Alright, I’ll wrap it up! Maybe I just want so badly to still be in Nicaragua that I really don’t want this little saga to end. Can you blame me?
In Popoyo I started to truly do nothing. I stopped searching for the next place, planning or feeling any obligations. I was here. I was finally in the present.
My days started with a delicious cooked to order breakfast by my hosts at La Vaca Loca, and hours of conversation...literally hours. The café kitchen is also their home kitchen, so it’s small to say the very least. If a table of 5 walks in they are slammed because the kitchen only has a tiny 4 burner stove, with no dishwasher, and coffee made the old fashion way to order. So there can be a wait, a very long one. No one cares though. Everyone just enjoys one another’s company.
At first I had this sensation of ‘I’m hungry. What’s taking so long. Jeez, this is ridiculous,’ then suddenly I realized I have nowhere to be. I can just sit here and enjoy, it’s fine. Karin is making preparing my meal meticulously while busting her butt to get other people’s breakfast as well, and you know my order was not very straight forward. No gluten, no dairy. I was not in a rush and it was glorious. The people and environment were nothing like restaurants back home where people bitch and moan if things take longer than expected. People sat back, enjoyed, and understood.
Other than breakfast Popoyo is definitely a food desert though. Next time I go I will be bringing in food from the next town. Eating was not the highlight of this part of my trip.
I spent my few days here reading, laying in hammocks, walking the beach, enjoying the waves, reading, writing and connecting with other travelers and expats.
One thing I didn’t do, that I want to go back for is surf. Popoyo is one of the top surf spots in the world. It’s known for its year round off shore wind. Although it has gotten more popular these past few years it’s still relatively low-key because it’s such a pain in the ass to get to (you may remember that journey from my last post, and that was only a few kilometers away). As you read this a road is being built though, much to the current residence dismay. Once the road is complete Popoyo will change. Perhaps to become another overly touristic surf beach. I plan to go back before then.
Earlier in my trip I had emailed a spa and gym in Grenada that offered work for trade with traveling yoga instructors. They got back to me and said I could teach a few classes during my stay! This meant though leaving Popoyo sooner than I wanted, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. So after 3 nights it was time to head to Grenada.
I arrived at Pure, the spa and gym, on Sunday evening a few hours before dark. Because I was teaching I was also allowed to stay in a room on the premise, which made things very convenient. After dropping off my bag I heard someone ask for a kombucha….let me say that again, a kombucha! Music to my ears. It had been nearly 2 weeks since my last one and I had missed it. The owner is from the U.S. and was actually in Seattle at the same time I was in Nica. He had the staff brew kombucha to sell in the facility, probably the only kombucha you will find in the country. Let me tell you I drank my fair share, and maybe a little more.
Having not eaten since breakfast I was starving and so I asked the manager where I should go. He graciously offered to take me to his favorite spot. It was like a scene out of an Anthony Bourdain show. Friendly local taking me to the best spot in town to enjoy some amazing food and talk about the country, politics, culture and life.
The food didn’t disappoint either. Another heaping plate of tajadas and slaw, but this time I decided to go with the strip steak instead of chicken. It was one of the best meals I had on the trip.
Conversation was easy and meaningful. By the end of my meal not only was I full from the delicious food, but I was full of gratitude and happiness.
Grenada as a city in itself was okay. It's fairly small, which I liked, and I think is usually more of a jumping off point for various day trips. I got to roam a market, which is one of my favorite things to do, and try chicharron (fried pork with mashed yucca and slaw). The highlight though was just getting to teach.
It was scary. Outside my comfort zone. New place, new people, new sequence, unknown expectations. Once I got going though it felt natural and the feedback afterward was uplifting. It reminded me why I teach, how it can truly affect people.
This marked the end of my 2 weeks though. After 2 days in Grenada it was time for my early flight home. Time to head back to the realities of Seattle. I walked through the airports with new vision, seeing the beauty and connection in the faces I saw.
I started this new practice where if I was starting to feel down I would allow the corners of my mouth turn up, not into a joker smile but just not into a frown. Honestly it really helped, my mood and mind would slowly take a shift to the better. Plus you just look better that way.
I had a new outlook on bravery, vulnerability, perfectionism and failure (thanks to Brene Brown).
What I wanted and the things that were important to me in life had become much more clear, but how I was going to make them a priority and make the life I want had at the same time become even more confusing.
The challenge now is how to keep these insights and outlook fresh in the midst of the chaos at home. Which I'm still working on.
Now enjoy some photos! I finally got to uploading them all for you to enjoy! Some are repeats, but many are new.
Have a wonderful day!