Wednesday, 24 January 2018

TOP TIPS FOR TRAVELLING CENTRAL AMERICA


Most definitely buy a backpack instead of a suitcase.
There are two main reasons for this; the state of the pavements, and the chicken buses. You have to lift your suitcase either onto the back of the buses or hand them to be tied to the roof and trust me, this is much easier with a rucksack! The pavements aren't very consistent in Central America and they will quickly defeat any suitcase wheels you bring to them! My suitcase handle broke on my journey so I had to carry it on it's side, only to be labelled a briefcase wanker by my lovely friends! Ha-ha, there's another incentive right there - get a backpack instead to avoid being labelled one of those!

 ...About the chicken buses...
They are not for the faint hearted, in fact they are absolute madness. I would only recommend them if you are travelling light and in a group. Chicken buses are the public buses there, and they are essentially just American school buses. Local people carry everything on these bad boys. I'm talking rolls on lino, huge bags of corn and yes, you guessed it - chickens! They let people on even when the seats are all taken and there's usually heaps of people standing in the isle of the bus. We saw people fall forward on many occasions due to the driver slamming on the breaks and I'm not entirely sure it's very safe. On one chicken bus, we even witnessed a man climbing out and swinging from the back door of the bus to leave. It was definitely an experience to have travelled this way, but when I was completely solo, I opted for private transfers instead! 

Get there early if you are taking a chicken bus, or any bus.
In this regard, Central America reminds me so much of when I lived in Spain. Nothing, I mean nothing, seems to run on time. It's either too early or late, there seems to be no in-between, however in regards to the chicken buses, you must get there early for a seat! People rush onto the back of the bus and literally rugby tackle one another to get a seat. One bus, that I prepaid fifty dollars for, would have left me if my friend wasn't there twenty minutes early! Save yourself the hassle and chaos, and arrive early! 

Always have the correct currency for each country, with a reserve of dollars.
Sometimes they are funny about taking American dollars and sometimes you will feel (and actually be) cheated on the exchange rate. You can change your cash from each country to the next country's currency at the boarders!

The currencies for each country are as follows:
Mexico: Mexican Peso
Belize:  Belizean Dollars
Guatemala: Quetzals
El Salvador: United States Dollars
Honduras: Honduran Lempira
Nicaragua: Nicaraguan Cordoba
Costa Rica: Costa Rican Colon
Panama: United States Dollar/ Panamanian Balboa 

Carry toilet roll at all times and brace yourself for what you are going to find.
I carried loo roll after being caught without it for a while. I also like to make a seat for myself with loo roll so it works out better if I have it in an abundance. You cannot flush the loo roll down the toilet in Central America, and you must put it in the bin. Please remember this or you'll have to have the awkward blockage conversations that we all did! Also, I have seen some of the worst toilets I have seen in my entire life here. One to completely avoid, is the family-run loo at the Honduras boarder. Seriously, choose a bush instead.

Learn as much Spanish as you can before you go.
Spanish is my second language, so everything ran pretty smoothly for me as I was able to talk to people (even when I got left on a motorway by a bus driver). However, had I not spoken Spanish, I actually do not know what I would have done in certain situations. I think you can definitely get by without it, and most other travellers I met couldn't speak a word of Spanish, but it does make life easier if you're alone. I like to learn a bit of language for everywhere I go anyway as it shows respect and courtesy for a country and it's culture in my opinion. 

Learn the local expressions.
All these countries seemed to have their own expressions, which meant a multitude of things all in one. The general meanings seemed to be 'cool/ good day/ good vibes/ enjoy!' and they said it everywhere, and smiled everywhere when I said them, so here goes:

Mexico: Buena Onda (cool, specifically people)
Belize: Weeh di gaan an? (what's going on?)
Guatemala: Chilero (awesome, good, pretty)
Honduras: Buena Onda (cool)
El Salvador: Chivo
Nicaragua: Diacochimba (cool, awesome)
Costa Rica: Pura Vida
Panama: Chevere (cool)

Don't be scared
People tried to tell me I was crazy for going to Central America alone, yet none of them had even been! It's just silly,, a developing country doesn't mean a bunch of murderous villains are waiting for you outside the airport gates! It means there is lots of crime in the inner cities of course, but it also means that the 'poor' and the land workers and farmers are not interested in you or your stuff. They just care about their crops and when they're going to harvest, because they need to eat and they are focused on their basic needs. Obviously, ensure you know where the dangerous places are and don't go into them, but don't be scared of the people or being there. The tourism industry is thriving and growing there and the good people, like you and I (99% of the population) are very happy to have you there! 

