Driving South

NOTE: This Blog was written a day or two before it was posted in case there are any misunderstandings in my timing. Internet connections are scarce in my current neck of the woods..

I’ve been waiting to to write this blog for awhile now! As most of my blogs start out, I’m laying in the back of my Jeep over looking a large body of water. This time, I’m down in Bahia Concepcion, Baja California Sur, Mexico. It’s upwards of 100 degrees out and I’d say somewhere close to 90% humidity. Sounds bad, but the water is in the 80’s and completely turquoise so it’s just awesome! I’ve began to try to write a little bit more formally but sometimes my surfer lingo is really the best way for me to explain some of my situations. I suppose I could say, “the bay possesses a certain beauty that you only seem to find in hotel brochures or paintings at your grandmothers house” but, “totally awesome” really does a much better job at describing my current view and situation a majority of the time. But I digress… It’s gorgeous out, I’ve got the entire beach to myself, I’m not being charged to stay anywhere, the water is warm, I’m not hungry and I’d be lying if I said I was wearing clothes. It really doesn’t get much better than this. If it does, please prove me otherwise!  

Let the record stand that this photo has not been edited in anyway. It’s just how great it is where I am.

  Currently, I’m making my way down to La Paz. Last night, I stayed the night in Bahia de Los Angeles and in Costa Brava, the Vicente Guerrero area, the night before that. L.A. Bay was beautiful but I wasn’t too impressed with what it had to offer. I assume there are better times of the year to go as well as better places than where I camped at as well but I knew there were better destinations a little south so I cut my time there short and drove down to Bahia Concepcion. I did, however, go kayaking and saw a crazy amount of krill and a feeding frenzy between the birds and the fish! So much so that I could put my hand in the water and grab a fistful of krill! And last but certainly not least, I saw a whale shark from my kayak! Swimming with a whale shark has always been on my bucket list but the closer I got to it in my kayak the more it swam away. So it was short lived but exciting nonetheless.  

I’m planning on staying here in Bahia Concepcion an extra day because it’s too great and I don’t care to feel rushed during road trips. I love the phrase, “I’ve got nothing but time,” and I prefer to live in a way that reflects my beliefs. From here, I plan on making my way down to either Punta Cancun or Punta Canejo. I’ve never been to either of the two places so I figured I’d stop by both before making my last leg to La Paz. 

Unfortunately, I can’t make 2 or more weeks out of this trip because I have people to meet and obligations that I’ve already committed to which means I need to be in La Paz about 3 weeks ago!!! But I plan on arriving in La Paz either Sunday or Monday. How many days is that from today, I honestly do not know and while it would only take a quick second to figure out, I enjoy not knowing what day it is. But arriving in La Paz a bit sooner than I would like is really no reason to complain. I’ve got a plethora of people waiting to meet me and an equal amount of opportunities to begin exploring! 

I’ll have more to write as each day goes by… Assuming these damn Mosquitos don’t eat me first! If any of you reading this has any insect repellent and a boat/plane/helicopter, I’d really appreciate a care package/airdrop because it’s proving to be impossible to escape these bastards!

More later!

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Why am I still here?

So I’m in the United States. I’m suppose to be on my way down the 1 highway through Baja but I’m laying in the back of my packed Jeep, kayak and all, at the beach waiting for a doctors signature so I can be on my way with this trip that I’ve been talking about for the past 6 months.  As you may imagine, it’s frustrating to be stuck here but not so much for the reason that I’m actually stuck here. I’m frustrated because I’ve told everyone that I’m leaving on a certain date for months now and here I am pushing the date back for the 2nd time. When I say I’m going to do something and spread the word to everyone, I make sure that it happens. Telling the world that I’m moving to Mexico has left me with a lot of doubters and people saying I’ll be back in a week. If anything, that’s only been motivation to get me to leave sooner!

