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Bad Karma: The True Story of Mexico Trip From Hell – Paul Wilson

Bad Karma Paul Wilson

Author: Paul Wilson
Pages: 246

When I first started reading Bad Karma by Paul Wilson, it was the opposite of a ‘can’t put it down read.  In fact, I couldn’t not put it down.  I put it down in the middle of chapters.  I put it down in the middle of pages. 

I put it down and walked around the room just to come back, read half a sentence, and put it down again. 

What was going on?  Is this book horrible, or even just not good?  I’ll admit, my tolerance for bad surf travel stories is unusually high. 

Maybe I had not allowed enough time to digest whatever I just got done reading before.  That happens.  It’s a thing. 

Maybe I’m just not ready for another surf trip memoir while I am locked down in 2020’s quarantine reality – boards collecting dust, surf trips to Costa Rica canceled.

It turned out to be none of those things.  It took me a while to figure it out though.  

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The Bad Karma Crew – With names like this, what could go wrong?

First came the nicknames.  Paul E. Opters (your guide), Moose, Jelly, Perro.  Then came the action. 

Then came the realization – I was loving it.

However, the real-life antics of The Manor crew were so ridiculously cringeworthy that I couldn’t even finish a page. 

I was walking around shaking my head, mentally preparing myself for just how bad things were clearly going to get when the run down to Mexico in a 1966 VW bus – whose most reliable mechanical component was the stereo – actually began. 

If they could get out of the country!  

I couldn’t take it.  This story should have ended before it even began.  It’s a miracle they made it out of Coronado, much less Cabo (or Colima).  The only thing convincing me that they would make it to Mexico is the number of pages left in the book.  

I mean, who can’t get into Mexico from San Diego?

Oh ya, remember who you are dealing with – Moose, Jelly, and our hero, Opters.

Meanwhile, the not-so-lovable losers have sucked me in.  I’m rooting for them despite their crimes (significant). 

The common thread of broken homes and abuse softening the edges of their self-destruction.  You want just this one thing, this grand adventure to go right before they inevitably have to face the music.

But it doesn’t.  Ever.

Choose Your Friends Wisely

I’ve been to Mexico, to the mainland, and plenty of other places on surf trips.  There are sure to be low points, the parts of the trip called adventure.  The parts you end up remembering and retelling to friends over beers back home.  

But I’ve never even heard of such a colossal trail of disaster as this tale describes.  It is unrelenting.  

The incessant barrage of bad karma, good luck, and ingenuity I tend to associate with a bygone generation left me with a hard-to-reach combination of reactions ranging from “I wish I was there”, to “I don’t think I could have managed that” ending finally with “that is everything I try to avoid in a surf trip (and life)”.

You’ve been warned.

Bad Karma Book | Amazon

Paul Wilson on Writing

Paul Wilson has made the rounds a little bit with the success of Bad Karma. I enjoy these conversations on life, surfing, and writing. Enjoy.

About Paul Wilson

This is Paul’s bio from his amazon page. Sounds like the kind of guy I’d like to go surf with.

“Paul is a lifelong resident of coastal San Diego, attending high school at a time when Independent surfing was an option for Phys. Ed., and Rock Poetry was passed off as an advanced English course.

It didn’t take much for him to become disenchanted with formal education and drop out of The University of Southern California to embrace his entrepreneurial side.

Paul is a multi-patented inventor, a photographer (, and has built several successful businesses.

Embracing his love of baseball and the ocean, he attends every San Diego Padres home game, and lives in Mission Beach, California.”

Surf Trip to Mexico in your future? Here are some of our other Mexico guides and resources:

Surf Guide to Mexico

Cabo Surf Hotel – The Perfect Cabo Surf Trip Hotel?

Troncones Mexico Surfing

Surf Travel Insurance – Should I get it?

Travel Book Reviews and Recommendations

Great Surf Trip Books

Great Surfing Books

On The Plain of Snakes – Paul Theroux

Written by Roam Chronicles

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