Read hostel reviews (in depth) before you go,
It is not like Europe, the hostels can be awful here! Okay, so specifically in Nicaragua, make sure you see what others have said. I booked a hostel based on the photos I saw once. It had a beautiful pool, hammocks galore, a wonderful terrace and average looking rooms. However, when we arrived, these were glorified, but the bathroom was the second dirtiest bathroom I have ever seen (after the one at the Honduras boarder) and the bed sheets were simply rank. I had to walk out and look at three other hostels close by before I found one that was suitable. That was in Granada, but in Leon it was the same story. Seriously, do your research, thoroughly, and ask around! 

Appreciate good Wi-Fi when you actually get it.
I was pretty lucky on this front the whole way through my trip, however there were one or two places that didn't have it in the rooms, and obviously I didn't have it out and about. I love Wi-Fi to find maps to know exactly where I am going, to let people back home know I was all good and to research things to do. Of course, I needed Wi-Fi to write my blog and catch up with work emails too. So, when I found good Wi-Fi, I tried to do as much as I could then and there. 

Download Shazam
They play music EVERYWHERE in Central America; I'm talking outside petrol stations, in shops, on buses, in restaurants, and outside their houses. Music is everywhere, and good music at that. I am partial to a bit of Reggaeton, Merengue and Bachata, and I heard them all everywhere. I missed out on so many good songs when I didn't have Shazam downloaded and I urge you not to do the same! 

Download Offline Maps
Okay, so this is a lifesaver. Google maps isn't so advanced over there, so you cannot get a public transport route - you have to go by your map and offline maps. They are an absolute lifesaver of an invention!

Only eat it, If you can peel it.
I was absolutely fine with the food, and I occasionally did eat salad and all sorts. However, I do generally go with the rule to only eat things that you can peel, things that are in a sealed pack, or cooked food to be safe. So I bought lots of fruit like bananas, avocados, oranges and papayas. If I was preparing it I didn't mind buying anything else from the supermarket and cooking it at home. Some of the people I was with refused to eat vegetables for weeks on end LOL, like animal carcases and secretions festering with animal bacteria are any better. No wonder I didn't get ill. Ha-Ha-Ha. More for the vegan wins! 

Try the typical dishes for an added side of culture and they're more economical so it'll save money.
Obviously, in all of these countries rice, beans and plantain were the cheap loves, but for a more authentic feel...

Mexico: Tacos & Burritos every day baby!
Belize: Banana bread was everywhere, I did manage to find a vegan one in the end too.
Guatemala: Tamales, they are wrapped in either plantain or banana leaves here, and they sometimes put chocolate in the middle. They can make them with dark chocolate too! 
El Salvador: Pupusa, like a corn tortilla but stuffed with a savoury filling. I chose veggies and beans!
Honduras: This was very much fusion food. A mixture of Caribbean, Spanish and African cuisine. El plato tipico (a typical plate) consists of plantain, rice, tortillas, marinated cabbage and veggies). 
Nicaragua: A taxi driver told me the national dishes were: Nacatamal (like a corn pastry, can have with veggies and ask for it without lard), Vigoron (pronounced biguron, it's a cabbage style salad with boiled yucca wrapped in banana leaves, ask for it with no meat). Another traditional dish is called 'Indio Viejo' which literally means 'old Indian' and it's a stew. It usually has pork rind but you can ask for the veggie version. 
Costa Rica: I was told that 'Gallo Pinto' was the national dish here, which literally means 'spotted rooster obviously I didn't try it, but I would recreate it with soya chunks instead.
Panama: Sanacocho is the national dish here. It's a chicken soup. I didn't eat here, but if you do, you can always ask around to see if there's a veggie option! 

Also, drink as many fresh, cold coconuts as you can in each place! They're cheap, nutritious and super hydrating! 

Wear insect repellent (a natural one - Citronella)
I left my citronella behind and I refuse to wear DEET - it melts plastic for goodness sake! So I was bitten to shreds, but to be honest, I would honestly take the bites that have now healed and gone. This is preferable to spraying myself with repellent that makes it hard to breath and poisons me, just to repel little bugs! Also, most of the people who did wear insect repellent, found themselves bitten to death anyway! 

I hope you have found this post helpful and I hope you enjoy planning and going on any future travels to this part of the world. It's one of my favourite parts of this planet thus far and I am looking forward to going back! I will be writing a separate blog post explaining all of the boarder crossings and shuttles to each country, I will be sure to link it here.