So why am I still here?! Well the reason is good, though ridiculous. If you’ve read my last couple of blogs, you know I was involved in a very serious motorcycle accident. This accident left me pretty crippled for good deal of time. Well as a result of being disabled, my license was taken away for fear that I would be a dangerous driver and unable to safely respond in traffic. Since being pulled over in Mexico is pretty much part of the culture, there’s no way I would leave the country without some kind of Driver License. Now I know what you’re thinking right now. “Well if the accident happened 7 months ago, why didn’t you just take care of the issue months ago?” Excellent question!  It’s because they just recently decided to suspend my license, 7 months after the accident!  It all happened while I was at the DMV being a good citizen and registering my newly purchased Jeep. It was February at the time and I was still in my wheelchair. While talking to clerk at the DMV, I was asked why I was in a wheelchair. While I was surprised that I was being asked this question because I figured it was seen as a rude question to ask in the world, I went ahead and explained what had happened to me. Months later, when I was certainly no longer disabled I receive a letter that I my license was suspended. After inquiring about why this was, I was informed that the gentleman at the DMV had reported me but a tad bit late and caused this whole fiasco.  Now I agree that your driving abilities should probably be questioned if you’re in a bad accident. However, I think the doctor is someone a bit more qualified and capable of making an educated decision on how disabled one might be. My doctors had more than one chance to say no more driving when I was actually too disabled to operate a car but it wasn’t seen as a big enough issue. I now need to get a doctor notes for the DMV and must wait a few weeks for them to process everything so I can get a new license. Getting through to my doctor is turning out to be a bit more difficult that expected so I’m expecting to be here in the States for another 3 weeks at least.

In the meantime, I’ve been invited to race on a team in the San Diego Beer Can races on a Thomas 35′. For a while now, my interest has been migrating towards racing sailboats over cruising on them. I’ve mainly just been wanting to experience sailing on the next level and hone in my skills a bit more so I can become a better sailor altogether. I’ve also been sailing on Hobie Cats a few times a week and those babies have given me the need for speed on the water! The beer can races are a summer race series that takes place every Wednesday evening in the San Diego Bay at 6pm with all different classes of boats. Last night was my first time racing in one of the Beer Can races. I’m an experienced sailor and I’m not afraid to head out in any seas, but when it comes to racing I feel like a complete amateur… Which technically, I am when it comes to racing sailboats. Aboard a race boat, is the most hostile environment I’ve ever been in. People are yelling the seconds to start, yelling at other boats, yelling about possible collisions with approaching boats, moving fast, tripping on lines, hiking over the side… Did I mention yelling? Sailing has always been a very relaxing passion of mine, even in bad weather. 80% of the time, I have time to analyze what needs to be done and execute in a timely manner. Racing, on the other hand, is constant and fast! You’re constantly adjusting the sails, you’re debating on which line to sail on, you’re avoiding bad winds from other boats, and always debating on if it’s a good idea to tack now or tack later. All of this is happening simultaneously and it turns a very familiar activity into an almost foreign one for me. But I love it! It’s almost like learning how to sail all over again! With all that being said, I did really good out there.IMG_0549

My position on the boat was trimmer. I’ve always been pretty anal when it came to trimming sails so I think it’s a good spot for me on the boat. No complaints about my performance and as a team we all did really well. We actually placed 5th out of the 16 boats in our class. Regardless it was fun and the team wants me back to race again next week so I have no complaints. Another cool thing was that the actual designer of the Thomas 35′ was on the boat and skippered the race. At 86 years old he was still living out his passion of being on the water and racing. And what better person to have sailing the boat than the actual designer himself! For photos of the race, click here.

So I’ve got a little bit more time to take care of any leftover business/goof off for a bit so I’m taking advantage of the extra time and making sure there’s nothing else that can keep me from leaving again! However, after looking at the weather, I’ve noticed Hurricane Andrew having some fun around Baja and it’s looking like it’s going to be delivering a little bit of weather to the Peninsula. We’ll see how strong it picks up and if it’s going to be another road block. But for now, most of my days involve waiting in some kind of doctors office or urgent care trying to make some kind of progress and see a doctor. It’s been proving to be one of the hardest tasks I’ve ever taken on. So much so I’m almost ready to get in another accident so I can see a doctor immediately! But I suppose some extra time sailing in the states won’t hurt me too much either. If you or anyone you know is a doctor with a Medical License and care to help me out with your signature, PLEASE contact me at your soonest convenience! MY email is scseanhall@gmail.com! I’ll make it worth your while! In the meantime, I’ll keep you posted on my trip status and my racing results!

