In Memory of Talei Jones

Two weeks after saying goodbye to the inspirational women on our retreat, we were struck with tragedy. Talei Jones, my bunkmate and fellow adventurer, had been killed in a horrific car accident in Jamaica.

Photo by Andrea Preziotti

We were all stunned by the abrupt end to her beautiful, compassionate, and young life. I think it impacted each of us deeply. When you spend that much time with such a small group of women, you can’t help but leave tightly bonded to each other. Having her taken from this world was like fraying the ends of our collective fabric. We would never be complete without her, though we would always carry her memory in our spirits. She was a part of us. Continue reading

New Eyes and Bare Feet

It all seems like a vivid dream.

I can fully remember the experience of being on a Nicaraguan beach. I remember how the ridges of the sea shells felt against the bottom of my feet but I can’t seem to get back there again. Like those sweet dreams that are interrupted by screaming alarm clocks; you can’t return to the same magical land no matter how many times you reposition your pillow.

Photo by Andrea Preziotti

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Nicaragua Adventures- the movie

Thanks to Holly Beck for putting this together.


I will forever remember how badass I felt when I caught my first wave. I now realize how stupid I actually looked, but that’s okay. One day my surfing skills will match the emotions I experience when I pop-up on a board (I hope). Continue reading

Heading Home Somewhere Over a Rainbow

I mulled over my peanut buttered bagel. This trip had been so enlightening, inspiring, and nurturing; I had never met such a spectacular group of women. Everyday was such a great experience, even eating breakfast seemed like an adventure. It was hard to believe we were sharing our last meal in paradise.

Photo by Andrea Preziotti

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One Last Sunrise

I opened my eyes as the first beam of light peered in through the curtains. It was around five in the morning; the stillness of the day was only broken by the breaking dawn and a the sound of a lazy rooster.

Talei was still sleeping. I noiselessly crept out from my mosquito net and grabbed my camera. My ninja skills were surprising, and I actually didn’t make too much noise until I opened the cabana door. With a giant creak of the hinges, Talei rolled over. Mentally apologizing, I slipped out and flip-flopped down the shell-strewn path.

Photo by Andrea Preziotti

I made my way to Andrea’s cabana. She was already awake and just finishing her packing. Waving a hello to Jen, I waited for Andrea to finish. We headed down to the garden gate and out to the beach. Continue reading

Paddling outside my comfort zone

It was our last day to go surfing. As we walked down the beach, Nicole commented on how glassy and perfect the waves looked; the stars had aligned to give us a morning of awesomeness and I was ready.

Photo by Andrea Preziotti

I caught a few cute waves in and was improving on my pop-up. However, every time I felt unsteady I jumped off my board. Holly swam over to pep me up, telling me it was time to quit bailing and just stick it.

She was right; bailing was no longer an option. I caught a few more small waves and rode them into shore. I was dead tired from our volcano boarding excursion the day before and decided to hang out on the beach for a bit. Apparently I wasn’t the only one; the other girls trickled in opting to sunbathe and nap. Continue reading

Cerro Negro Part 2: There’s volcanic ash in my bra

We stopped about halfway up the volcano to catch our breath. The rain had just start letting up and Babs wasn’t sure how long our window was before it would start pouring down again (or before one of us would be struck by lightning). She gave us the reader’s digest informational speech on Cerro Negro to speed up our downtime.

I took advantage of the camera-safe moment to document our frightening experience, since I was too distracted and excited to really pay attention.

Babs talking about the volcano

As you can see, our adventure brought about mixed emotions of exhilaration, wonder, and a dash of misery (it was freezing). Continue reading

Cerro Negro Part 1: A dune buggy, lightning storm, and thoughts of eminent doom

Today was the day we were going volcano boarding (more accurately, volcano tobogganing). This was the event that had sold me on Holly’s retreat and I was so ready to go. How often do you get to hike up and then board down the world’s most active cinder cone volcano? My point exactly.

Photo by Andrea Preziotti

We had taken off around noon that day to drive out to Leon. Holly had business to take care of in Chinandega so she would not be joining us. As we left El Coco Loco, she would wave goodbye and shout to us, “Remember, slow and steady wins the race!” Holly had changed her tune since she wiped out on the side Cerro Negro on her last trip and busted her ankle. I wasn’t planning on breaking any speed records that day, especially riding down a 45 degree slope, but I was stoked nonetheless. Continue reading

Coincidence? I Think Not.

So as I continued my Nicaraguan adventures, I couldn’t help but feel like my decision to take this trip was more than just crazy random happenstance.

Photo by Andrea Preziotti

The more time I spent getting to know Holly, the more I realized how much we had in common. And it wasn’t stuff like we both love our time in the ocean or like the color blue. It seemed as if everyday another commonality would pop up (unlike me on my board). I started to think that these weren’t just coincidences and because I’m me, I started writing them down for analysis later on. Continue reading