Travel Well, Travel Often
When in doubt take the vacation. I get it. It’s a cost. It may be a little inconvenient. It may take time and treasure away from other things. But there’s no better investment in your self and your surroundings than traveling. Im sure at the heart of most travelers there is excitement and adrenaline when it comes to travel. But I think with every one of us there also comes some uncertainty, some unknowns.
When my husband and I built our property in Nicaragua we were actually working in Corporate America. And we would use the weekends to fly in and meet with the builders contractors and fly back on the red eye in time for the dreaded Tuesday morning 9:15AM meetings lol
I’ll start the story at the beginning. My husband and I were just dating. And if y’all know anything about my husband it’s that he is a traveler. He is originally from Venezuela and I think he’s been to like 32 countries.
Prior to meeting my husband I had done some traveling, mainly with mission trips to Latin America, Africa, and Asia and some vacation traveling with my mom.
So when my world joined my husbands we just wanted to wander! No agenda, no to do lists. And that’s what we did. On this one particular trip is when we met and fell in love with San Juan Del Sur (SJDS) where our second home is now.
We started this particular journey through Costa Rica, we went to several gorgeous beaches, some churches, just exploring hotels and places. It was incredibly beautiful and a great place to visit and vacation but not necessarily plant roots. During this same trip we crossed the border in to Nicaragua. And THAT was such an experience.
See what I’ve learned about traveling is it makes you get out of your comfort zone. It makes you get inconvenienced and have to practice responding well, or not responding well and learning from that. It makes you stretch and grow and it changes your perspective to life.
Because while crossing the border was scary, hot and some what uncertain, it brought new cultures, new experiences, new people.
So during this Nica trip we went to two places in Nicaragua, Tola and San Juan Del Sur. Tola was beautiful and it such a beautiful calm place. There’s golfing, gorgeous beaches and resorts, and truly it’s amazing.
San Juan Del Sur stole our heart. It’s a little surf town with beautiful life to it. Lots of people from all over the world and really just a happening fun place. Beautiful places all around, so much to do, the coast and what stole our hearts the Jesus statue.
It’s super sweet! And he even recorded it to later accidentally delete it – but that’s another story!
So we grabbed a four wheeler and started exploring SJDS. Up and down through the mountains on the hunt for some property.
We found this property below which was AMAZINGLY gorgeous!!! But it was too far off the path at that time to really make it a reality. Electricity, water, roads, all that has to be taken in to account when looking to plant down and live… and host!
I had a dream months before with a tree hanging over me, bright sunshine and little yellow flowers hanging off the tree over my head. I told my husband about it and couldn’t believe the beauty that existed at this time and place. I had such a peaceful easy feeling.
When we got to SJDS, at the church, I spotted the same little yellow flowers on the tree! They’re still there to this day and only bloom in certain seasons.
We had such a fun experience meeting locals, volunteering at the orphanage, drinking juices and playing on the beach, we just connected. We were open to it and knew this was a place we wanted to plant roots for a second home.
We ventured back several times before making the decision. Looked around at lots and properties. Luckily my husband speaks the language which is super helpful and he can communicate clearly with locals.
After looking at several properties I found one I fell in love with. Of course it was the highest on the mountain but also the most beautiful. The views were just something from a dream 🙂
So we bought the lot, met with the contractor, searched for employees, and started building.
(SJDS has the MOST GORGEOUS RED FIREY SUNSETS!!!)
What was supposed to take 6 mo turned into a year but we got it done and started receiving guests.
A couple of our first guests were on their honeymoon and we didn’t even have blinds yet. But we literally connected with them for so long they were like I don’t care! We want to come stay with you!! Pria and Jake. Beautiful people with lots of grace and flexibility who became lifetime friends.
From there were continued to travel back and forth, bringing sheets, decorations, equipment, literally everything you can imagine for a home! Well, six of them. That’s our property six bedrooms six bathrooms infinity pool, full kitchen and an office space.
SJDS must be one of our favorite places to travel, disconnect and slow down.
Visiting for play and vacation is totally different from living there and having property there. SO some of the challenges we share come from owning, building and running a business there. When visiting it’s a different experience and totally wonderful!