Fair winds,

Capt’n Sean.

Starting From Scratch

So I’m sitting in my hotel room right now overlooking Poipu Beach in Kauai, Hawaii. It’s raining outside, heavy for Hawaii even, and it dons on me that I haven’t written anything on my blog in almost a year. With nothing to do and a lot to write about, I’ve decide to sit down and start writing again. The past few months in particular have been full of travel and adventure with no end in sight any time soon. But before I tell you about all that, I must update you on the events that have led up to now. Where to begin?

About a year ago, I published my last post on here. I was just starting the long and fun process of prepping Que Sera for cruising. October 27th was the date I was to sail away from the docks and start the next chapter of my life. I spent the next 4 months working day and night preparing for the big sail. As September came to an end, there was very little left on the to-do list. But of course as every story that I have, there always tends to be a twist. On October 1st, I was involved in a motorcycle accident in an Los Angeles intersection about two blocks from the marina where Que Sera was berthed. Not knowing it at the time, this accident would change my life forever.

I’ve been in many motorcycle accidents. I’ve been extremely fortunate in every single one of those accidents and I’m grateful for the skills that I’ve acquired over the years from riding for there is no way I would still be alive today without them. Whether it has been by chance or there really is something looking after me, my track record for getting back up and walking away has been nothing short of a miracle. But as every experienced riders knows, there is going to be that big accident someday and this was my day. I was traveling down a main road in Santa Monica at 40 mph when a vehicle pulled out in front of me in an intersection. I managed to swerve out of the way at the last second but I was forced to slam into the back of a stopped semi-truck. Thankfully, and miraculously, I did not hit my head (don’t ask how I managed not to) and so was conscious through everything. My body was completely mangled and all my limbs on my left side were facing in opposite directions. Now, being the optimistic person that I am, I immediately looked at my body and said to myself, “Oh good! I just dislocated everything! They can just pop all that stuff back in and I’ll be good!” Well I couldn’t have been more incorrect on that assumption. At 40 mph, the impact shattered my pelvis, left elbow, and left wrist, and dislocated/broke my left shoulder and left knee. And due to the severity of my pelvis, there was a mass amount of internal bleeding that ultimately caused me to bleed out. I was pronounced dead for one minute and twenty-six seconds. I remember waking up again when we arrived to the hospital but no recollection of the ambulance ride aside for making a joke to the paramedic before I bled out.

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I ended up spending the next two months in the hospital. The first two weeks I stayed at UCLA medical center and the remaining month and a half at a skilled nursing facility in San Diego. These two months were some of the hardest days that I’ve ever endured. I’ve been through a decent amount troubles in my life and I have managed to handle most of them pretty well but this was like nothing I had ever been through. While the pain was horrible, it was nothing compared to the emotional pain that I went through. I’m a pretty happy person who has an extreme passion for life. I love to live, love, learn, and experience new things in my life. I have acquired many coping skills through the years and have put most of them to good use to keep that smile on my face but the emotional toll that is put on you when you’re living in a hospital is just horrible. Being the positive person that I am, I have always avoided negativity and haven’t been in too many situations where I couldn’t walk away when negativity was present. I found myself surrounded by very unhappy people. People who understandably didn’t have a whole lot to be happy about but being surrounded by them really rubbed off on me. And the pain meds that I was on caused me to go on these emotional roller coasters that made life a thousand times more difficult than it needed to be. The highs were pretty miserable and the lows were just LOW. While I understand why pain meds are addicting, I don’t understand why people choose to take them recreationally without ever needing them… Except for Dilaudid. That stuff is amazing and needs to be kept locked up! And because of how great Dilaudid was, I knew it was important for me to get off of my pain meds immediately! I managed to only spend three weeks on heavy narcotics before I switched to smaller pain killers such as ibuprofen and Benedryll for sleeping.

