In June last year I had no idea what I was doing it where I was going. No commitments, enough money to go where I wanted (awful problem I know). However I still couldn’t figure it out. Then all of a sudden Facebook reminded me that exactly a year earlier I had left Nicaragua. Oh Nicaragua, my second home, why did I decide to leave again? And then I remembered that I left for no real reason at all…I left because I felt a societal pressure to move home and do something ‘real’ with my life. However since returning home and realising that conforming to the ideals of a normal lifestyle wasn’t going to make me happy at 22 I decided to leave again. Therefore it was only logical to return to Nicaragua, I felt as though I had unfinished business there. I messaged my old bosses/friends with my idea to come back and before I knew it I had booked a flight and would be returning in three short weeks! After booking the flight I was so incredibly excited and that feeling told me I had made the right decision.
I arrived in Nicaragua in early July with grand plans for myself over the next six months – I set goals and deadlines. Those six months quickly turned into seven and after five months I realised I had barley made a dent in achieving what I wanted to. At first I was angry at myself. I berated myself and started to develop a bit of a negative self image. However after some reflection I realised that this was unwarranted and I had actually achieved quite a lot. At the end of the day five months isn’t too much time in the grand scheme of my life. Because although I didn’t achieve exactly what I set out to – I now understand it is okay to veer off the path sometimes as long as you make positive progress.
To be fair to myself did achieve part of what I set out to do. I learnt WAY more spanish (now I just have to get enough confidence to speak it), I visited many more parts of the country which I hadn’t previously, climbed the highest volcano, I partied less and I gave got out of my western/materialistic mindset a bit.
My favourite thing about living in Nicaragua is living simply. Simply in comparison to my life in Australia. My house here is basic, I don’t own many things and I love it. No one cares about how much money I make, the clothes I wear or which cafe I took my last insgagram photo at. Everyone is just happy if you are happy. In Aus I fell back into the mindset of wanting for the sake of wanting. Living back in Nicaragua help me adjust that mindset real quick. When you watch people live off $5 a day and they’re ranked some of the happiest in the world it makes you remember that things don’t make you happy. Connections do.
The sense of community here is really what I crave most when I’m back in a developed country. I didn’t realise this until I had an Israeli guy question me about why I left home. Everyone at home is so caught up in their own lives that they barley make time to message their friends let alone stop and give someone on the street directions. Here is completely opposite, everything is so relaxed (sometimes too relaxed) and people are genuinely happy to give you time out of their day. Although they barley have anything to give Nicaraguan are happy to give you what have.
Oh the people. Nicaraguan people are really incredible. Sure they might stare at me on the street, can be lazy and being Latino are extremely dramatic to the point of driving one crazy. But on a whole they are so lovely and kind. They’re an accepting and open nation of people and considering their long, bloody history it is surprising. There are a lot of innovative things happening through the youth of Nicaragua and I can’t wait to watch the country grow in the right direction. Nica is becoming such a hot spot now and I just hope the gringos don’t push out the potential of locals.
Working with tourists everyday I was lucky not only to meet amazing locals but also hundreds of interesting extranjeros. This is one of the things I initially got so mad at myself about. When I arrived back at Bigfoot I didn’t want to party as much but meeting so many awesome people I ended up partying more than expected (although not as much as last time, thank goodness). However it turned out not to be a bad thing because over many beers many interesting and challenging conversations were had. Plus I improved my hand eye co-ordination through beerpong. I also accepted that I really do love to party and be social, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s also something about me which doesn’t seem to be changing.
And that is the biggest thing I learnt during my time back in Nicaragua. Acceptance. I came to realise things about myself and I also came to realise that some of these things won’t ever change – they’re part of me and always will be. For example I probably will always talk as much and as fast as I do. My energy levels don’t seem to be decreasing either. Those things I can work with easily and they’re traits I’ve learned to like about myself. But then came bigger realisations about things I’ve been trying to hide or change for years (things I am not sharing on this public blog haha). However once I accepted them it has made them easier to work with. Which is all part of growing up I guess. Gosh I sound like I’m in AA haha. But really meeting so many people over the last six months has shown me that it is better to accept you for you and start living a life you want not a life others want for you. Because in your heart of hearts you always know what you want, sometimes it’s just hard to accept. It was the feeling I had when I decided to come back to Nica and it’s the feeling I got when I made travel plans to leave. It’s that excitement that makes you smile everyday. That’s the feeling to live off, everything else will work itself out.
Sometimes it’s crazy to realise you’re growing up. So here’s to the year ahead – the year of living my life for me! I feel ready leaving my second home this time but I also know I won’t stay away for long! Nicaragua, te amo.