What I Learned on Vacation in Nicaragua
I have been away on vacation for the last couple weeks without access to very much in the form of electronics, internet, phone, or even that much English. As I fly over the friendly skies I wanted to share some of what I learned and we all forget about from time to time in our everyday lives straight from my Nicaraguan family vacation.
One of the biggest and best surprises for me was the cost of food and drink. In Nicaragua the currency is Cordobas, the approximate rate is 25=$1. A good example was the first restaurant that we went to, I ordered the Steak with Shrimp, which came to 250 Cordobas, which everyone acknowledged would be one of the more expensive meals I would be enjoying on my stay. It was very easy to order a meal and drink for what would be $3 in the US for the remaining trip. Money can certainly be stretched on vacation in Nicaragua whether it is for their famous Flora de Cana rum or fresh from the farm coffee, I will be enjoying both back in Chicago.
The main forms of transportation are school buses, like the one shown above. Except they don’t take a single kid to school that I know of, instead it is similar to a greyhound system. You can toss your furniture, beans, rice, and even yourself on top of the bus and take you to the next stop or local city. Since we had family and friends we rode around in a Toyota Hilux known as “The Indestructible Truck”, which fits 4-5 people normally, but in our case anywhere from 5-10 people, which included riding in the back enjoying the mountains and fresh air. I also saw many people walking, riding bicycles, dirt bikes, and like our truck, carpooling carrying many travelers. Next time you are ready to jump into your SUV to run to the local store, ask yourself what’s wrong with taking a nice walk to get some fresh air?
Turn It Off
One of my favorite parts of vacationing in Nicaragua was the ability to turn everything off, sometimes by choice and sometimes without option or need. We rented a house in San Juan del Sur for a couple days about 10-15 minutes away from the beaches and people, which even in Nicaragua is pretty impressive. The house did have a TV(never turned on), WIFI(used for playing music), but electronics were the last thing on our minds. We could see the ocean, mountains, and a pool right in front of our faces. If a break was needed, I jumped into the hammock to read a book or stare out into the natural scenic beauty. If I needed more entertainment there were 4 dogs to run around with, the owner’s vacation photos to look at which included looking back at the 70’s and 80’s, this could all be done without even leaving the house. I’m sure most people today use a computer or phone at work, then when they get home cook some dinner, watch a little TV and then play on the computer or phone. Why not Turn It Off? Try going a day or even a week to take a break from when you get home, it can be one of the most relaxing and cost efficient decisions that you fits in your day, trust me I did it almost every day on vacation.
Empty Your Closet
One of the things I made sure to do before I left Chicago was to go through my closets and drawers and give some of my clothes away. What I ended up giving away was a Nike hockey sized bag full of clothes, what I took with me to wear was a carry on size luggage. You know what it felt great*, there was tons of items that I have worn for years, don’t wear at all, and items that I still have hope that 30 something me will fit into my 18 year old self’s clothes. I do have an advantage with having Mrs. Even Steven’s family down there, so they are able to distribute the clothes to family, friends, and workers who need them far more than I do. Here’s your chance to get rid of a few things in your closet. You can certainly give them to your family or donate them to a charity which can be included as a tax write off, check with your local tax adviser of course.
Nicaragua is a great place for adventure and beauty that unlike many locations is untapped, which gave us a great opportunity to enjoy our family vacation with Mrs. Even Steven and all the Mrs. Even Steven Nicaraguan Family. We were able to spend almost the entire vacation with her Mother and two brothers, but we vacationed with many others including Aunt’s, Uncle’s, Grandma’s, Cousins, Sisters, and many other family friends. Since I am not as close with many of those living in Nicaragua it was easy to see the happiness in each face as they say hello, give each other a kiss on the cheek, and ask each other how they have been. Don’t forget the opportunities you have to enjoy the times with your family even if it is for a short period of time.
I’m ready to get back to sleeping in my own bed, walking my dog, and brewing my Nicaraguan coffee, but I will take each day a little differently, I hope you will do the same.
* I actually have this dream to sell off or give away every article of clothing I own besides the clothes on my back and start over. I would limit myself to the ultimate necessity’s, which in my dream is a pair of nice cargo shorts, 3 white shirts, sandals, and pair of Nike Cortez. This dream includes retirement of course.
Any pictures were taken from my phone enjoying my vacation, if you choose to use them I ask that you link back to this post to share my message with others, thank you.