Are You Addicted to Baja?

Baja Addiction

Baja Addiction Causes Sufferer to See the World through Rose Colored Lenses

If your friends and family joke that you’re addicted to Baja, they may be right. Researchers in Norway have identified seven signs that you may be addicted. They’ve used those signs to develop a test to help you figure out if your suffer from a Baja addiction.

The test, called the Baja Addiction Scale, is based on seven basic criteria, where all items are scored on the following scale: (1) Very rarely (2) Rarely (3) Sometimes (4) Often and (5) Very often. The signs are:

(i) You spend a lot of time thinking about Baja or a planned trip to Baja.

(ii) You feel an urge to visit Baja more and more.

(iii) You spend time in Baja to forget about problems in “the real world”.

(iv) You have tried to cut down on your time in Baja without success.

(v) You become restless, confused, disoriented or troubled if you are prohibited from visiting Baja.

(vi) You enjoy Baja so much that it has had a negative impact on your job/studies or hurts physically.

(vii) You can no longer relate to people that don’t share your addiction.

If you are, indeed, addicted, you’re not alone, researchers say. “The love for Baja has continued to increase rapidly. We are dealing with a subdivision of Baja addiction connected to traveler’s dilemma,” said Eyeluv B. Aha, who conducted the study. The traveler’s dilemma is the limbo state one experiences due to his/her love for travel when they recognize there’s nothing like sleeping in his/her own bed.

Aha heads the research project “Baja Addiction” at the University of La Paz where she has spent the last 46 years studying the illness. The results of her research have just been published in the journal Psychological Reports, under the difficult to find subsection – “Afflictions with No Solutions.

Aha said she sees some clear patterns in Baja addiction. “It occurs across all age groups but we have found that people who have a sense of adventure, love the outdoors and enjoy pleasant weather are more susceptible to the illness than those with lower scores on those traits,” she said.  People who like being inside all day tend to be less at risk from Baja addiction. They visit Baja but rarely leave their rooms. “Women are more at risk of developing Baja addiction, probably due to the social nature of Baja,” Aha said. Aha said the research also shows that Baja addiction was related to extroversion. People with high scores on the new scale further tend to have a somewhat delayed sleep-wake rhythm. When they are in Baja they find themselves not wanting to sleep because of fear they will miss out on a life changing event.

The study was based on 26 million travelers — 14 million women and 12 million men.

Despite Aha’s findings, others are not as convinced about Baja-based addictions, especially those that have never visited the region.

“There are often underlying or co-occurring psychiatric disorders, such as weekend warrior syndrome, adrenaline addiction, perma-smile, or a disturbance in the ability to conform to social norms, all of which may explain the person’s addiction to Baja,” Lisa Green, Travel Savant at Baja.com recently told Krista Simmons in an interview for the article in NY Magazine called “The Weekend Escape Plan – Todos Santos. While she was not quoted, she offered this: “The question is, do we need another ‘disorder’ in the APA’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), if the manifestations of Baja addiction can already be accounted for by well-described and better-validated conditions such as the “I live for Baja” syndrome?”

That, however, doesn’t mean that Baja.com is writing off the possibility of Baja-based addictions. Green believes that better research is needed to quantify these behaviors and she has committed to doing so. “We need far more study on this issue,” she says. In fact, our company is developing alternative treatments for people who feel they suffer from symptoms of Baja addiction, such our patented “Baja patch” which provides small doses of the chemicals found in the air in Baja, as well as a “Baja light‘ that gives off special rays that are similar to those found in Baja for those suffering from Baja withdrawal (as well as a gentle bronze tan).

Please contact Baja.com at info@Baja.com if you are interested in participating in this study or learning more about these new products.


The Baja Renaissance

By Jim Pickell, CEO Baja.com

2012 marks the end of the Mayan calendar for Baja’s indigenous neighbors. This timely transition neatly marks the blossoming a new era for Baja California. The region is undergoing an explosion of creativity and innovation. This is Baja’s Renaissance, being led by a diverse and eclectic group of Baja denizens, collaborating with pilgrims from the international community, many discovering and rediscovering this Mecca. Baja has a renewed lease on life, and there’s a tantalizing possibility that this one will not be fueled by an unsustainable bubble of cruisers and spring-breakers, but rather led by visionaries and philosophers, poets and professionals, artists and scientists, with the only common thread being their efforts to weave the Baja lifestyle into their vision.

