Shift in Perspective

I wanted to share an experience I had a few weeks back about a major shift in perspective. I drove down to Baja California from San Diego with my girlfriend Sonya to visit Matt and Claire, longtime friends of mine who live just outside of Ensenada in a beautiful little place called Guadalupe Valley. We had a great trip overall, we went on some cool hikes, tasted wonderful wine and ate some amazing food. We spent the weekend down there and on Sunday morning we were all packed and ready to head back up north.

 On our way up we made a quick stop at a nice lunch place that my buddy goes to all the time. The plan was to grab a bite to eat and then head north and hit a few surf spots on the way up. Well, about 10 minutes into our meal the chef comes out and announces to the restaurant that someones car got broken into. We went out to where the car was parked behind the restaurant and sure enough my awesome Highlander had a window smashed and much of my gear had been stolen. I’ve never had any theft issues in all my travels and my friend knew the restaurant and it was a nice area so I didn’t really think about it.

They ended up going through the car and taking a few bags which included my passport, iphone, super awesome kindle, all my clothes and some other stuff. Total bummer! The good news is my surf gear and Sonya’s stuff went untouched. Anyhow, it was a major hassle and had to spend nearly the entire day trying to figure out where to go to file reports to get the necessary paperwork to cross back into the U.S. By the time we got it all figured out it was late afternoon and decided to skip the surf (partly because we were exhausted and partly because I had a rear passenger window missing it probably wouldn’t be wise to leave the car in the shape it was in). We charged straight north passing some absolutely amazing surf along the way which made the whole thing way more difficult.

We eventually made it to the border and hit the craziest traffic of all time. Just to add insult to the situation we sat in about five hours of traffic (no exaggeration) to get to the border. When we first got stuck and were ever so slowly making our way through the ghetto of Tijuana I was pretty pissed. That was literally the last place I wanted to be. As time went on I really began to think about why I was so upset. Here I was with all this material wealth (minus iphone and the other gear) but all I could focus on was what was taken from me. As we inched along and passed by many extremely poor people panhandling along the side of the road (often entire families begging together) it hit me like a ton of bricks how truly lucky I was. I’ve got absolutely nothing to complain about. What a strange thing to think about that depending on which side of the border you’re born makes a whole world of difference.

I spent the rest of the ride feeling grateful for what I had and also I felt deeply for the many people who aren’t so lucky. I’ve crossed the border probably 100 times but this was the first time that I crossed with any real heart involved. Normally I’m just thinking about getting to the other side. It probably wasn’t the greatest surf trip I’ve ever had to Mexico but it definitely taught me something I won’t forget.  

Sebastian SlovinComment