Peace Out Potatoes xo




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Thursday, 18 January 2018

My Central American Adventure: DAY 30 - COSTA RICA


So, today is my last day here and I am feeling rather relective. I feel sad to be leaving because I feel like this place is home and I am feeling something that is deeper than just holiday blues. Before travelling Central America as a solo, female traveller, literally everyone I spoke to said: "I was crazy" and one girl even turned to her boyfriend and said "you wouldn't let me do that would you?" LOL. 

Firstly, none of the people saying these things had even set foot into this part of the world, so they had no idea what it was actually like. Secondly, fuck am I letting anyone else allow or not allow me to do something haha. Thirdly, yeah I was scared at first but then it all turned out fabulous, so there are a few morals here: 

One is to only give advice about places you've actually seen and been to yourself. Two is to not listen to any of that advice if your gut is telling you that you should go anyway. Three is to not hide behind your boyfriend or anyone else saying "no" because, in truth, you're too scared (women need to jam with the fragile, "I'm a lady" - little Britain attitude).. Four is to be scared and do it anyway... Confort zones and complacency are not what makes up an attractive lifestyle for me. I'm so glad I've had this adventure and can not wait for the next!!!

I met a new girl at the hostel who is on the same flight as me and used to live in the same place as I did in the UK. She's a fully qualified Reiki therapist, which is strange as I've been going on about wanting reiki since the beginning of this trip! I'm definitely going to get it when I get home!

Airports always make me a bit sad. Sometimes they excite me, especially when I'm getting out of the UK, but on the way home now, they just make me feel sad. I always see so many things I'd buy my Dad if he were here. Today I saw a cup and a hat he would have loved. I liked buying him little things often, just to show him that I was always thinking of him and how much I loved him... I don't usually buy things to show this, but because he was so ill for so long, it was my little way of bringing some of the world to him when he couldn't get out to see it.

I wish he was alive to have experienced this part of the world with me. He would have adored the sunshine and the nature. He would have loved the people and activities when he was well too. I miss my popsicle and if it's boring to read, then you're in the wrong place my friend. This blog is basically my journey and my journal is going to be full of my intentions. One of those intentions is to keep my dad's spirit alive with thinking, speaking and writing of him often, so that's what I shall do!

I'm currently just sitting in the airport, two hours early. I think I may plan my next move, plan what I shall do when I get back and plan my next adventure! Another twelve hours to myself until I am plopped back into reality, responsibility and residents of my life I need to respond to.

Fast forward a nine hour plane journey and a few hours before and after of waiting and travelling and I am back home. Sidenote: TUI's vegan plane meals are amazing. I had a curry for dinner and a vegan fry up for breakfast! I was very impressed to say the least! 

Anyway, I am actually super happy to be back home. I think I convinced myself it was so much better there then it is here, but I think I also forgot how much I actually love my life back home too. I am currently snuggled with my little Riley-pops. It's been so nice to see him, my uncle and friends too. I have so many people I really love in my life and home comforts have been nice too. I've had the best tea, had a nice hot bath, been able to unpack and feel as cosy as pie. I'm really loving being back home after all!

I've met so many people on my journey, some of which will be friends for life. I have heard so many amazing facts, stories and ideas. I've seen so many beautiful views and witnessed so many new things. I have tried lots of new activities and come back to England with a very 'can-do' attitude. I feel super positive about being back home and I am excited to see what the next adventure entails. I've loved blogging my experiences for both myself and others. It's great for my family and frineds because they can read what I am up to and see the photos if they wish, but I haven't had to force them upon them. It's great for me because I can look back on this for years to come and really appraciate once again, what an amazing time I have had. It's also on the interenet for travel enthusiasts to find some advice and inspiration should they want to do a similar trip! Everyone is a winner! 

Always look forward, Neve Back.... Savour the moments, but Keep moving - onwards & upwards! 

Peace Out Potatoes xo






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Tuesday, 16 January 2018

My Central American Adventure: DAY 29 - COSTA RICA


I'm not going to lie, the thought of going home fills me with absolute dread, in a way I have never experienced before; it feels like this is my home and I am leaving it to go someplace that isn't? I'm so in love with this part of the world, and I feel like I am back in Spain but better so the thought of going back home this soon is making me very sad. 

Anyway, this morning I woke up early and headed to the beach we tried to get to the other day! It was so relaxing walking along the beaches on my own. I love time by myself, not having to think about another person and truly spending some quality time with good old' me, myself and I. The beaches were very pretty. I also have a new found love for the feel of wet sand on my feet. Surely when people say they love the feel of sand between their toes, they are referring to wet sand, right? I find the feel of dry sand in my toes just awful, but the feel of the wet sand is dreamy as anything to me!

