photo by aidan lynn-klimenko

"School starts next week. Normally I'd be in an office preparing lesson plans...these are the perks to being a PE teacher."

There are certain people you meet who seem to have it all figured out. People who’ve found their niche; who’ve found what they need to be happy. Rich’s enthusiasm was contagious, and his well of Baja camping knowledge never seemed to run dry. 

He would talk longingly about his home in San Diego, which, according to him, was the best place in the world. He talked about life as a PE teacher--a life he didn’t have any desire to change. He also delivered an incredible tale about the time he set out to buy a 14 foot spearfishing boat. After a rapid-fire series of hysterical conversations that all led to him tacking a few feet on to his forthcoming purchase, he ended up with a 38 foot dual engine monster. A lot more boat than he initially set out to have, but a boat that led to the best two years of his life. 

The Vanajeros spent three days in Baja with Rich, camping, spearfishing, surfing, and learning how to shuck a good oyster. In his late 40s, Rich was a pleasant reminder that you never have to stop living the life you want to live.