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Lost in Nicaragua

That’s a picture of the hammock where I spent the last five days.  You can’t see it from the photo, but just to the left of the hammock is the ocean.

For five dollars a night, I stayed at a hostel that was only a hundred meters from a deserted beach.  The nearest town was an hour away and the only living creatures I saw the entire week (besides the half a dozen Canadian and Californian surfers) were  cows and horses and the farmers that lead them for walks along the shoreline.

Every morning I got up at five thirty and meditated with the hermit crabs and the geckos and then went for a long walk.  I swam. I read four books and wrote in my journal.  But mostly, I just layed in my hammock and stared at the ocean.

On about the fourth day, Helen, the waitress at the hostel’s small restaurant, asked me, in Spanish:  “Are you sad?”

I laughed and answered:  “No, just lost.”

She contemplated me for a moment and then sat in the hammock next to mine.

“I have no plan for my life,” I said, trying to offer a better explanation. But I knew that even if I had the Spanish vocabulary to articulate concepts like ‘quarter-life crisis’ and ‘travel addiction’, I would have been far too embarrassed to present those to her as if they resembled anything like real problems.  My biggest concerns at the moment involved worries about finding a job when I returned to the US and how I was going to endure the shame of returning home to live with my parents again.  There was no way I was going to tell that to a girl who not only lived with her parents, but who worked 10 hours a day for six dollars a day.  At 20, she’d already gotten married, given birth and been divorced.  She lived in a house with no walls, only a grass-thatched roof held up by four spindly pieces of wood.  And she was missing a tooth.

And while you would think that this life comparison would give me some perspective and perhaps even make me feel grateful for all the wonderful opportunities I’ve been given, it just made me depressed.

Since I couldn’t explain why I felt lost (even to myself), I remained quiet.  Helen and I sat there for the next 20 minutes, rocking back in forth together in our hammocks and watching the sun set, a flamingo pink over a grey, choppy ocean.  I fretted over whether or not I should enrol in a hammock sewing class in Granada while she probably fretted over whether or not she had enough money to buy beans to feed her two-year-old.

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9 thoughts on “Lost in Nicaragua

  1. Reannon- have you ever considered getting a life coach? I’ve always heard good things about them, and my mother has been suggesting for a few years that I try one, but I always thought I could figure out what I wanted to do on my own. Since I returned from Japan 3 years ago I’ve had a series of dead end jobs that left me feeling unfulfilled and un satisfied. I know I want to get my masters, but I don’t know in what. Like you, I am also in a quarter life crisis at 26. I finally decided to bite the bullet and called a life coach. She’s based in NYC but will do sessions over the phone or using skype cam, my first session is this tuesday! When I spoke with her briefly she said that she works with people to explore what they really want do, and then figure out goals to make that happen. If the sessions go well and I find that she’s helped me I can give you her info if you’re interested.

    On another note, on your bug post, I would have been a “wimp” right there with you, bugs don’t bother me as much but I HATE/am TERRIFIED of snakes. Also, I read an article about a girl who travled to India with her boyfriend on a vacation and one day they went swimming in a pond behind their hotel. The concierge or whatever at the hotel told them there were no crocodiles in the pond but shortly after they started swimming the girl was eaten by a crocodile! So maybe it’s better you didn’t go in the water, haha. Enjoy Leon!

  2. @ Sarah – I’ve heard of life coaches but have never thought of using one myself. They sound expensive…How much do you have to pay per session? Is it as expensive as a therapy session?

    Yeah, let me know how that works out for you. I could probably use some professional advice.

    About that girl getting eaten by a crocodile. I’m so telling my old housemates that! I guess I wasn’t being THAT paranoid. To me, getting eaten by a crocodile is like, the worst possible way to die. I mean, drowning and being eaten alive at the same time? I’d rather be burned alive. Or stabbed. Or shot…or just about anything else.

    When I was in Nepal, the villagers all told me that the crocodiles (or alligators…I’m not sure what the difference is) never went by this certain section of the river because the current was so strong. So one day I was walking along the river when I spotted one sunbathing only a few meters away. I’ve never trusted what anyone has to say about crocodiles ever since.

  3. wow — this looks beautiful! where is this in nicaragua? and what a great place to be lost. hammock + view + books + hostel friend . . .
    i’ve been reading for awhile, but haven’t commented until now.
    be well!
    -jess

  4. Hey Jess,

    Thanks for commenting! It’s actually in Northern Nicaragua, about an hour outside of Chinandega (SP?) and two hours from Leon. I don’t think the village it’s located in has a name…But if you email me, I can send you the link to the hotel. Are you going to Nica soon?

  5. Have you ever considered that you are asking yourself questions that don’t need to answered? Going into too much depth? We’ve all done it, don’t get me wrong.
    When we spend too much time questioning life and what we’re doing, we build walls and become less likely to see all the opportunities around us.

    Every day is a clean slate. You can live any way you want to, but usually only one thing will count in the end: do what you said you would do (whatever that is). Don’t stop and check in on your feelings all the time. You don’t have to FEEL anything to DO something (“I don’t feel like doing the washing up/ I’m feeling too down to sit down and write/ I’m feeling too insecure to get a job”. Nobody cares about that and neither should you). I’m learning to apply this, catching myself fall back into the same whiny patterns and straightening back up and I think it’s working!

  6. Hi Jen B,

    Yeah I definitely think I have the tendency of over-thinking everything! Everyone tells me that. It’s definitely something I’ve been trying to work on (without much success obviously!). ; )

  7. Re- I’m not planning on heading to Nica soon, but maybe in the future. I was in South America last year; I’m ready for a new adventure, new pais. I hear you’re coming back to the states — woop woop! – Jess

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