Because it’s obviously a third world country which brings its own challenges when looking at living there and hosting people. Challenges where you are hit head on with adversity and you just have to figure it out. Frustrated, disappointed, but determined.
See the third world mentality is beautiful. It’s calm, laid back almost some what lackadaisical. Different priorities. This mentality and the standards of the first world do not always a line.
When you’re hosting and serving those from first worlds they are used to a certain “way” and I understand it.
This was one challenge we continued to face while training employees and building construction. Our heart and intention behind building and investing here was to give back to the community. So we hired and employ only locals from Nica. Which has its own set of challenges. They are conditioned to the conditions of their world. So a lot of what Luis does is encourage and provide new ways of thinking to push past adversity. To keep going through the challenges. That is not to undermine their great qualities. Honesty. Sweeter than pie. Hard working. BUT. Don’t give up and throw the towel because difficulties come up. Push. Fight. Figure out a way. Keep going. I think even people from the first world can learn some of the perseverant attitude.
I’ll tell you these people do not have it easy. There’s not amazon prime or Lowes or Uber eats or really anything delivery, except a few pizza restaurants. There’s not a ton of opportunity and ways of advancement. But that doesn’t mean we cannot create those ways for them.
Luis calls it his ministry. And he does such a great job. Literally the most loyal man with the patience of a saint.
Our project is a sustainable design using established containers with all glass windows and a unique inside concept.
We have received guests from all over the world and have had the opportunity to meet the most amazing people.
We even had our wedding reception here with several family members.
It is beautiful here and such a gorgeous place on the planet we feel so fortunate to call home.
If you’re looking for a unique fun beautiful place to come visit and definitely surf, zip line, ride horses, see turtles, hike, kayak, boat, fish, yoga, relax this little spot is a must.
You can also check out our hotel here
If you’re looking to plant and build a business it is great for that as well! We’ve met so many amazing people who left their comfort zones and ventured off to this cute little place to chase their dreams.
If you’re looking to honeymoon it is a great spot. Overall the country is just phenomenal. You get so much with Nicaragua. Leon and Granada are fulled with history and beautiful architecture. Tola is a gorgeous very chill and relaxed place. San Juan Del Sur is very centralized and has an adventure spot where you can zip line and do all kind of fun things in the jungle. It is a boat tour with Nica Sail & Surf where you venture off to a gorgeous private island for the day on a yacht. Surfing lessons, Beach horseback riding, THE MOST PHENOMENAL massages in the world, exceptional yoga, beautiful local private beaches, mountains, the jungle. Ometepe is one of the volcanos near by and it is definitely an experience to do. You ferry over and then explore the island.
But I always tell people it is a third world country. What exactly does that mean?
So even though its as gorgeous as Hawaii, it will not operate like Hawaii. And its just good to know that going in to it to avoid frustration and disappointment.
First off it is gorgeous. There isn’t a ton of infrastructure, so it is completely innocent in its nature and ways. Stunning beaches with mountain backdrops, rocky roads from the weather conditions (heat, rain, etc). But that means a slow down in pace, oh, and no amazon Prime delivery. A lot of people love and appreciate the break and the disconnection from life as we know it. That’s why so many foreigners move here and plant. It just feels good. Break away from the rat race and come be a human being. And I can tell you right when you land in the airport, you feel it!
See I have learned that our experiences and challenges in life will make us or break us. Adversity will never be absent from this life here as we know it. And it has a cycle. We can continue to grow through the cycles life presents or we will choose to stop and get stuck. Traveling definitely brings some of that. Well, I guess life in general brings some of that.
We have to be strong. We have to be brave. We have to progress past loss, pain, disappoint OF ALL SORTS, no matter what world we are coming from.
If you’ve been feeling down, like people owe you something, like the world is against you, like your life has no meaning, like you’re just existing. If you’ve been finding yourself complaining too much, comparing yourself, like your mindset has become negative, like grieving a loss has become a lifestyle, you might be stuck.
So, wherever it is you find yourself today, may this be a message of encouragement to not get stuck!
And most importantly to keep dreaming my beautiful friends.