A fellow traveler we recently ran into equated meeting other overlanders to speed dating. After the first 10 minutes of asking the easy question of “What did you do before you quit your job, hopped in a vehicle and decided to drive around the world?” is out of the way, the not so easy question of “Why?” is usually next. This seems to quickly lead to a much deeper discussion of people's world views or a personal life changing event. A few hours and drinks later the conversation may easily turn to relationship issues (because spending every single moment of every single day with the same person ain't easy) or bathroom habits (because diarrhea and where you're going to poop are real problems). Before you know it you're telling your most embarrassing stories and talking about religion and politics. Friendships that could take months to develop at home seem to happen overnight.
We came across Josh and Jenna online months before we left because they have the same camper we do. We were surprised to find out they were from Virginia because we hadn't heard of very many east-coasters doing this trip. Turns out that Jenna's birthday and mine were one day apart. For two days we celebrated by eating and drinking our way through the cute little coastal town of Todos Santos. On our second night we met Chris and Jenn, and also Isabella and Micheal, who had all been traveling together since they entered Baja. They were also headed to Argentina.
After a couple of days in a crowded RV park we made the decision to caravan to Playa San Peditro and camp together. The prospect of this made us a little nervous. Up to this point we always camped as far away from other campers as possible because we like our space. Our apprehension quickly disappeared. We parked in a close square to shield us from the wind, but everyone was cognizant of everyone else's personal space during the day, and came together at night to eat, drink and be merry. No one cared if you ducked into your camper for hours or even the whole evening. It was a total blast! After only one night we found ourselves saying...."So this is what caravaning is all about. We could get used to this!"
Deciding to make this our home base while our truck was being fixed, we dolefully said goodbye to everyone as they headed farther south. We were bummed that everyone left, but Jeff and Julie, surprising us by showing up the night before, lifted our spirits. We had missed them so there may have been some awkward, open armed, running hugs when they arrived. We spent a few final evenings together playing the awesome Finnish throwing game Mölkky (that they sell online), eating dinner together, and sitting around a campfire. They were headed to mainland Mexico and then home, so we sadly said our final farewells. Hopefully we'll see these two again in Quebec or Tennessee.
Han and Laura were a super cool couple from Canada who have been spending there winter months in Mexico for years. They came and went several times during our three week stay here, and also gave us their campsite that we'd been coveting since our arrival. Our Mexico map was finally dusted off and they showed us several cool places on the mainland.
Our next visitors were Krystina, Bernardo and their adorable beagle Helen. They let us escape the wind in their, way larger than ours, luxurious pop-up camper. Krystina cooked us dinner and they cuddled our sometimes grumpy Malta. We talked for hours about our trip plans, and they educated us on the current status of Venezuela, the country they were both born in. Unfortunately they were headed out the next morning so the meeting was short, but sweet.
Our final visitors were Jim, Rhonda and their two pups Porter and Aspen, and also Sunny, Karin and their dog Gracie (who are from Tennessee and came up with the speed dating analogy). We had been in contact with these two couples before we left on the trip so instead of catching the ferry we decided to stick around for a few days to meet them. We're certainly glad we did. It was a perfect last weekend in Baja. We'll always remember Jim's welcoming shot of tequila, Rhonda's delicious enchiladas and Sunny and Karin's hilarious story about their standoff with an over aggressive cockroach on steroids.
I would say that our whirlwind introduction to overland speed dating was a huge success and our conclusion from this experience is that all overlanders rock!