There’s truly something spiritual about Nicaragua as a whole. Perhaps it’s because I’ve been finding something spiritual in everything lately, or perhaps it’s because there really is the opportunity to fill your soul to the brim with each and every interaction that travel brings forth. Regardless of the reason, after our first go-go-go day on property, I began to settle into the environment.
When I think of the phrase “settling in” I think back to my recent trip to Grand Cayman where I met a new hotel friend who had traded in a faster-paced city life for a quieter, slower one in the Caribbean sun. I asked him how long it took him to settle in to island life and he simply stated, “I think coming here was less about settling in and more about accepting.”
That notion has stuck with me as I constantly retrain myself to put down my cell phone and time block my email correspondence so that I can fully embrace the destination that I’m in. Instead of settling in, I’m looking at it as accepting and, in particular, embracing the unexpected.
That’s half the beauty in travel, to be able to accept all that goes wrong and understand that very rarely is it actually going wrong, it’s happening just as it should. Just like when traffic comes to a stand-still for miles outside of a Nicaraguan neighborhood where the locals are marching down the streets, celebrating their Saints with dancing and cheering. So what if it puts you behind schedule? It shows you something you otherwise would’ve never seen.
We experienced this traffic standstill yesterday on the way to explore the nearby sites, like a quick drive through the colonial city of Granada and a photo op in front of the Masaya Volcano.
Before our visit to the volcano, we stopped by a local pottery shop, where we spent time observing a master of his craft: eleven generations strong, taught by his great-grandmother.
It was powerful, all that went into this one little piece of art. Each one takes up to four weeks to mold, dry, paint and set. All of the ingredients, from the clay to the colors, come from local, natural materials.
There was a certain reverence in the air as we all watched, entranced, as he spun the pottery wheel with his foot as one of our rangers played a soft, Spanish-style tune in the background. The potter shaped and reshaped the clay – first a fat and squatty bowl, then into a long, narrow pillar, then molding it back to something in between, a vase. It felt like a lesson in life: so often we think we have it all figured out, we believe that we know what shape we’re becoming when, in reality, we can’t even begin to imagine what we’re being formed into.
So much of who I am is discovered through the travel opportunities this industry has allotted me and, the more I’m able to connect with my clients on a personal basis, the more I see just how much travel should be celebrated as a means to self-discovery and fulfillment.
Absolutely grateful for this opportunity and the new (and old!) friends I got to experience it with. Readers, for a truly unique destination that is still operating steadily under the radar, choose Nicaragua. The country itself took me by all kinds of surprise, but especially surprising was this little gem of a luxury Central American safari experience. Nekupe will forever hold a special place in my heart.