Yes. You read that right. I am currently living in an eco-village in Nicaragua. But not just anywhere in Nicaragua. I’m on Ometepe Island in Lake Nicaragua, one of the most special places I’ve encountered during my years of travel. What can I say? This island has me hooked.
Not only that, I’m living with an earth-based spiritual community called InanItah.
What Happens When Things Don’t Go as Planned
How did I end up here? I’ve been asking myself this question since I arrived on Ometepe 17 days go. My plan when I initially booked my trip to Nicaragua looked very different.
I was returning to Ometepe to see a guy I’d met on the island. We got together right before I left and the connection was intense. I was heartbroken to leave and vowed to return. When I asked to come back six weeks after leaving, he said “of course!” and I booked my flight a week later. Six days before I left home, the boy told me he’d met another girl. He said I was still welcome to visit and stay with him, in fact, he wanted me there, but things would be different.
I knew when I left Ometepe that there was a very strong possibility this would happen, which is why I was so distraught to leave in the first place. So when he told me the situation, I went back and forth with what to do: should I go to Nicaragua or should I change my flight to Asia? (This would cost me hundreds of dollars to do, and I crossed it off quickly.) Do I go to Ometepe or go straight to Guatemala? After much thought, I decided to return to the island.
C’est la Vie. Such is Life.
Why did I return? I’m not quite sure. There were some logistical things that I was helping the boy with, as a friend coming from the States for another friend starting a business on an island in Nicaragua, but other than that I could have left the day after I arrived.
But I didn’t.
I stayed with the boy, his new, younger, slightly crazy but gorgeous and outgoing girlfriend, and various other people for a week. And yes, it was weird. Not bad, but very, very weird. There was clearly tension between them, that may or may not have been because of my presence, and it was obvious to me that I needed to leave.
But I wasn’t ready to leave.
Not the island at least. I’d made friends, re-established connections with old acquaintances, and loved the feeling of being back. But I couldn’t stay at my current location, and staying at Zopilote again just didn’t feel right. So, I decided that I would leave after the weekend. I’d go to the beach for a few days and start to make my way towards Guatemala.
During my first week back, a friend I’d met on the island right before I left in December, Paul Mai, a founder and creator of InanItah, invited me up to the property to see the place and be a part of the community’s weekly Friday cacao ceremony and weekend celebration. I went up there with the boy and another friend thinking it would be fun and great to see Paul before I left the island.
I left that night with a commitment to Paul to stay at InanItah as a volunteer for 30 days. Yes, they were full at the moment, but he knew my situation, he knew me and offered me a place.
How could I not jump at the opportunity? I moved to InanItah two days later.
So now, I’m sleeping in a tent on a hill overlooking one of the two volcanoes on the island, Concepción, helping to cook meals, keeping order in the garden, teaching some yoga classes, and helping Paul specifically with some writing and photography for the website.
The Island Has Sucked Me in Again
I believe that everything happens for a reason, and I believe there’s a reason this island has me coming back for more. Every time I’m here, I learn something new about myself. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I’m here. I believe I am where I’m supposed to be doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing right now. Maybe that’s wishful thinking on my part, but it gives me hope.
I’m finding my voice and confidence as a yoga teacher.
I’m gaining connections and building knowledge with my writing.
I’m healing my heart from a wound I didn’t realize existed because I chose not to acknowledge it.
I’m learning life skills that I can take with me after I leave, and I’m saving money while I do it.
I couldn’t be happier to be spending this first month of my soul-searching adventure in a place that encourages you to search your soul to find your path.
The cherry on top of this whole story is that the timing works out perfectly for me to reconnect with a dear friend that I traveled with for a month on my very first solo trip two years ago. We haven’t seen each other since hugging goodbye in Calí, Colombia and I’m thrilled to see her again in a city I love.
So, what happens when things don’t go according to your plan, on your travels or in life? You roll with the punches, and the universe hands you a better plan that offers more self-growth, love, and friendship than you could have hoped.