Approximately 7.5 million people around the world Google the word “Baja” each month. What are they searching for?  Baja is experiencing a renewed interest in its landscape, artisans, its environment, its lifestyle and how its citizens achieve wellness. It’s touching the entire peninsula. The interest in Baja is reminiscent of the Arabic folktale, “The Man Who Became Rich through a Dream”. The protagonist traveled on a worldwide quest, on the faith of a dream, searching for riches. Imprisoned, broke and penniless, a sympathetic policeman gives him money to return to his home. It was there he discovered a great treasure, one that had always been buried beneath the fountain in his own garden

Look to the city many would perceive to be the least suspecting candidate, Tijuana. The world’s busiest border shapes the views of more visitors than any other region. Artistic murals are now being installed over the graffiti. Much like the flower became a symbol of peace in times of war; could this gateway one day reflect what Baja has to offer? Within Tijuana proper, restaurants the likes of Mision 19 have captured international acclaim as Mexican food is becoming one of the world’s favorites. Right beneath our palettes, Tijuana is becoming to food what Seattle was to grunge music, with rivals in other Baja regions. The city now boasts its first LEED certified building, drawing international attention with its “bridges and skylights, a vast airy central chamber, and an aluminum skin to filter out ultraviolet rays.”  And the Business Innovation and Technology Center launched several months ago, promising a steady stream of thought leaders.

The world is taking note. At the other end of the peninsula, San Jose del Cabo hosting the G20 this summer, a landmark event for Baja. While it may be a political ploy to send the message that the coast is indeed clear. The fact is, it just may work since the coast is clear. But behind any smoke and mirrors, something real is happening and it’s a people’s movement. California, long viewed as forward-looking in protecting the environment, is now finding itself struggling to duplicate the groundbreaking success that Baja California Sur achieved in recovering the sensitive marine zone at the Cabo Pulmo Marine Park. There are efforts in both Tijuana and Los Cabos to develop some of the leading stem cell centers in the world, promising the fountain of youth that many have believed could be found in Baja for decades. Out of necessity, Baja is home to among the most advanced drip irrigation in the world. And among the next generation, many “entrepreneurs by necessity”, there are new concepts surfacing in marine biology, LEED certified development, organic farming, experiential travel, voluntourism, nomadic schools, agrotourism, medical tourism, and yes, even novel ways of making us love fresh roasted Mexican grown, organic coffee.

Baja is a lifestyle brand but it’s so much more. Baja living is the caveman diet of life. And this is what attracts these creative forces. At its core it’s about simplicity and authenticity, reminding travelers why they travel in the first place. People who can think out of the box have learned what Baja has to offer beyond the all-inclusive resorts and beneath the sandy surface and that’s the draw. Baja has long been the benefactor of the worldwide brain drain of creativity, an exodus of artists that have left their homes for Baja. Charles Stewart of Todos Santos (may he rest in peace) was one of the founding fathers of this movement in 1985. Now Baja California is becoming a gastronomical geo-center for foodies and wine connoisseurs around the world. Anthony Bourdain recently referred to Baja as “the new Tuscany” at a recent speaking engagement. Almost 90% of Mexican wine, many vintages and varietals winning awards around the world, come from the Guadalupe Valley and surrounding region, an area still untainted by the commercialism found in other wine regions. In Los Cabos, artwalks and organic markets are now common place, with the once little known Flora Farms becoming an epicenter. “[T]here’s some awesome shit going on down there right now. They got tired of waiting for the Americans to come back and just started making really great, really creative food. . . . Something amazing’s happening” said Anthony.

 Ultimately a big component to the direction this takes comes down to tourism. Contrary to assumptions one may draw from US headlines, Mexico was recently ranked the 10th most traveled country in the world. It’s also the second most rapidly growing country in Latin America, even while weaning off its GDP’s dependence on oil. And as impressive as Mexico’s rise through the ranks, Baja is one of its fastest growing regions in Mexico, whether defined by tourism or industrialization. Did you know Ensenada  boasts the highest preponderance of advanced academic degrees… in all of Latin America? Historically Baja California has been more integrated with the United States than just about any region in Central America. And while there’s no dispute that travel from the US has declined in recent years, the rest of the world is largely ignoring the US media. Travel from Canada grew over 50% in the last five years. More rapid growth is being experienced from Asia. And visitors love what they are discovering and the more adventurous stay.

Not only do Baja Californians make incredibly kind hosts, Baja has a plethora to offer, both natural and manmade. Baja California is home to a World Heritage site, the Gulf of California, which contains 39% of the world’s species of marine mammals and a third of the world’s marine cetacean. Baja is home of the Picacho del Diablo, a 10,154 foot mountain that’s a challenging climb; the oldest cave painting ever discovered on this continent; Catavina national park that rivals any in the world. There’s a plethora of wildlife, pristine natural wonders, one-third of the world’s whale species, endless sunshine and warm and mesmerizing, crystal clear waters, making Baja one of the best locations for sea kayaking, scuba diving and whale watching in the world.

