First off, I need to apologize in advance if I get a bit loopy towards the end of this blog post. I just took a sleeping aid, and I expect it to kick in right about when I should be finishing this post. I just got back from Bali and my sleep cycle still hasn’t synched in with the Calgary summer nights. yes poor me, right? heh.

So I left you off with me going back to the beach lodge suuuuuper early in the morning.

Well, sitting at the breakfast table were 3 guys, and I can still picture the look of surprise and intrigue on their faces as I was walking from the entrance towards the coffee. I went to sit down and take my pack off and ordered some breakfast and enjoyed my delicious Nicaragua coffee (seriously, it’s so damn tasty). And the guys were all talking to themselves in some foreign language and I was thinking “man, these guys are rude.” Haha typical Canadian.

The manager came to greet me and then he introduced me to the three guys, and made some joke how he had convinced me to come back when he told me that there were three Norwegian men coming to stay for a week. I laughed it off, had a sip of coffee, and then the guys continued to yap at eachother in what I knew then was Norwegian. I still didn’t learn their names, and I was in between wake-up and coffee, so I wasn’t about to make a solid effort to learn while my brain was still trying to get off the Chicken bus.

We all kind of minded our own business until later that day, the guys were sitting having a beer at the bar, and I decided “ah fuck it” and went to go try to involve myself. Well, mostly I just was craving a rum and coke, but hey, no harm in chatting up with a few Norwegian dudes. I finally learned their names. Well kind of. Apparently my Canadian mouth doesn’t make Norwegian sounds. I’m going to leave the names out of this, but if you’re Norwegian, or if you know Norwegians, you’ll understand.

We all had some pretty good conversations, mixed in with them talking to eachother in Norwegian. Seriously…. so rude!* haha. We compared travel times, and I found out they were doing a very lengthy central America trip and that this was the very first leg of it. We chatted about surfing and turtles and maple syrup. They seemed like pretty cool guys after all. Any guy who allows a Canadian to divulge on their love of maple syrup had to be. They tried to tell me that Norway was known for their salmon, and I basically replied with a “Bitch please! Canada has some pretty solid salmon as well!” And I started to figure out that other than language, Norway and Canada were pretty damn similar.

Over the course of a couple days, I began to really bond with one of them. Let’s call him Paul. I would sit at the top of the yoga platform and “read my book” but I was actually up there watching him surf. Haha creepy, I know. He was super into photography, and was always nerding out on the computer on Lightroom. I am an avid photographer, so it definitely was neat to meet someone who loved it as much as I do. One afternoon we went for a walk on the beach together to find cheaper cervezas at the other side of town. We joked about maybe I could marry a local and open up a surf camp. The conversation was easy, and there was a little bit of playful teasing and banter, yet I had no idea this guy was actually really interested in me. Either I’m oblivious to any type of flirtation, or Norwegians just really suck at it. Kidding, kind of.

One night there was a huge lightning storm and the power went out. Everyone was up on the yoga deck watching the lightning flash over the ocean. I brought my camera to catch some of the action, and there I see Paul snapping pictures of the storm too. He let me borrow his tripod (how romantic, lol) and we sat side by side taking pictures of the lightning. And I hate to disappoint you, but at this time, I still was completely oblivious that this guy was interested. And he was a gentleman so he didn’t make any first moves. But I also have to admit, I did really want to kiss him. But I’m a chicken and so was he, so that never happened. Que the trombone: wahn wahhhhn

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One of the shots I got from the storm

My time there was coming to an end. The last night, I met another Albertan. The Norwegians were nowhere to be found, so the fellow Albertan and I went down the beach to a hostel and met more Canadians and we all partied. It was pretty fun. I had a ton of American money to get rid of, so I kept on buying the whole place rounds of “glitter shots” which was a shot of rum with your eyes closed, while the bartender threw glitter on you. One of the best nights I had in Nicaragua.

The next morning, I discovered I was locked out of the bathroom (I had a shared bathroom between me and another guest, and they locked my door in the night and forgot to unlock it) So there I was, 6 am, in all my sparkly glory, heading over to get some much needed coffee before my journey back to Managua. And there, sitting at the breakfast table was Paul.

“Where did you go last night?” Was his first question. I told him, and mentioned that I did look for him and his buddies but couldn’t find them. That’s when I learned they were napping because of the jetlag.

“Why are you covered in glitter?” was his second. Which, really probably was his first but he probably hoped to get that answer with the initial question.

I explained to him my situation and he laughed. And I think he made some comment about how cute it was, and I, like the idiot I am, just laughed it off. He was disappointed that I was leaving that morning, but we both shared how awesome it was to meet each other, and he asked for my Facebook. And we went our separate ways. Sometimes when people ask for your Facebook, they never do add you, so I had very little expectations.