I ate some fruit, sat in a cafe and met a bunch of local people along the way. How bizarre is this, I met a guy who has just opened a language school here and needs native English teachers (Hello!), and I met a coast guard who needed private tuition in English too. Right now, I have obligations and priorities at home, but it is excellent to know there is a market here for what I do, just for future reference you know, as I would quite like to focus more on my S&L therapy instead of teaching, but I could do both as I really love variety in my work! I loved learning about the opportunities there are here for my future life! 

I also went to a shop, bought some really ugly water shoes and a top that's too big for me, and managed to get stuck in their toilet. Hahaha, an ex-boyfriend and two separate work teams used to call me 'Bridget Jones' as a nickname, and moments like these that really remind me as to why. I wedged the door outwards instead of inwards and the whole door frame started to crumble and fall apart. I ended up stuck with one leg in and one leg out calling customers over to tell the shopkeeper to come and help me! Looking back now it really makes me chuckle, but at the time I was so scared that they were going to charge me for the damage done to their door! I didn't even feel embarrassed as I think that emotion left my consciousness years ago! Ha! 

So, after going to the beach, I came back to Liberia and just chilled. I got myself into a bit of a frenzy about going home tomorrow and really needed to speak with my bestest girl Alison, but she wasn't available. So, instead, I wrote a list of all the positives of going home after travelling and I thought I would share it here with you!

Positives of going home:
* Seeing my dog and my loved ones. I cannot wait to give my little pooch and squeeze and a million head kisses! I've met so many dogs here in Central America, but none of them could ever compare to the bond my Riles and I have. There's so much history there and I love the little pickle with my whole heart. I'm excited also to see everyone else and have a nice catch-up and cuddle session with them all!
* Having a hot shower and/or bath is going to be epic. Honestly, I am going to dive head first into a hot LUSH bath! I'm going to spend days in the shower and I am going to have a two-day bath after that! Seriously though, I have really missed hot showers!
* I am excited to get back into a routine, routine and discipline can be nice sometimes. I often reject it, for I have a constant urge to be free and do my own thing, but in order to stay free long-term, I need discipline and routine to work on what needs to be in place now!
* I am excited to see how much I have really changed from this trip and learn what I have gained that adds to my own personal life.
* I am excited to have my own room, kitchen, and bathroom again. I'm not as excited about my living room because one thing I love about hostel life is always having someone cool to talk to in the common areas. 
* I am excited to travel a bit closer to home. So, I have a mini Europe trip planned with a close friend a week or so after I am back which is exciting! I have also made plans to visit Bristol, Nottingham and Manchester in the near future, and I haven't been to any of them before, so that is exciting! Going home doesn't mean your travels have completely ended, it means you can plan new ones to begin! 
* I am excited about the food at home. Currently, the supermarkets are launching so many vegan ranges and I am super blessed to be from such an advanced country for Veganism. I'm excited to try the new M&S curry, the new Quorn sandwich fillings, and the new TESCO ready-to-eat range. Someone earlier in the trip tried to say that one vegan doesn't make a difference, but I beg to differ. Due to the autonomy of each individual vegan, collectively, we are making big changes and saving animals. It also puts veganism out there as a norm, which allows people to access the products, even if they don't want to fully give up eating animal products. 
* Now that I really think about it, some of the luxuries from back home would be absolutely lovely. Like my electric toothbrush, dental floss, my duvet, having multiple pillows to choose from and use, candles, having a washing machine of my own, and having multiple towels to choose from too!
* I'm excited to not be endlessly bitten by mosquitos and bugs. That'll be the dream! lol! 
* I have lots of exciting activities coming up, and lots of new work opportunities beginning. Life can be exciting and be fulfiling back home too! 

Righty, I am going to go to sleep on a grateful heart, Tomorrow, I will write a list of why I love Central America so much and why I will be back to live here in a few years! 

I hope you're all well and dandy and feeling bright and alive and happy and swell and spiffing and all of that good stuff!!! =)

Peace Out Potatoes xo




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Monday, 15 January 2018

My Central American Adventure: DAY 28 - COSTA RICA


I had a dream last night that I was travelling around Iceland (I met an Icelandic boy yesterday) and I was staying in this huge mansion there. My twin and I (I don't have a twin in real life) had this weird bunk bed that was literally in the clouds so when you looked down all you saw was clouds but I knew the floor was under it somewhere. I climbed down through the clouds, to of course find my dad. He was ill though, =-( I don't know why he's gone back to being ill in my dreams? I am open to meeting someone who knows a lot about interpreting dreams and the psychology of them! I've dreamt so much since being here in Central America, and I love it. It's like my body is in a better biorhythm to dream! 

