I’ve decided heading out of the country at the end of December is the best way to avoid any kind of holiday malaise, loneliness or angst about New Years Eve plans.
Five of us rented a house on a bluff overlooking the Pacific ocean just north of San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua.
We also rented a 4×4 white Toyota truck to navigate the bumpy dirt roads and steep hills (those of us who sat in the back seat had to hold on tight so we didn’t bounce and hit our heads on the roof). As we drove past cows ambling along the roadsides, we blasted the MIA song from Slumdog Millionaire over and over.
We spent most of our days at the beach — Playa Madera — soaking in the sun, taking refreshing swims in the warm salty water, going for a long walks. C., K., and S. surfed — I didn’t. The best time to surf was around 4 p.m. or 5 p.m., when the sun set, a glowing orange ball slowly descending below the horizon.
And that was when there were dozens of surfers competing for the waves — I was more content to watch their heads bobbing and teach myself my Nikon D40.
For some reason, I was often the first one up in the mornings. The sun shone brightly in and if I listened, I could hear the low roar of the howler monkeys staking their territories. At 7 a.m., the house was blissfully quiet, and I made myself coffee and sat outside on the balcony in shorts and a tank top, looking at the water and reading my book, Tales of a Female Nomad by Rita Golden Gelman.
In the evenings, worn out from the heat, we often drove down to Mango Rosa, an American-owned restaurant/bar in a hut with a thatched roof and ate ceviche, Mahi-mahi, mashed potatoes and vegetables and and drank coke and Flor de Cana rum (I’ve never liked rum before).
On New Years Eve, we danced on the beach at San Juan del Sur and fireworks exploded above our heads.
But mostly, I relaxed. And laughed. And let go. No watch, no phone, no e-mail, no sense of time, no worries. I played with my camera. I talked with other travelers. And I got re-inspired to learn, to save my money for travel and to challenge myself.