Sunday, August 31, 2014

jeremy in nicaragua!

it's august, and another summer tour has come to fulfill the annual needs of my mind & body.  welcome reader to my nicaraguan adventure of 2014!

every piece of this trip was defined by the unknown, beginning with the plane tickets...noting some of the words from my last post in greece, i did have big intentions to make my way towards central america this summer.  however, my plan was costa how did i end up one country north?

i used the small coastal town of san juan del sur as base,
but also spent a night on the island of ometepe in the middle
of lake nicaragua surrounded by two active volcanoes...

while trying to find adventures and accommodation in costa rica, i found the basics to be a bit more expensive than i had anticipated.  in california, and as an american in general, most conversation about travel in central america is usually about costa rica, so i found it kinda easy to forget there were other places to see (huge mistake).  in defense of my ignorance, the united states does have travel advisories in 3 out of 6 central american countries; guatemala, el salvador and honduras...

pasture at the base of volcán concepción on isle ometepe

a friend made a subtle suggestion of nicaragua, and it's as if the map i had been staring at for days suddenly doubled in size. as if my mind realized the possibilities of discovering paradise in a place i knew very little about...

magnific rock, just south of popoyo, nicaragua

over the last ten years, i've made weak, albeit consistent attempts to become fluent in spanish.  a trip to nicaragua was an exciting test of the fragmented lessons i've managed to piece together.  though i live in california with plenty of opportunities to practice, i've always had a fear of trying to speak spanish to native speakers...well the time had come to throw fear aside and embrace the little that i do know for a full-immersion nica experience.

language was a big part of my decision to explore nicaragua, but i was in search of other indulgences as well.  friendship, adventure, solitude and beautiful landscapes...all of which i found each and every day of my nica tour:

to new friends now near and dear to my heart:  alan, milton, emelie, sandrine,
 isabelle, josh, ambur, ashley, brookly and the many more,
thank you for making my nica experience that much more enjoyable  :)

traveling on your own, you're quick to recognize the opportunity to make good friends.  organic companionship is undoubtedly one of the most vital conditions required for me to enjoy any experience.  it serves to make those experiences profoundly more impactful and meaningful...

i spent part of my day on the volcanic island ometepe hiking through
the thickest, densest jungle lands i've ever got hotter
& hotter as i made my way up the side of the volcano concepción

 i fell in-love with a white dirt bike, and i wasn't it's only admirer.  as i rode past the smallest of villages, locals young and old would smile and wave at me, but many of their eyes were fixed on the bike.  thanks to my moto blanco, i saw parts of this world that few people have been...

with a motor bike, i explored the isle ometepe, a dense volcanic jungle

washing machines in nicaragua are a luxury and i'm pretty
particular about my clothes, so i had the pleasure of
 handwashing my own stuff!

each and every one of the eleven days i had in nica was exciting, new and unplanned.  i spent days surfing, and i spent days exploring back country trails without a map.  i spent afternoons sprawled out on a massive hammock, exhausted from a late night out with new friends...

magnific rock.  popoyo can be seen towards the upper right

i spent hours on a couch watching soccer from all over the world in spanish.  i smoked an entire pack of cigarettes (why?), i watched intense, ground shaking thunderstorms pass by overhead in minutes, followed by luscious sunshine...

i made lifelong friends and i danced on top of benches and tables over the course of three seperate pub crawls.  i was pushed into a pool by a stranger at a pool party, got out, yelled at this stranger for being an ass, then gave him a hug 30 seconds later...

i sat in silence pondering questions of the future.  at 27, i still wonder on a regular basis, what life has in store.  nicaragua is a fascinating country, with much of the population living in the 3rd world, and many dependent on the limited resources of the socialist government.  as i grow older, i think more and more about what i can do to help those less fortunate than me...i witnessed some of the most intense poverty i've ever seen, and i was humbled with how the people made use of their limited resources.  the thought of what they are capable of with the right tools is so inspiring, i can't help but imagine the potential for success.

an extremely wealthy chinese entrepreneur has plans to begin building a canal cutting through the heart of nicaragua in an effort to compete with the panama canal operated by the united states.  the project is creating alot of tension within nica between people for and against the canals construction.  i see the pros and cons of the grand canal, as it's called locally.  it offers a clear economic boost in terms of local jobs, but it also creates significant environmental hazards, including tampering with the countries largest fresh water supply in lake nicaragua, and also the potential disturbance of active volcanoes...

it's the type of story i can see myself being apart, i don't know.  what i do know is that my adventure in nicaragua gave me more than i could have possibly expected.  as i progress in my exploration of civilization and culture around the world, i am continuously reminded of the beauty and wonder of the universe...

for more photos from my journey, see the full album here

thanks for reading!

- j

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