One of my old travel buddy's gave me a ring one Saturday morning, three days later we were both on a plane to Nicaragua.
I'm someone who lives for the road, the culture & the people. I find joy in the possibility of the journey even if doesn't end up happening. However when everything falls into place and the journey does happen, you never know where the road will take you.
I'm not the vacationer who has ever stayed at an all inclusive resort, consider me more of a wanderer that takes every opportunity to walk the road less traveled and yes it has made all the difference (Reference to a poem by Robert Frost ). When a good friend gave me a call to journey on a day's notice, only one thing usually comes to mind at that moment:
If not now then when?
Nicaragua was never on the top of my travel destinations but having covering the Central American countries of Costa Rica and Panama for the last four years, it would only make sense to expand my horizon to map out new grounds in a new place.
Traveling with purpose
When it comes to travel plans, everyone has an agenda for why they want to venture to certain region or country. For me it came from my first visit to Costa Rica in 2010 where I decided I was interested in international development work. A group of us were working out of the Barrio of La Carpio in San Jose & came to realize that the majority of people housed in the barrio were Nicaraguan. Nicaraguans had started to make up a minority population in their bordering country of Costa Rica, not very much to liking of locals, who had seen them as the cause of increased crime. I became interested in learning more about the economic flight as my own story was tied to this very idea of seeking success in another land and living in borough which I would consider as an arrival city.
So It became natural that when I travel, I do so with reason. You will find that the most fulfilling journey comes when you give yourself more purpose then just on a beach sipping on rum and cokes. Being a strong believer that if your taking a vacation from life then your doing something wrong, I travel not to escape life but to make sure that life does not escape us. Travel to have a good time but travel with reason and travel with a deeper purpose.
Mapping your route:
The world has become smaller, access to learning, knowing and seeing foreign lands is now at your fingertips. You can plan like no tomorrow, but you can't plan for the unexpected. I always pick up a travel guide to get a quick crash course on the destination I'm visiting. as it helps me maximize the limited time I have on short term trips. There is however beauty in just following a route as it appears in front of you. Use travel guides to map out possible dangers and places that would be worth seeing on the journey. Never use them as the only deciding factor to what must be done, after all they are just guides.
Very often the best guides are people who live there or have been traveling through there, I try to make contacts before I arrive at my destination and more importantly while I'm there, for the possibly that I may return to do development work down there someday. Wanting to make the most out of every trip, I would plan a heavy loaded itinerary only to find out that it wouldn't pan out exactly the way I planned. Learn to do research for a rough plan before hand but be able to adapt to a new one at any moment on the road.
Knowing that there is no place like home:
The comforts of what we have, the way of life we are use to, the necessities we take for granted, none of these are guaranteed when you take the road less traveled. Don't be a tourist, be a traveler who understands and knows how their footprints in the world differs from others.
We often compare countries we've visited to one's we are currently traveling, I do it all the time. It's a sense of comfort where we are seeking to be in a place that is familiar like home. There are some times where you find a connection to a place that you are visiting and there are other times where you are disappointed because it's not what your expected. There is no place like home, so travel on the road with no expectations other than simply being on a journey that will take you to someplace new.
I came back from Nicaragua sick, my immune system was rejecting the way I was traveling, we were on the road almost every day & it made me realize the type of journey that I can no longer take.
To Be Continued: Chasing Your Personal Legend