Four years ago, I was working in a job that I didn’t love, in a city that never felt like home....
I had just discovered zero waste and had been accepted into graduate school.
Part of my Master’s program was an annual study abroad trip, and for the first trip, I had been placed in the Baja program.
I was terrified of open water and simply reading the word “snorkeling” on the itinerary sent me into hyperventilation at my office desk.
Fast forward a few months, and I was about to leave for Baja, but with a side trip before. I had decided to visit a friend in Tacoma, a city at the time I knew only as “not Seattle.”
I was only here for two days, but as I sat in the airport to depart for San Diego, I told myself I would move here one day.
When we arrived in Baja, I was hesitant. I was reserved and unsure.
On day one at the Vermilion Sea Field Station, we were divided into groups based on our snorkeling history. I was in Group 1, the group for those of us that had never snorkeled or had never had a positive experience snorkeling.
Our fearless leader Meghann sat us down and walked us through the equipment, how to breathe through our mouths and how to use the fins.
When we were ready, we slowly made our way into the water. Holding hands with a new friend, who incidentally was from Tacoma and later became my roommate, we explored this new world below the water’s surface. We began to gain some confidence, and the next day on the boats, we started to feel at ease.
By the time our trip was coming to an end, a mere few days later, I had explored beautiful and colorful underwater ecosystems. I had laid on a boat gazing out over hundreds of dolphins. I had even swam with whale sharks and sea lions.
The water felt like home, and I never wanted to leave.
On our last night, we all chose a pebble from the beach. We took turns sharing one thing we were taking home with us from Baja, and one thing we were leaving behind.
I affectionately call this moment my Baja Breakdown.
In tears, I announced that I would be taking home with me a renewed love of conservation and exploration, and leaving behind a fear of trying new things.
I threw that pebble carrying what I was leaving behind as far into the Gulf of California as I could, and I’ve carried these lessons with me since.
Less than four years later, my life has completely transformed.
I’ve moved to Tacoma, this city I adore. I’ve launched my dream business, and I’ve made incredible, lasting friendships. Vermilion Sea Institute has become A Drop in the Ocean’s 1% for the Ocean conservation partner.
And now, this year, I am creating and holding space for others to experience that magic and wonder of Baja.
And I want you to join me.
If you, too, could use some Baja magic, or even just a retreat from the daily grind, simply click on the image below for all of the details about how to be part of the first-ever Baja EcoWarrior Retreat.
I truly hope to see you there.