Why do we fall in love with the places we find on our travels? It is the place itself, the experiences we had, or the people we meet that makes a destination so special?
I’ve never really wanted “to go back.” I do my best to live in the moment and try not to focus on the past or the future, but now that I’m back on Ometepe for my third time, there’s a part of me that misses what it was like when I first arrived on the island.
A Longing to Re-Live The First Experience
As I boarded the ferry to Ometepe, which I’ve become quite accustomed to at this point, I looked around at the groups of backpackers visiting the island for the first time and felt a hint of jealousy. Knowing how amazing my first experience was, and how much it affected me, the element of surprise no longer exists for me. Although the island has become like an old friend and there’s a comfort I felt as I approached the two volcanoes towering above me, a part of me wished I could experience the newness again.
Where I was staying on the island, El Pital, doesn’t have wifi so that means I’ve had to make a daily journey somewhere else to check my email and complete various work related tasks. El Pital is about a 15-minute walk from El Zopilote, my first love on the island that holds a very special place in my heart, so I’m naturally drawn to do my work there.
Being back at Zopilote, walking to the various viewpoints scattered around the property, going to the infamous pizza night, and eating meals in the restaurant, my mind returned to what it was like when I first arrived. My thoughts have gone to the friends I made, the experiences I had, the people I reconnected with, and how all of it set the tone for an incredible four weeks of travel through Nicaragua.
Change is Our Only Constant
As I live and breath on the property today, everything has changed. It’s all different, even the landscape. When I arrived in November, it was the end of the rainy season, and everything was lush and green. It’s now the dry season, and the trees are bare, and the hills are brown from the lack of moisture. Of course, this is to be expected because change is the only constant in our lives, but I’d be lying if I said I haven’t been a little sad that things aren’t the same.
The energy at Zopilote and on Ometepe is different but the overall feel is the same, and I continue to love them. We can always return to the places that captured our hearts when we first met them, but the places will never be the same when we return. The travelers and volunteers we met will have left, the seasons will have changed the landscape, various locals may not remember us anymore, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing either. It means that we have the opportunity to create new memories and fall in love with the place all over again if we choose.