Baja has a chain of missions that could keep any archaeologist occupied for a lifetime. The 1000 mile drive from the northern- to its southern-most tips, done right, is arguably the best road trip on the planet. From the Vendimia wine harvest in the Guadalupe Valley, to the Baja 1000, to the Todos Santos Film Festival, Baja has among the most unique and interesting ways to spend your time in the world, whether measured with a barometer of culture, gastronomy, history or merely a scale of pure bliss.  It’s exhausting just trying to describe what you can do and see in Baja. And yes, you can do absolutely nothing and literally witness the hands on your watch stop moving as we all have experienced, the double edged sword of time which takes on a different meaning in Baja.

While there are those lamenting about the continuing “crisis,” there’s an undeniable flurry of innovation at work within the region.  The most novel are worrying about “becoming too big,” as they struggle with not only how growth affect s their own goals, but also the region as a whole. In the foreground, Baja has quietly become increasingly prominent on the world stage, as a symbol of what the future might hold for us all, in ways that could not have been predicted even a decade ago. It’s Baja’s time.

About Baja.com
Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel advice to Baja California, Mexico, supported by a full service travel agency. The site offers travelers expert advice about local restaurants, hotels and vacation rentals, as well as guides, maps, and articles about day trips, surfing, snorkeling, diving, fishing, kayaking, art galleries, whale watching, eco-tours, shopping, attractions, local events and news. Travelers can book directly online or utilize Baja.com’s state-of-the-art contact center, which provides bilingual customer support, expert information and sales 7 days a week, 365 days a year. To access the information and receive newsletters and invitations to special events, register at Baja.com. You can call us at 855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@Baja.com.

Baja.com represents a team of local bloggers, regional travel experts, photographers, artists, Baja aficionados and marketing and technology gurus. The only common thread among the group, as each member of our team will tell you, we are all fanatics about Baja.

 At Baja.com we’re always looking for meaningful way to harness and accelerate this creative energy that surrounds us in Baja. Consistent with our commitment to the region, we have created several programs to stimulate and support change agents within Baja. The first is called the “Baja Ambassadors”, a group of unique and diverse individuals who are positioned to shape the next decade of Baja. Among this group are people like Tim Means who worked with the World Heritage Foundation to repurchase the now protected Espiritu Islands; Luis Palacios, a young, energetic, Harvard-educated, marketing director for Baja California Sur’s Board of Tourism; Serge Dedina, the Executive Director of Wildcoast, sponsor of what was called the “best ocean campaign in human history” widely credited with saving the grey whale; and Andrea Tomba, an offroad racer and guide who symbolizes and embraces the Baja lifestyle. On another front we are collaborating with the Board of Tourism on a program we call “Baja Scribes”. This is designed to encourage top writers to visit Baja to create original content about Baja and help educate the world. Finally we are working with many non-profit organizations in accordance with our own commitment, including by giving a significant portion of our revenues to local charities and are committed to becoming a carbon neutral company by purchasing carbon credits. Our mission is to have a large impact with a light footprint and to continue to fuel the Baja Renaissance in any way we can. If you have an interest in these programs, please contact us. 

Flyfishing in the Sea of Cortez

By Jim Terborg and Jim Pickell

What kind of person wakes up at 4:30 AM with a smile?  A fisherman.  On this morning of Dec. 30, Jim Pickell from Todos Santos, and Jim Terborg, visiting from Oregon, were going fly-fishing outside La Paz at Bahia de los Suenos in the Sea of Cortez with La Paz guide and local Leo Bishop.

Our morning drive began on this chilly morning (about 50 degrees) at 5:00 am with a star filled black sky that turned into a beautiful sunrise near El Triunfo. By 6:30 am we were looking at sailboats docked in the bay and fishermen casting nets for sardina, the local bait.

Catching Bait at Sunrise in Baja de los Suenos

After paying 200 pesos (about $15) for more sardinas than you could count, Efrain, our captain revved up the 90 hp Honda 4-stroke outboard and headed out in our panga.  These boats are designed to provide a smooth and dry trip regardless of weather, but we had calm water with gentle swells.  Perfect for casting the flies Jim Terborg tied while thinking about the trip in Oregon.

Jim Terborg’s home tied white fly with a green tint seemed to do the trick today and it wasn’t long before the first of many Bonita was landed and the layers we were wearing for warmth started peeling off.  Even on a 10wt fly rod, these fish put up quite a fight with repeated runs into the depths that bent the rod nearly in half.

For some diversity, Jim Pickell tried trolling some live bait and caught a Ladyfish, a Green Jack, and a Cabrilla (sea bass), which we kept for dinner. The captain offered to filet the fish before we left. Afternote: it was as tasty as Leo promised!

