We follow one photographer, surfer, and overland traveller – Ross Ruddell, as he prepares to embark on an epic journey down the pan-American highway, surfing his way from California to Tierra del Fuego, over the course of three years. This is his story. You can keep up to date with Ross’s adventures right here, and at Project Bliss. 

Over to Ross…

Todos Santos, in Baja California Sur, is a small place full of small enclaves, tight alleys, and dusty street corners. I have been here for about two weeks and have found a groove in the artist’s haven.

If you took my hometown of Atascadero, California and zapped it back a few decades, added a few more taco stands, and took away oaks, trading them for palms you’d get kinda close to the feeling. People thumb rides to town, hopping in the back of pick-up trucks and they rumble down the bumpy semi-paved roads. Every local smiles and waves, and most are curious to have good long look at any “gringo” traveler they see.

Getting to town is pretty easy. Ive made the 30 minute walk a few times but have always been picked up and given a lift by someone.

Once inside the town center rough pavement is traded for hand-laid tile streets. Lush palms sway in the predominantly North winds. The middle of the village had a park with a few skate ramps in the middle. Hand painted murals adorn the concrete walls, and stadium seats encapsulate a stage for live plays in the summer.

Vendors flank most roads, selling tacos, super burros (burrito’s), and tortas (sandwiches). The air here smells like Mexican spices, and Pemex 87 Octane fuel. Clapped out vehicles sputter and cough, with the random pickup running out of gas just around the corner from a filling station.

This kid was not stoked on the middle of the street pit stop. People run out of gas all the time, but luckily friends with a liter or two of fuel are never far behind.

Reversing from the town’s center, the presence of artists in the area becomes more apparent. Galleries and graffiti are both easy to find, with one stencil showing the influential Mexican writer Octavio Paz. The words “Look at me, what do you see?” to the right of his outline.

“Look at me. What do you see?” Local graffiti pays homage to the influential Mexican writer Octavio Paz.

I like this place for many different reasons; the surf, the beaches, the amazing food. However all of those things only make up “pieces” of Todos Santos. The grout of the city is what I like best. The in-between parts. I like the “Mini-Super” convenience stores where I can get a cold bottle of coke for less than fifty cents. I like the way gold sunlight filters through dust kicked up by horses in the evening. I like that everything is slowed down, like life is being squished through honey. The little things here make all the difference.

Baja California in general has these every few kilometers, they’re like AM/PM’s here. Just like at home you can get a 6-pack and some ice for the night’s party or get a quick empanada for a on-the-go snack.

Ill be here for another week, before taking the ferry from La Paz to Mazatlan. Next week, Ill be doing some gear purging, and giving my car a well-deserved bath, her first since leaving California. I got invited to a bon-fire this weekend and there seems to be a bit of new swell in the water.

My new website launched this week and I couldn’t be happier to have a place to put all my photos. You’ll be able to see some b-roll photos that don’t make it into these blogs as well as some other information about this trip. Give it a look if you need to kill a few minutes in the morning — trvlr.projectbliss.us

Ross Ruddell, 29, Todos Santos, Baja California Sur

Follow me on Instagram @PhotoRuddell #TRVLR

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