I spoke to someone about their dreams the other night and he was saying he only dreamt about work. He did have a high-pressure job so it's probably why but he was saying how boring his dreams are compared to mine. I mean, it could be that my brain is a bit more imaginative than his, or it could also be our routines. I don't ever allow myself to get stuck in a monotonous routine, so maybe that has something to do with it! 

This morning, I woke up at 4:30 and knew that I needed to make the most of my day, so I did. My host (who is the cutest person on Earth) drove me down to the adventure park. His little girl came with us for the journey, and she was the cutest little pickle. She asked her Dad how things were when he was little, and I felt really honoured to be there when she asked that question to be honest. She asked me why I was sad the other day and her Dad explained that we all have our ups and downs, but the important thing is that we always return to happiness. I don't feel jealousy when I am with father's and daughters, I feel warm and happy for them. I had the greatest father for me, and I feel nothing less than happy. I am just happy that others get to experience such a wonderful bond and unique love. 

When I got to the adventure park, which is called 'Canon de la Vieja', in case you're interested. I paid $75 and it meant I could do any of the activities I wanted! There were so many activities to choose from; horse riding, zip lining, kayaking, water rafting, tubing, a spa, swimming, rock climbing and canopying. I chose zip lining, water rafting, a visit to the spa and swimming in the river. My upper body strength isn't strong enough to rock climb the boulders they had there, but I have set it as one of my intentions to get physically strong enough to see such a course as a piece of cake.

Horse riding is definitely something I miss when I saw the horses I instantly missed the bond I used to have with horses growing up. I miss wandering through the fields on a horse and picking up speed with the wind speeding by. However, I am not unrealistic in the realisation that horses hate it. They are nothing less than prisoners and it's just so cruel. They have a mouthpiece attached to the reins so you can control them because it's so sensitive there, they will have to go where you say because they are in pain otherwise. They have a hot and heavy saddle strapped on their backs and a girth wrapped around their belly, and we all hate belts for too long right? Am I right? Then they have big old lumps of humans sitting on their backs and kicking them. Nope, I don't agree. I loved it so much, but I'd much rather walk beside a horse than sit on one. 

Anyway, I digress, ziplining was rather intense. As someone who gained a fear of heights the first and last time they went on a zip line, I was a little nervous, to say the least. I don't ever think you should avoid things because you are scared though, so I did it. I asked the guide to come with me on a few of them, but I did the majority of them on my own. It was so amazing soaring through the sky, it actually does feel like you're flying. The view of the canyon and river was just impeccable! I feel so lucky to be having such wonderful experiences like this you know?!

After zip lining, I went water rafting with a bunch of other people. We all had our own guides at the back who steered for us while we went plummeting downstream. It was so much fun racing over the mini waterfalls and smashing our way through the rocks. I love being by and in water so much that anything that involves these things excites me, but this was extra fun! My guide and I had a nice little chat and then we caught a glimpse of some white-faced monkeys in the trees! The wildlife here would never get boring to me. I love seeing all these animals just moseying around without a care in the world!

After rafting, we had lunch, which was actually amazing. I always get worried about buffet lunches in case they don't have any vegan options or in case they aren't fresh, but I was the first one in and alas, there were so many vegan options. I got some pumpkin soap, yuka chips, salad, grilled vegetables, rice, beans and plantain. I said to myself I wanted to eat traditional food yesterday, and it is exactly what I am doing. 

I was thinking about this earlier, I always fulfil my intentions, but they're usually on a small scale, like getting what I want to eat for example. So, this year I am going to work on making larger intentions and accomplishing those because I'm pretty sure it works the same for both big and small intentions.

After lunch, I went to the hot springs and spa they have at the resort. First I smothered myself in mud, then I showered and then I swam it off. The mud smells like egg, so my guess is that it is a volcanic sulphate mask, which I have tried in Iceland too. I spent hours swimming in the river there, as I had it all to myself. I then laid on the rocks to dry and ended up falling asleep! 

