Sailing the Sea of Cortez with a Man I Met on a Shuttle Bus (Random Travel Moment #8)

John on deck

Where Was I?

I’d just landed at the Los Cabos Int’l Airport in Baja California, Mexico, and was inquiring about cheap transportation to La Paz, my destination. I met a kinda loco timeshare salesman who convinced me to take a seemingly pricey shuttle (EcoBajaTours) with AC and wifi. I went for it and was soon chilling out in the van, looking forward to beginning my ‘vacation.’

Little did I know that in a matter of days, I’d actually be having an ‘adventure’—sailing on a sailboat (SV Time Piece) with a guy named John Spicher, whom I met on that shuttle.

Here’s the story re: how this random encounter led to a unexpected journey…

John on deck

How’d We Meet?

The shuttle driver told me that I had to wait, that there’d be one more passenger. Minutes later, a guy got on and sat up front. He had green eyes, brown hair and a beard and looked about my age. We said hello and introduced ourselves, and I wondered where he was from. His accent was unfamiliar.

I learned that he was from Seattle (Oregon, originally) and was returning home to his sailboat after being in the U.S for a few months. His destination: La Paz, the same as mine.

He lives on a boat? I thought. That’s cool. Someone interesting to pass the time with during the ride.

How’d the Invitation Come About?

During our conversation, I mentioned my blog—and my tendency to prefer off-the-beaten-path adventure, etc. I also explained how I was totally ‘going with the flow’ on this trip—as in:

a) I decided to visit Mexico pretty much at the last minute
b) I had no real plans for the next 5 weeks (only that I have to get up to California by August 20th or so)

I asked him some questions about sailing and the more he talked about it (the guy’s been doing it since ago 8, by the way), the more intrigued I became.

“What does it feel like to sail?” I asked. I’d done it once and it was a day-long party, nothing more. “Do you feel a certain sense of freedom when out there?”

“Yes,” he said, with a look in eyes that made me want to have the experience, too.

SV Time Piece

‘Adventure, not excursion’

One thing led to another and….

He invited me to sail with him to some uninhabited islands north of La Paz and perhaps stay for a night or two.

I said, “That sounds like a cool excursion.”

“Adventure, not excursion,” he corrected me.

I laughed hard. I knew what he meant.

Close to the end of the ride, when he saw that I was truly up for adventure, the invitation changed into a longer one—an entire week. He said that he needed to test out his boat anyway, to make sure it was OK for a longer trip he’d soon be taking.

Did I accept the invitation?

Of course!

Why Did He Invite Me?

Why would someone who lives alone on a boat invite a stranger along to sail for a week?

I asked, and he said it was my ‘adventurous attitude.’ Also, the fact that I was carrying a backpack (PS: his was even smaller than mine).

“If you’d had a suitcase,” he said, “I wouldn’t have invited you.”

How Did It Go?

A few days after we met, once preparations were made, we set off.

So how was my first experience sailing? Was I afraid? Did I get seasick? And what was it like to share 200 square feet of space with someone I didn’t know?

All I can say for now is that it was great! I really loved sailing—and for a multitude of reasons. More about this in future posts, but for now, I can tell you that it truly put me in the moment and in tune with nature; time actually slowed down. It was one of the more Taoist experiences I’ve had in a long time.

Warning re: the photo below. I was having one of many ‘bad hair days’… :)

Me having bad hair day

Me having one of many ‘bad hair days’

John in the kitchen

John unpacking and putting away the ‘provisions’

Your Thoughts? Reactions? Two Cents?

Think I’m loca for going sailing with a stranger?

Well, I did Google him first (somewhat futile because he’s pretty off the grid and there wasn’t much on him). The truth is–my intuition told me there was nothing to fear. Also, he’s as a former maritime safety engineer, which means he’s very safety oriented. I was not worried that the boat would catch on fire or sink… :)

If you’d been in my shoes, would you have accepted the invitation?

Why or why not?

Have you ever sailed for more than a day or two? Did you enjoy it? What was it like? Where were you and would you do it again? Are you now hooked, as I am?

Sea of Cortez

One of several beaches I kayaked to…

Like This Post? Then Check Out My Book!

If you enjoy reading about random encounters with the locals, then check out my recently published book, ‘Magic Carpet Seduction.’ There are many stories about going off the beaten path, being in the moment and going with the flow—and the cool stuff that happens along the way.

Meanwhile, feel free to sign up for my newsletter (click here) to be kept up-to-date re: future books and to learn, in advance, about upcoming discounts on my book.

And, if you’d like, check out some more ‘random travel moments‘ from ChickyBus.

9 Responses to Sailing the Sea of Cortez with a Man I Met on a Shuttle Bus (Random Travel Moment #8)
  1. Mila Cristobal-Shakya
    August 11, 2013 | 5:34 pm

    Wow! I still have to experience this! Thank you for sharing your adventure yet again! Hope you are continuing to have the adeventures of your life! Hugs and blessings, Lisa!

    • CB Driver
      August 13, 2013 | 9:59 pm

      Thanks, Mila, for reading along. It was a great adventure and I look forward to more!

  2. Maria
    August 11, 2013 | 8:27 pm

    I’d have gone, but I’d have copied his passport and the registration numbers on his boat – then hit the US state department website and registered there and sent the same info to a good friend. At least that way there’d have been a way to track me/him if I didn’t turn up in a reasonable amount of time.

    Glad your trip went well and you learned something new about yourself… you enjoy sailing!
    Maria recently posted..It Happened One NightMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      August 13, 2013 | 9:58 pm

      Hi, Maria. That sounds like a good idea! Maybe, if I’m in that situation again, I’ll do that.

  3. Hogga
    August 12, 2013 | 11:48 am

    i’ve always wanted to go sailing
    Hogga recently posted..My Friend Made a Travel BookMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      August 13, 2013 | 9:57 pm

      Have you? Cool. I think you’d like it…

  4. Laura Zera
    August 12, 2013 | 2:35 pm

    I’d have totally gone, and I think you’re right about trusting your gut about people. Also, some of my BEST adventures and experiences have been from going along with complete strangers who I’ve met on a bus or who picked me up on the side of the road… when I was sad… and maybe crying a little bit (and then I stayed with them for a week). Being open to things like your sailing adventure create the space for amazing, glorious things to happen. An interesting life, I think it’s called. :)
    Laura Zera recently posted..Let Me Give You a Quarter for the ShoesMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      August 13, 2013 | 9:57 pm

      Hi, Laura! So cool that you also do this sort of thing–going with the flow and accepting invitations, etc. It’s true that when you’re open to it, wonderful things can happen. An interesting life indeed!

  5. [...] that I’ve been here for about 2 weeks (1 week of which was spent sailing and 1 day in Todos Santos), I’m thinking that my trip has a deeper purpose that what I [...]

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