After almost two years of living on the road in a El Presedente, I’ve arrived at a spot I’ll stay awhile.
I first visited The Surf Farm in October when the end of the wet season had left it bursting in gorgeous greens entwined with spurts of tropical colour.
I tasted the life where stationary living means investing in the land nature has lent us and working with it, not against it. Feeding it with love and nutrients over greed and chemicals. I was captured by Jesse’s enthusiasm for the place, his zest for making a difference and building somewhere where the land might sustain him and his family whilst he shares his ideas and teachings with the local community and those who come to enjoy the waves. So When he asked me whether I would return in a few months to look after the Farm whilst he was in Australia, I said, “Hey, why not, I do not have anywhere else to be.”
I have returned to a different land, one of crispy, cracked leaves and dusty eves. Where despite the apparent dry, nature is returning the efforts of previous months with bananas and papayas begging to be made into scrumptious morning meals and post surf smoothies. There is a charge in the air as the first sprinkling of rain taunts the dry season and begs nature to change her pallet. Or perhaps it is the charge of positive ions rolling in on southerly swells, waiting to turn countless empty breaks into wet dreams.
When I accepted the offer, I found myself filled with feelings of apprehension and excitement. Both feelings born out of the idea of staying in one place for longer than just a few weeks. Being on the road has, for me, become some kind of comfort. A way to be. The driving, for no other reason than to be on the move, the not knowing from day to day where I will be, or having to be anywhere at all. It is a freedom that I would fight unashamedly to keep. So committing to one place for me is like having one of those headless pimples that you can feel brewing, knowing it is not ready to pop but have to use all your effort to resit trying. Though I know that being in one spot awhile will bring its rewards. For one it brings the comfort of a desk with power that I might find the focus to write the words that lull me to sleep every night.
So here I am two weeks in, starting to find a rhythm, wake up with the breaking of light, surf, breakfast, read until I fall asleep book in face, wake up, lunch, walk dog – an excuse to check the surf, surf / photograph, dinner followed by more reading or Spanish study if I can muster the brain power, sleep. Save the dog and lack of driving, not far off my days on the road. Though behind the simplicity there is one question the plagues me. What to do about El Presedente?
You see it appears that bureaucracy, as almost always is the case, has thrown its grease covered spanner in the works and does not allow for a life of just being, taking it day by day. It is forcing me to make a decision of what next by putting the arbitrary limit of 60 days a year for a foreign plated car to be in the country.
Truth is, it is a question that has been in the back of my mind since before bureaucracy put its dirty stamp on it. The simplicity of my life and the hours of driving with only my thoughts for company have brought me an ever greater consciousness. Consciousness as to my effect on those around me, my effect on the world. And this has me feeling hypocritical. How can I advocated for simple living and reducing consumption when I am driving a giant V8 beast around? Sure my footprint is still far smaller than most of the western world, but that doesn’t mean I can not reduce further. Besides I often look at everything in the van and think I have too much stuff.
So perhaps this is a preemptive goodbye to El Presedente and for the time being to VanLife. I have committed to stay here until July/August and I am keen to see that through. To let the lessons of life on the road sink in and see what teachings life on the Surf Farm will provide. Excited by the possibilities that may open up in that time and relieved at being able to live my life day by day with no concern for a future that is yet to come. A future that I am free to create as I desire. Maybe that is just sentiments from the afterglow of a solo surf session under a sky rippled in pinks and purples, but putting it into words seems to make it final. What will happen to El Presedente remains to be decided. If you are reading this and would like to try out VanLife with little commitment, then come down to the Farm and take El Presedente for an adventure. Hell come down to the Farm anyway just to say hi and surf empty waves.