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 →
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 →
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.
It was our last night in Nicaragua and we were ready to party. Holly had arranged for us to spend the evening at La Bahia, a posh eco-friendly resort, sipping on Nicaraguan rum and enjoying the views of Nahualapa.
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 →
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 →
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 →
It was lunchtime at El Coco Loco when Bodhi arrived. He had come up to the restaurant to let Jamie know that he was here to drop off the horses. We were going to ride along the beach later that day and he was providing the livestock. Holly wasn’t there; she had taken some of the more experienced girls out to an advanced surf spot. I was the only one at the table so I introduced myself. Bodhi sat down and we lunched together.
Bodhi was from California but had been in Nicaragua for five years chasing adventure and love. He happened into the horse business and was now providing all the horses for Holly’s retreats. He inquired about my riding background and guaranteed me that I would enjoy today, claiming his horses were mild-tempered, responsive, and above all, fast. When we finished lunch, he asked if I wanted to go down and check out the horses. I agreed and followed him down to the meadow where they were tied.
We had just returned to El Coco Loco after a great morning of surf. Lunch was going to be served in awhile but because I am an impatient and bottomless pit of hunger, I brought my chocolate covered almonds with me to snack on (or gorge, rather).
When I sat down and began my feast, I found my eyes met by those of a very curious little boy sitting across the table.
His name was Christian. He was one of the local villagers who lived not far from El Coco Loco.
I was surprised and intrigued by him. Underweight and bearing the brunt of many scars, he had an air of optimism and happiness. He seemed at ease around Holly and the El Coco Loco staff but he eyed me with skepticism. I felt like an animal at a zoo and as he determined whether I was friend or foe. I decided not to make any sudden movements and smiled at him. I said hello and he looked pensive. I wasn’t helping the situation so I decided to act natural (which ended up being unbelievably unnatural) and went back to eating my chocolate covered almonds. Continue reading →
Tonight was the night for sun dresses and washed hair (we were dressed to the nines by Nicaragua standards). We were going out to dinner, or rather, up the hill to the “French guys’ place.” The actual name of the restaurant was Al Cielo, but we all kind of preferred calling it the prior.
We had to take two trucks. Some of the more adventurous girls would ride in the back of Jamie’s truck, bearing the elements and branches in the face on the bumpy dirt road.