I eventually made it back to Canada, after joining up with my friend after her hike, and we shared stories and both caught up on some much needed laziness on our last day in Nicaragua before our 6am flight the next morning. I was positive that I wouldn’t hear from the cute Norwegian I should have kissed, and I regretted not getting his Facebook. I was hoping he was having a blast.

 

*I learned later on that they were secretly commenting on how cute I was, and that I drink too much rum. Haha.

 

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Oh! It’s been quite a while since I last left off… when I was about to book insanely cheap tickets to Nicaragua for two weeks with one of my hiking partners. Completely random, but something deep down was telling me that I would regret it if I didn’t book those flights, even before I had the vacation approved. So there I was, buzzing with that adrenaline-fueled apprehension right before you click the “Reserve Now” icon on Expedia. Well, maybe that feeling isn’t the same when you actually plan to go somewhere instead of spontaneously deciding within hours of an idea being implanted in your adventurous little brain. You haven’t lived until you book flights on a whim!

I called to tell my mom the moment I booked the tickets, and I can only imagine the horrified look on her face when, out of the blue, I told her that I was flying to Nicaragua in 6 months. My mom has a heart condition. I should know better…but she was ok, due to years of me conditioning her, much like one would to run a 50 mile marathon, except with news of bungee jumping and Thailand jungle trekking, and Canadian Rockies mountain hiking, oh and the time that I called her to tell her that I had jumped out of an airplane in NZ- at least I had the decency to tell her after I was safe on the ground!

The summer was long and wonderful, filled with lots of my regular rocky mountain camping and hiking adventures, and the decision to book a week at a surf camp for the first week of my trip to Nicaragua. The second week was going to be purely “fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants”.. We had dreams about sun and surf, turtles and volcanoes.

October came, and off we went. I soon realized why the flights were so extremely cheap… the airplane from Calgary to Houston didn’t even have TV screens, so I had to entertain myself like the good ol days and read a book. Then I got to enjoy a lovely 6 hour layover in Houston, where there were many TV’s, but every single one had a different football game on it. The irony.

We finally arrived in Managua, and had a van scheduled to pick us up and transport us 3 hours to the surf camp. It was about 9pm, and what else would one do at 9pm on vacation? Oh yes, we got ourselves some wobbly-pops, much to our driver’s dismay. Turns out 3 hours drinking beer in a van on twisty-turny roads doesn’t fare well for some, and my friend ended up becoming quite ill. This was off to a great start.

After multiple stops, and a couple frantic phone calls from the manager at the surf camp “Where are you? Why haven’t you arrived? Are the girls ok?”, we were greeted at the surf camp at 1am by a couple of the bar staff and the bleary-eyed manager. We quickly learned that we were the only ones there, and had the whole place to ourselves (it was right at the end of the rainy season, and peak season had not quite picked up yet) So our arrival was kind of a big deal. The place was phenomenal, right on the beach. It was truly paradise.

Our week of surfing, paddleboarding, releasing baby turtles into the ocean, and maybe just a bit of rum-tasting, with a side of karaoke and volcano boarding, came to an end too quickly. The manager knew that we were staying another week in Nicaragua and we were encouraged to stay for the remainder of the time, but we wanted to go check out other areas of Nicaragua. He even enticed us with the promise that “3 Norwegian guys are to arrive tomorrow!” which was a bit interesting, but our decision remained true.

We arrived in Leon, and found a humble little hostel close to the city centre. We wandered around a bit and did the touristy thing, and my friend inquired about some hiking excursions.

Now I have to be clear; I love hiking. It’s fun, and a great way to see things that you don’t normally see. Except when it’s 35 degrees and 100% humidity. This is where the Canadian in me draws the line. I explained to my friend that I was not going to be convinced to hike in a tropical jungle, but I was not opposed to us going our separate ways. My theory was, she could go for her 5-day trek through the jungle, and I would go back to being a beach bum, because I was starting to get really good at that. I had even made friends with some of the locals at the surf camp, so the prospect was very appealing. I had completely forgot about the Norwegians until my friend exclaimed “You just want to go back to meet the Norwegian boys!”. Ok, so there was another good reason.

So I hopped on the chicken bus early the next morning with my pack and made the hour-and a half journey back to the surf camp, leaving my friend behind. I arrived back at the surf camp at about 7am (it was a VERY early bus) and walked across the lawn to be greeted by three guys sitting down having breakfast, and the cook exclaiming “Hi Amanda!”. It felt amazing to be back…


 

…..Ooooh cliffhanger! I must run to go catch a romantic chick flick with one of my girlfriends, but I promise, there is still more to my story! (I’ll give you a hint, the reason why I’m going to a romantic movie with a girlfriend is because my boyfriend currently lives 7,000 km away…..)