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After getting off my meds, I was able to start working on being positive. I had a very limited amount of energy and the way I looked at it was I could either spend it all on being negative or I could spend it all on being positive! With that being my option, it was a no brainer where I needed to spend all of my energy. I did my best to communicate with other patients and learn about why they were in the hospital and I spent a lot of time trying to be active. Most of my time in the hospital was spent in bed sleeping. But for the 5-6 hours of the day that I was up and about, I was the most active person in the hospital. I would wheel through the corridors with my one arm and one foot at hight speeds visiting anyone willing to have a conversation about anything. I also spent a lot of time in the physical therapy room lifting my three pound dumbbell with my good arm. I dropped to a staggering 109 lbs during my hospital stay so when I began feeling well enough to venture out of my bed, I was determined to get back into shape. Before I knew it, I was doing one handed wheelies in my wheel chair when the nurses weren’t looking and doing anything that I could to keep from going insane.

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As a sailor and an outdoorsman in general, I’ve learned the importance of looking positively towards the future. During times of survival, it’s the ones who say “WHEN I get out of this situation.”, WHEN I see my wife next…”, WHEN I get home, I’m going to…” that make it through the other side and get to step out of that life raft. Not the ones that are saying, “IF” the whole time. It shows the importance of being positive. But with this knowledge, I began planning what I wanted to do with my life once I recovered. Going cruising was no longer an option. Figuratively speaking, that ship had sailed and I was left with a blank page. It was my job to write the first word of this new chapter and I had the option to go in any direction that I chose with nothing to hold me back.

After this accident, I found myself to be single, homeless, unemployed, and possessing few belongings with little to no commitments to anything. Now to most people, single, homeless, and unemployed sound pretty horrific but I saw an opportunity in it. I saw it as having more options than I have ever had before. Fortunately, I had over $13,000 saved up in the back that I was planning on going cruising with and I know how to stretch a dollar pretty well so I knew I had some wiggle room. Immediately, I became fixated with Mexico. I started looking at properties and investment opportunities south of the border and coming up with ways to make a living. I know I am capable of being successful in anything I choose to put my energy and heart into and I also know I’m very adaptable. With the help of a few connections south of the border, I’ve began traveling back and forth into Mexico in the past few months to further explore my options and see what I have to offer Baja.

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Currently, I have been working with a partner and building a business plan that we are shooting to launch early next year. My main goal, which is open ended at this point, is to buy property, beach sides preferably, down in La Paz, Baja California Sur, and rent the property out as a vacation Rental. My aim is to have residual income flowing in 5 years to responsibly carry on my sailing adventures and any other new hobbies or interests with less distraction in the financial department. I will be going further into depth on this topic in future blogs.

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So where am I at now with my recovery? I have got 11 screws and 5 plates in my pelvis and 6 screws and 2 plates in my left elbow. I am suppose to have surgery on my shoulder but I have full range of motion with little to no pain at all and will most likely decline surgery unless convinced otherwise. I am still doing occupational therapy for my elbow and am working towards being able to straighten it. I will more than likely never be able to completely straighten my elbow but a second surgery is being considered in the coming months if I am not happy with my capabilities. So far I’m not too unhappy with what I can do. My pelvis feels as good as it ever has. I’m still a little weak in the sense that my leg gets tired after doing about a miles worth of walking in a day, which is a very little amount for me, but other than that I don’t have any restrictions and just need to continue strengthening my leg muscles. The only real issue that I am still dealing with is my left knee. A little bit of crunchy sounds and pain here and there but not the end of the world. MRI’s have been taken on the knee and I’m beginning to see a new specialist to see what more we can do to speed up the healing. (Update: I was diagnosed with some kind of knee syndrome where my patella slides out of place and causes my knee to give out under too much pressure. I don’t remember the name of the syndrome but it is a result from the atrophy I experienced. The good news, nothing is permanent and I will be making a slow but full recovery in the knee by simply continuing to strengthen the surrounding muscles and ligaments. Until I have that strength again, I have a knee brace which holds the Patella in place.)

With all these injuries, screws, and surgeries, one would think I’m pretty limited in my abilities now. Well contrary to popular belief, I am back at my old speed and even more active than before. While I do tire easily now, I have adopted the phrase, “Mind over matter” as my new motto and manage to still pass people hiking up mountains and swim in the ocean on a regular basis, along with many other activities… Especially sailing! With a positive attitude, I have managed to start a new page in my life on a good foot and big smile on my face.  I’ve learned more about myself and other people from this accident and I couldn’t be more grateful in the life lessons that I’ve learned, regardless of how awful it may have been.

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