Amanda Szopinski | Artist | CABO | BAJA | SCIENCE!

Amanda Szopinski, an amazing painter from Dunkirk, had contacted me to come to Cabo to do some photo work for her. How could you not jump at this opportunity? I was booked for the trip within two days of contact. Amanda has been a good friend of my family for a long time. Although, I am younger and had never gotten to know her. I am so blessed I was able to get to know her over this trip. I think the world and more of this woman.

Growing up I was always a little bit of a loner, and was curious of the older crowds. I always wanted to learn from “older” people, and hear about their life experiences. I was so excited to learn from Amanda on this trip, and hear her story.

She is far, very far from ordinary. The day I got in she was welcoming, and we drove into San Jose. We had a few drinks and walked around for art walk. I was in absolute awe of San Jose. Every small business was very authentic. I made friends and had my cheeks kissed by more strangers in one night than I had in an entire year. I was so exhausted from flying, but I wanted to keep going, exploring, and meeting new people. I kept drinking beers and tequila to keep my eyes open. Eventually I was burnt out and ready for bed. We luckily invested in a bottle of tequila the night I got in and we broke that in pretty early the next day.

We spent some time at the ocean the next day. I think Amanda underestimated my fear of getting in the water and close to the reefs. I was terrified. I don’t know why. I think I have seen one too many “Shark Weeks”. Later that evening we hit up San Lucas. I think that San Lucas is something everyone should experience at least once. It is hopping and ready to party. We had a blast that night. We really took the time to vacation, appreciate life, and enjoy ourselves. Her laugh is infectious. You can count on meeting many strangers and making them friends when you are with Amanda.

The next day we explored the east cape. What an adventure! Amanda had never seen the east cape, and what do you know… I haven't either?! ;) We fell in love. The beauty was incredible. Unfortunately, photos will never be able to do the east cape justice. The waves keep you calm and at peace, while the mountains give you dirt paths and a sense of adventure.

After the east cape we travelled to Los Barriles for a couple of days. I had the chance to meet some great people, get over my fears of the ocean, and relax in a few pools. Even a swim up bar! Yay. I discovered a new found love of paddle boarding while on my trip. I am so grateful for Amanda. She pushed my boundaries and got me out of my shell. It was truly a milestone for me to be paddle boarding away from the shore, into the ocean. And I was able to see many many tropical fish. 

When we got back from Los Barriles we went to Todos Santos for some yoga and coffee. We ended up spending the day there and I fell in love. I ran through the ocean and I felt completely free.

The last night before I had to leave in the morning Amanda hosted a painting party. 8 of us sat in a circle and we passed each of our paintings around and we each would add to one another’s painting. It was a joy to start painting again. I had trust issues handing my painting to other people, though. ;)

Now that you heard our day to day adventures, let me tell you about this girl. Amanda is an amazing person. She is easily a role model for me. She is authentic, adventurous, and care free. She quit her job, sold her car, (got a car to get her from point A to B) and lived life truly on the edge. What better way to live then to not have it all figured out? I was so inspired by her will to believe in herself and live minimally. I was especially inspired by her will to allow herself to be happy… Even if you don’t have it all figured out. She is doing what she loves, and taking a chance on her dreams. She has a free spirit who has an open heart through all walks of her life. This trip has changed me. I cried getting on that plane to return home. She brought out the old person I thought was long gone. Someone who can laugh without feeling pain, or someone who isn’t afraid to take risks anymore. All because of the power and inspiration from one human being. Her love for life is absolutely infectious. I cannot wait to go on another journey with her one day, because I know I have gained a forever friend. You are family, Amanda. I love you.