Thanks for reading! This is my first attempt at seriously writing a blog, so please comment with any suggestions, or just let me know if you’ve enjoyed it thus far!

Happy reading!

 

 

 

I’m going to start out by saying something everyone knows already… life is weird. No, like really weird. Ever have those moments when you look back on your life and think “How the hell did I get here?!” This is me right now. Which is why I decided to write about it, and send it all off into the gigantic, incomprehensible world of the internet, where maybe someone, somewhere, will read this and think “oh damn, that is weird!”. One can only hope, right?

13 years ago [wait, when did that happen?!] I graduated high school from a teeny tiny dot-on-the-map not even worth labeling town. Class of 22 students, in a school of around 300 kids Kindergarten to grade 12. Tiny town. I once came home to steers in the front yard, which had escaped from the farm down the street. Keep in mind, I lived in town.

 I was the loner, the one that nobody asked to take to graduation (we had to pair up do to the “world famous” dance company in town having choreographed an incredibly cheesy routine involving couples waltzing around to some coming-of-age ballad… I was forced to pair up with a 7 foot guy, and being the 5’1 that I am, it was basically the comedic highlight of the night). I was quiet and artistic, and my art portfolio had me accepted at one of the only Fine Art Colleges of the province. This was my ticket out of that dastardly town, and I could not wait to move to the big ol city of Calgary, Alberta.

Then, 3 years later, to my parent’s complete horror and dismay, I dropped out of Art School.

Hey, but it wasn’t so bad! I ended up zipping through a 5 month certificate program at one of the Polytechnic schools and started working as a clerk in Health Care. Something in my gut told me that I should do something more practical with my life. Looking back, it was probably one of the best decisions of my life. Not to knock those artsy-fartsy folk who ended up finishing their Bachelor of “Put garbage into a room and say it’s a commentary on Society” degree; because if that’s your bag, then all the power to you!

I was lucky. I landed a job at a time when they were practically begging for employees. Got my foot in the door and ended up advancing to a full time position within the year. I was making pretty good money, and had benefits, vacation time, and a steady paycheque. I decided to save up and do something I had always dreamt of doing; travel to New Zealand. This is where the travel bug infected me and never let go. OH the notorious travel bug…

Two years later, New Zealand turned into South East Asia, que the “you’re such a world traveller” comments. I was living life and doing my thing. Always travelled solo, I felt on top of the world.

Then, that summer, my appendix decided to be a complete jerk, and self-destruct. I really don’t know how this happens or why, but man, I was sick. I ended up being admitted and discharged from the hospital three times, and my total stay in hospital was around 25 days. Due to complications, my organs were failing and I was essentially dying. I don’t remember it that dramatically (I was just really, really sleepy and didn’t want to eat or shower, kind of like any typical Sunday after a night of drinking), but after some luck and lots of meds, I pulled through.

Shortly after this ordeal, I started dating a guy whom I met online before my appendix situation. He actually was pretty awesome while I was recovering. He took time off to drive me around and explore the province with. It was really cute and endearing and basically shit that Nicholas Sparks writes about. I started to “fall in love”. I’m saying that in quotations because looking back, I know it wasn’t love, but just that “oh but he’s so nice” feeling that my brain was trying to tell my heart. My heart actually was like “bitch, you’re tripping” or maybe it was my brain saying that to my heart. I dunno, there was some sort of discrepancy.

I was STOKED. I was finally feeling better, and finally I had someone I could travel the world with and do all these romantic amazing things with, learn about the world with, and laugh as we tumble into a sandy shoreline with dolphins in the distance leaping over the sunset. Or something.

But then I realized that this guy wasn’t into travelling like I was. But, like the “in love” idiot I was, I thought “hey, that’s ok! I love you and I would settle for you because I’m an idiot!” well maybe those weren’t my exact words, but pretty freakin’ close. The travel bug went into remission and after about a year of dating him, I convinced myself that I was ready to settle down and build a stationary boring life. I’ll give you one guess as to what happened after I decided I was going to settle for something I essentially didn’t want… yup, it blew up in my face.

Break-up’s generally suck. This one essentially didn’t.

It took me a couple years of saving up, dealing with family stuff, dating a few more unsuitable and questionable men, and a frantic text from my friend stating “Flights to Nicaragua are on sale for $450 round-trip!” to book my next trip…

Don’t worry, the story doesn’t end there!