Baja: Where Bumpy Roads Meet Gentle Waves by Lukas Olesinski & Daniela Schwartz
For two weeks we put life on pause and enjoyed a nomadic surfer’s fantasy as we drove down the coast of Baja. The roads were desolate, endless, and empty. Joshua trees and cacti spanned the horizon; home was worlds away.
As the days went on, our skin grew accustomed to the sunscreen, salt and sunshine. Our hair became matted with wax. Body odor and beer became a lingering, consistent smell. Days unfolded effortlessly as we explored the coast for more swells.
Eventually, the waves and our current destination would line up. It was then we could slow down and appreciate Baja’s simple pleasures like waking up to a brilliant orange sunrise and a humid breeze. Trucks, tents, and van dwellers became our neighbors as we settled into the campsite. While it had only been a few days, the surrounding faces already felt friendly and familiar. We exchanged stories of the various, sometimes hazardous, routes south and why we came to Baja. Ultimately, everyone had the same reason: find empty waves off the beaten path.
And that we did. The warm, empty, peeling rights were plentiful. Steep or rolling waves could be found in a one mile radius. It’s no wonder people traveled far and wide to surf here. We’d share waves until our backs were too burnt and our arms too sore. Afterwards, we’d sit peacefully doing nothing, appreciating our surroundings, as our bodies rested.
What we experienced may not be everyone’s dream, but for us it was a perfect balance between uncomfort and excitement. The language barriers, non potable water and wrong turns at nightfall kept us in check, while the waves, cheap tacos and the foolhardy community of traveling surfers outweighed any uncertainties.
Words by Daniela Schwartz
Imagery by Lukas Olesinski