In the last post I almost didn’t talk about other people that were with me on the farm because I decided that I should dedicate entire post for this issue, since it is the most significant part of the experience.
Lisa and Travis are the owners of the farm. They are couple in their forties from California that decided to leave US and move here just a few years ago after trying different locations in South California. The main reason why they moved here was a search for more freedom from the over controlling government and for less stressful environment. Both of them had very stressful jobs and they just tired from the “rat race” that exists in American society. Their first attempt to escape was still in the states almost 10 years ago when they bought a trailer and started living off the grid near San Diego. As a hobby they started to grow vegetables and raise some animals. They tried with chickens, pigs and goats. Lisa started to make cheese and yogurt from the goat milk that they had and slowly, by trying different things and flavors, using very simple equipment she started to make very good cheeses and her friend even asked her to sell them some. The idea of doing that for living was soon to come.
Travis is a big fan of dirt bikes, he participated in many races and even won Baja 2000 race. He visited Baja California for races and vacation many times and he loved this place because of the empty space in the desert and many beautiful hidden spots that you can find only after hours of riding off road. So when the government started to make some bureaucratic problems the idea of moving to Baja and do the things that they liked popped up.
If you don’t know, US government really don’t like the idea of people living off the grid. For example they can tell you to build a bridge over a small stream by their house because a fire truck can’t pass there in the case of emergency or some other nonsense like that. They can create many problems and use different excuses, but I think the main reason is that you can’t control people who live off the grid and if you live on this planet you probably noticed that controlling our lives is one of the biggest hobbies for people who have power.
So now they created a little paradise in the middle of the desert. Working hard everyday to make their farm better. They sell their cheeses, yogurts and raw milk at the local markets to make their living. On Sundays they go the beach that is completely empty and only other 5 people who live in the are sometimes stopping to say hello. They don’t have TV or cell phone reception, only limited satellite internet for the necessities. Or in another words – they are living simple life and enjoy simple things, they feel free and happy, they work hard but it’s never boring. Looking at them made me think that is possible to find a perfect environment and create a personal paradise.
Thomas was the first wwoofer that I met and I was immediately fascinated by this extraordinary guy. Long red hair and beard, very unusual tattoos, a wandering look and a big smile gave me know that at least the guy will be interesting. It took me some time to understand who is really hiding under a big shell that Thomas has. I realized that there is a beautiful soul of poet and agricultural enthusiast, but he still didn’t solve the conflict that almost everybody has – what to do if society tell you to do things that contradict your being? We had many wonderful conversations, sharing our visions while many hours of work under the burning sun of Baja.
After he left, another wwoofers came. Alex and Natalia, a Russian couple that travel the world for almost 2 years, mostly hitchhiking. When I heard about them I was excited because it was long time since my last conversation in Russian. But I was soon disappointed – when they arrived they told me clearly that they are not interested in speaking with me in Russian because they want to improve their English and Spanish skills. To help improve my rusted Russian wasn’t their concern. They still seemed like nice people so it took me some time to loose my hope. But eventually I realized that they are too concentrated into themselves as a couple (more true about Natalia) or as a person (more about Alex). After hearing some of their views on environment (they don’t think that personal water preservation is important for example) or politics (they think that Putin is a good leader for everybody in Russia because there is no one better then him and apparently political prisoners not really concern them) I realized that this lack of understanding or compassion for other people may create some difficulties in communication between us.
Unfortunately these difficulties crossed the line of just conversations and impacted the work as well. Alex was lacking any skills and even the process of physical work seemed like a suffering for him regardless if it was milking goat, cleaning the pits, digging tranches or building the fence. If you add to that his arrogance it created the situation that it was almost impossible to work – not only he did things wrong all the time but also he was sure he is doing them right and got very defensive to any advice from my side. The only good thing that he was good for is cooking – he loved that and did it very well. He cooked a few very good dishes that he called pizza and lasagna, I would call it a pie with lots of tomato sauce and many different cheeses. Anyway it was delicious and of course he was extremely proud of it, and also extremely arrogant. Working with Natalia was much better. She wanted to learn and really enjoyed the entire progress from milking till making cheese. Also she didn’t think that the universe is turning around her.
Overall it was very good learning experience for me because never before that I faced the situation that I need to be around people like them, work with them and share the sleeping place for more then a day. While living on the road I got used to ignore them and look for a better match for me on the next day. Luckily they left after 10 days.
The last couple that came was almost complete opposite. Kyle and Lynea were lovely, kind and smart. They left the states more then 2 years ago, lived and worked in India as teachers, volunteered on many other farms in Central America before coming here. They wanted to share their experiences with us and even wanted to help to Etgar (16 years old kid that helped with different projects to Travis) and didn’t receive any formal education for the last few years. I wish I had more time with them than two weeks, but the busy daily routine and fun Sundays on the beach with beers and tequila make the time disappear and I found myself on the road again.
It was very difficult to say goodbye to Lisa and Travis, Kyle and Lynea, Etgar, goats and dogs, the deserts, huge cacti, everything. But that’s part of this type of traveling – you get connected to the people and the environment, which make it hard to leave and the longer you stay the harder it is.