Baja or Bust

Don’t go to Mexico, they said. It’s full of banditos and drug smuggling cartels, they said. You won’t be able to get around on your own, they said. I’m not sure who “they” are, but they couldn’t have been more wrong.

As a C6 quadriplegic, I know travel can be difficult, especially in developing countries. There are always uncertainties that make you question if it is worth all the effort. From non-ADA lodging to the ever growing list of “what ifs,” it can be a daunting endeavor to say the least.

What I’ve found, though, is that without continuing to push yourself out of your comfort zone and willingness to adapt and overcome, life can be as boring as driving through western Kansas. I’ve chosen a different path on purpose. I’ll take the risk.

On Feb. 1, I crossed the border into Mexico. It was my first international road trip in my new van I named Spock. I have been designing, building and planning a trip to South America for years but wanted to give Spock a proper shakedown. Hence I named this journey the Baja Shakedown.

I knew Baja was supposed to be beautiful and relatively safe, so it seemed like a perfect first test. My plan was to see how the van performs both on- and off-road, test the equipment for durability, make sure there weren’t any critical changes needed before heading to South America, assess my body, and further my Spanish language study in a school in La Paz.

I don’t want to spoil it for you but Baja was absolutely incredible and I’ll definitely be back.

** This post was originally published on

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