spend the cash and fill the basket, a fine glass of artisanal beer – or cider or wine – paired with the perfect bite, being a know-it-all about something I actually know it all about, freshly-picked fruits and vegetables unadorned, a drink (or two or three) with good friends, the feeling of sweat dripping down my sternum, an impeccably casual tasteful tablescape…you get the gist) I started my research.
Anyway. Many hours of interneting, emailing, Skyping, and booking later, here I am. In Mexico. On a hobby ranch. With no contact to the outside world except in the five foot radius around a router from 2004.
I’m here to work (hard). I’m here to learn (anything I can). I’m here to ride (horses, paddleboards, boats, pick-ups, you name it). I’m here to eat (yes, I do love tacos). I’m here to think (and not think). I’m here to go (with the flow). I’m here to figure (it out). I’m here to search (yeah sorry: my soul). I’m here to live.
And hopefully, when I return, I’ll have a better idea about where the real me wants to go next.
I can’t promise anything, but I’m going to try to find the time, energy, and internet to post a bit about the things I’ve been doing, the thoughts I’ve been thinking, and the lessons I’ve been learning. Stay tuned.