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  • The man who owns this van lives on the coast of the Sea of Cortez midway up the Baja peninsula, near a small town famous among kite boarders for the consistent winds that blow just off shore.

    He spends his days on the water with his kite and his evenings performing with his guitar in the local bars. He spends his nights sleeping in this van.

    Kite season corresponds with the dry winter months and during this time the rivers that drain into the sea cease flowing. Enterprising kiters and wind surfers capitalize on this peculiarity of climate and geography and at the beginning of each season setup small tent colonies on the temporary real estate conjured out of the river deltas. This red van is often parked on the outskirts of one of these settlements.

    In the early evenings these arroyo dwellers can generally be found gathered around a campfire in the riverbed or at one of the small nearby beach bars. Every night, ballenas (liter bottles of beer) and joints are consumed, kiting escapades and personal dramas of the day are discussed, stories are told and life and philosophy are discoursed upon. But kiting is the priority and the nights end early. As the fires die down the arroyo dwellers retire to their vans or campers or sleeping bags in the sand.

    One night I joined a group of long haired men in the cool windy darkness around one of the fires. I asked them why they came to this place. One man told me that he could never sleep through the night until he came here. He worked a corporate job in Canada for many years before walking away from it all with the plan to travel for a year. He discovered this place and is still here, ten years later. He said it was the nights on the sand, under the stars that made him stay. He owns a piece of land a few hundred meters inland, but he still sleeps in the arroyo with his friends. Another quit his job and sold his possessions after a divorce. After a two years of traveling he stopped here. Another graduated from college and for six months worked as an IT engineer in Oklahoma City. After a fateful visit to Baja to see a friend, he resigned from his job and returned permanently.

    One of them asked me how long I was staying. I said a week. They nodded politely but I could tell I was now an outsider. As I stood in the sand a silence came over the group. After a moment one of the men stepped forward and held up his ballena and said, "cheers guys, cheers to living the life other people dream about."
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