Photo by Margot Duane

When each thing is lived through to the end there is no death and no regrets, neither is there a false spring time; each moment lived pushes open a greater, wider horizon from which there is no escape save living.

– Henry Miller

In 2002, I packed the remains of a life I no longer wanted into the back of my silver Nissan pickup and drove west across Canada, South down the Pacific Coast Highway and across the border into Mexico. Stopping just short of the tip of the Baja Peninsula, I settled in the tiny village of Cabo Pulmo where I learned the ins and outs of off-the-grid living and community-based conservation. While following my dream to learn to surf, I’d stumbled across a unique coral reef in the Sea of Cortez that needed protection. The resulting adventures I had with waves, sea turtles and the “occasional” man are the focus of a memoir I’m writing.

Today, 13 years after moving to Mexico, I still live on an isolated beach, just a little further south on the peninsula, with a posse of four dogs and an illiterate, sometimes savant gardener who often speaks in a tongue that even the locals don’t understand. I surf as often as I can, kiteboard when the wind blows, and otherwise write, do yoga, hang out with a couple of Huichol shamans, and contemplate just how much life has changed since the days when I worked long hours in Canada as an environmental biologist. In addition to my memoir, this personal blog, and the odd poem, I’ve written a few things for The Scuttlefish, an ocean-focused online magazine and read for The Rumpus, home of Cheryl Strayed’s “Dear Sugar,” occasionally. I hope my musings, shared here, will inspire others to follow their dreams…change their lives…contribute in some small way to their finding the happiness we all seek.

11 thoughts on “About

  1. Some people only dream of what you’ve done. Doing it is a whole different thing, I know, I did it myself. My next goal is to have a small home near the sea (Black Sea, no sharks). Think we found it in Abkhazia. Anyway will be back to read more about your journey.

    • Thank you Darren!! Yes, life is good…I still struggle at times, which you’ll learn if you read my blog, but I know underneath it all that I have SO much to be grateful for. Mainly I’m just happy I took life by the horns and followed my dream.

  2. ive gone to Arizona twice , this winter and last. Ive met like minded women who have followed dreams such as yours. they have travelled in an rv, landed in apache junction and many travel back and forth from canada to the us annually. they hike , swim, play music as i do and basically live a life that we can only dream about, or thought we could do. ive always said, truth is stranger and much richer than fiction!! Surf on!!

  3. I wondered, as I read your description of your ’19’ experience… how close your previous experience with asthma had brought you… to death.
    I have been ‘near’ more times than I can count… I remember machines sighing … when I couldn’t.
    I find those with ‘near’ experience speak a nuance others cannot grasp… no failure of eloquence with expression/writing; a failure of grasp by those … inexperienced.
    It is experience, after all, that allows us the gift of speaking, without translation.
    Your writing of ‘past transgressions’… made me wonder if you know the work of Alice Miller? Once upon a time, I found her ‘Drama of the Gifted Child’, and thought (based on title alone), I might have found a book to help me better understand my daughter…
    Instead, I found a brilliant analysis of culture, assumed roles for children in that culture, and the abuses encouraged/permitted by those ‘cultivating’ acceptable ‘offspring.’ Another work “Thou Shalt Not Be Aware”, is an acute analysis of encouraged/ingrained cultural systems of child ‘management’ (=abuse). A formidable mind, hers. (https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3335.Alice_Miller)
    In the interim, I do hope your recovery is as complete as possible (I read distressing reports of survivors suffering 20-30% lung capacity loss — that kinda sucks for snorkeres/divers). In my experience, asthma has already granted me that… in my experience, like you write, the number 10 … in terms of life experience, relationship, the reality of LIVING versus being, merely, alive… can be infinitesimal.
    I send best wishes for the life of your dreams, the hopes of your heart, and the fulfillment of a purpose beyond your grasp… after all ‘our reach should exceed our grasp — or what’s a heaven for?’
    That poem, Andrea del Sarto, by Robert Browning, has always struck me as sublime insight into the human … condition?
    And I thank you for your writing, your insight, and your courage…
    and we can talk about good tequila?

    Ken Hazelip

  4. Thank you for your comments Ken. I visited your website and your photos are spectacular!! Regarding death and my near experience of it – my asthma has never been that bad. It has always provoked bad coughing fits, but never the life threatening attacks I’ve seen others have. In my case it was probably having lightning go through me that is the closest I’ve come, but then again when I was 10 I also experienced septicemia from a botched appendectomy that gave me a fever of 105 and caused me to hallucinate that the walls of my hospital room were bleeding. I’ve also participated in traditional peyote ceremonies with the Huichol Indians here in Mexico and had experiences I would consider similar to near death or at least very much gave me a view of the universe and death’s place in it. You can read about those experiences here on my blog. I hope you will.

  5. Dawn, As a longtime, (like minded) friend of Ron and Saroj, I found your blog. I have spent the last 25 winters in La Ribera. If you ever come to La Ribera, stop by the house on the corner of Mijares and Santa Maria Cosio. Saludos, Steve (Esteban) 130-0204

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