A lifestyle of sewing and surfing, life changes!
AUTHOR: Allison Burns
Traveling has been a passion of mine for several years, allowing me to go outside my comfort zones and connect with people while learning about their cultures. When pandemic restrictions in the U.S. were enacted, I used that time to reevaluate my priorities and started researching the drive into Mexico and possibly going further south with no destination in mind.
I implemented several changes, including buying a 4X4 truck and building it out to live in, exploring the Pacific Northwest for several months, and camping solo in the wilderness for days at a time while working on sewing projects. These experiences changed my mind set about what possessions and philosophies I was holding on to.
Letting go of most of these was difficult, but it helped me focus on starting this journey.
In May 2022, I packed up my truck and drove south from Oregon and into Baja California. I spent the summer living in Baja Sur, learning how to surf and creating cool pieces. A few people commissioned some work, and I sold a few items, allowing me to consider a lifestyle of sewing and surfing realistically.
Leaving Baja, I took a ferry to mainland Mexico. I lived in Sayulita for about a month, where I could source damaged outdoor gear from locals and started making pieces that were functional for tropical climates. From there I drove the Pacific Coast of Mexico, visiting surf spots and meeting people who shared their stories about driving throughout Central America.
As I drove into Guatemala, the reality of entering the CA4 is a moment I’ll cherish for a long time. I embraced being uncomfortable and exceeded my expectations, I had never been so proud of myself.
I spent a few weeks exploring Guatemala, learning about indigenous textiles, exploring Lago de Atitlan, and spending a few days in Antigua. I continued to El Salvador and spent a few months surfing and sewing in a small village. I learned a lot about Salvadoreño’s resilience and was enamored by how welcoming everyone was.
Next, I drove through Honduras and entered Northern Nicaragua where I spent almost two months in the water connecting with local and traveling surfers. The community became a family to me and my time with them will stay in my heart always.
Since arriving in Costa Rica, especially in Bahía de Ballena, I’ve felt welcomed by everyone I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. I’m staying close to the Parque Nacional Marino Ballena, one of the most stunning tropical beaches I’ve visited. Walking along the beach, listening to the wildlife, and looking at the jungle and mountains landscape is breathtaking. Surfing at sunset at Playa Chaman are memories I’ll keep forever. As for local events, El Mercado de Bahía Ballena is perfect for meeting local marketers, listening to their stories, and learning about the history of this area. I was impressed by the beauty of the artists’ pieces and how the flora and fauna inspire their work.
My journey is ending at this point, and I think it’s extraordinary that Costa Rica was the final destination. I’m looking forward to exploring more of the nearby beaches and waterfalls and learning more about this community.
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