Leo, who moved to Baja years ago from British Columbia, provided drinks, lunch, fishing rods, and instruction. While Leo specializes in fly-fishing, he indicated many of his clients use conventional fishing gear.  However, he estimated that about 20% of the clients in the area are now using fly rods so it’s clearly a growing niche.

The Home Tied Fly Wins Every Time

By 1:00 pm the fishing slowed down and we called it quits.  We never hooked a Dorado, but that is why they call it “fishing” and not “catching.”  With over 10 fish, we actually did well, especially considering that December is one of the “off months” for most local fish.

Jim Terborg planned a second trip with Leo when he comes back to Todos Santos in March.  Jim Pickell hopes he’s invited again:) Next time the season would likely call for fishing outside out of La Paz and we could expect many different type of fish.

The drive home included fresh squeezed lemonade and a fresh baked cheese and rosemary loaf for the road at the Il Triunfo Café, a beautiful restaurant and bakery in El Triunfo (with great thin crust pizza) located adjacent to the former silver mine (a great place for a day trip with plenty of hiking and photo opportunities).

We pulled into Todos Santos at 2:30 pm, just in time for Jim Terborg to take a nap before going to the beach to look for whales and enjoy another magical Todos Santos sunset.

GENERAL INFORMATION

How to Get There: The drive takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes from Todos Santos. Here’s a map from Todos Santos to the launch in Los Planes (Bahia de los Suenos). Seems like it’s about 75 miles, most on well-paved highways.


View Flyfishing – Todos Santos to Bahia de los Suenos in a larger map

What to Bring: The only things you need are sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat.

Cost: About $300 all inclusive for the guide, food, gear, gas etc.

How to Book:  You can find more information and book Leo as your flyfishing guide by clicking here.

La Paz Fishing Season:

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Dorado/Dorado
Marlin Azul / Blue Marlin
Marlin Rayado / Striped Marlin
Pez Vela / Sail Fish
Sierra / Sierra
Jurel / Yellow Tail
Atun / Yellow Fin Tuna
Pez Gallo / Rooster Fish
Pez Fuerte / Amberjack
Wahoo / Wahoo

 


Baja.com Launch

One of my favorite things about travelling, and travelling to Baja California specifically, is the opportunity for self-discovery. By this I mean both the sense of being the first person to explore a land, while simultaneously getting to know yourself better. The Baja not only offers endless trails that cater to the explorer in each of us, it is also a haven for introspection.

Be careful what you wish for! Here, no matter who you bring with you, you can’t avoid hearing yourself think. And, for some of us, it’s scary how long it’s been since the last time we had such an experience. In fact, for some this silence may not be a welcomed event. Thoughts elsewhere are easy enough to distract out of existence but such is not an easy task here. Among others, one can’t help but to notice, amidst the pristine expanse, the high toll our predecessors’ have taken. Fortunately we now have the opportunity to act and there’s no better catalyst for an action than a thought.

While it’s easy to get excited about the romance and mystery that surrounds Baja, certainly home to some of the most striking scenes in the world, it’s also  a region of conflict. Here at Baja.com we hope to debunk many of the myths that surround Baja travel and make Baja more user friendly… for Baja-friendly users This by no means is meant to imply our intent is to simply steer readers to their ultra-comfort zones, negating the very essence of what Baja offers. Quite to the contrary, it’s to offer a gentle prod towards some of the little explored regions that are among the most rewarding in Baja. Such stretching, done responsibly, will help people understand and appreciate what makes the area unique while simultaneously fueling the passion we share to preserve these treasures. We intend to facilitate this with the support of our peers in Baja and through the voices of those who cherish Baja and have been to these places before so many times, as no travel can enlighten like that accompanied by a local lens.

I have to admit we have what some would call big hairy audacious goals. We are committed to improving the Baja experience and yet recognize in many ways it’s perfect the way it is (or, in limited cases, was). We intend to cater to those who are committed to tread lightly. Yet we admittedly want to share the Baja experience to more people — hence our conflict. I recognize much of this apparent hypocracy at the get-go. After all, most need an engine to get here (not a requirement mind you). And yet Baja is  a vast land and can support more travel — if done responsibly. The Baja economy also depends on tourism. The most ambitious element of our mission is the hope that we can utilize our small channel as but one tool to recruit responsible travelers, that these individuals will call out and support responsible businesses and the success of these forward looking businesses will improve the region as a whole, providing education and jobs one local community at a time.

This is just the beginning. I hope you enjoy your journey as much as I do mine every day. I am looking forward to sharing the path.

The tree of silence bears the fruit of peace.  – Arab proverb.