I have always had a theory that rocks mineralise whatever it is they come into contact with. So, I love earthing (walking bare feet on earth). I love cooking on stone cookers and I love laying on rocks when my pores are open. After I had dried myself and had a sleep on the rocks, I can only describe myself as feeling totally revived. I think this must be where the idea of hot stone massages come from. I felt like the rock was one of those wireless chargers that charge your phone with, and I felt like I was the phone. When I got up, I felt so energised and recharged, and I'm still feeling it now!

Swimming cleans up my mind, soul and body. It makes me so happy. My favourite places to swim are freshwater lakes/rivers/streams with calm waters. I always seem to notice in these places how the Earth has a definite cycle to it. The stones grow hair, just like humans do and eventually we will be part of the earth that then forms the rock. 

While sunbathing and relaxing on the rocks, I realised how much I have grown to love and accept myself. I used to hate my pale skin and how the sun reflects from my knees, but now I love it. I love that I am different and a pasty. It's only society that tells us tanned skin is the most beautiful, sure I think it's beautiful, but I think every skin tone and skin colour is beautiful. I also feel so comfortable in a bikini now, whereas when I was younger I did not. It is still my intention to tone up and feel even better in a swimsuit. I want to feel like I am fit and healthy next time I find myself in a bikini, but I do already feel as though I am more than enough, which is definitely progress! 

I love it here in Costa Rica. The people are so nice, friendly and helpful. The climate is just perfect. The food is amazing. The language is obviously one of my faves because it's the only other language I speak. The music they play here is amazing. My favourite thing about here is probably nature. I love being in nature and Costa Rica has shown me some of the best yet!

I am all revived and recovered from my emotional day the other day. The fact I won't ever fully heal doesn't upset me, I use it to remind me that life is temporary and short, and I use that to live life and be happy for the most part while doing so.

I hope you have had the most wonderful day!

Peace Out Potatoes! xo
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My Central American Adventure: DAY 27 - COSTA RICA


So, after almost 24 hours of crying my twinkly little eyes out pretty much consistently. I woke up this morning, brushed myself down and cheered myself up. I planned my special weekend for my best friend's birthday and what we are going to do, I started planning a girlie weekend with some of my friends and I headed to the beach. 

First, I moved back to the hostel that made me feel at home and ended up having a chat with my hostel host about my dad. He's such a good Dad to his kids so his words meant a lot. He reminded me that I could cry but ultimately my Dad would just want me to be happy! It sounds cliché but it's true. My dad wouldn't want to see me cry like this too often, but earthly him would have been insulted if I didn't at all! hahaha! 

We spoke about why I so urgently yearned to be by the sea. The sea revives me, the sand helps cleanse me and the sunshine gives me my shine. My host was saying that he always comes back a new man after being in the sea because it cleanses his soul. I love my host, he radiates love, positivity and wonderful vibes. He told me I am a shining light and it made me a bit fearful that he has seen that in me so soon. I don't know if I should have made more of my time in Costa Rica or not, but I do know I am so glad I stayed in this place. This positive oasis full of my type of people. Like bees to a honeypot, everyone has been a specimen of love and creativity.

I made friends with an old man today. His eyes were so sparkly and brown and he reminded me of my dad drinking his coconut water and looking all cheeky. I can't explain why our interaction helped me so deeply, but it did and I'm so grateful for that. 

I'm going to embrace my next few days. I am going to get in the sun as much as possible, eat as much traditional food as possible (rice, beans, tortilla and plantain chips). I'm going to drink coconut water from the coconut. I am going to listen to as much Latino music as I can and I am going to speak and listen to as much Spanish as I possibly can too. I'll make the most of my next four days for sure. 

I'm going to miss hearing little Spanish kids, why do they sound so much cuter in Spanish? I heard this little girl screaming "Mama Donde estas?" in the supermarket and it made my heart melt instead of freeze over haha! Then on the bus, a little kid was singing and it wasn't irritating at all. It was the cutest! 

When I arrived at the beach, I went for a long stroll along the shore, took a dip and took myself to a nice spot of lunch. The sound of the waves has to be the most relaxing sound given to this life. There was so much wildlife at the beach. I saw a monkey climbing the telephone lines, an iguana taking a stroll and lots of birds running in and out of the waves on the shore. I love hearing them all squawk and sing. The sound of the birds really does remind me that life does go on, and not always in ways that one would imagine. 

After the beach, I got in a 'taxi pirata' (pirate taxi) back to my hostel. A pirate taxi is basically a minibus that comes before the public bus and charges you a little extra for the comfort and speed of the service. I was back home in half an hour instead of an hour and a bit. It was a lot of fun talking to all the locals in there as well.  

It's so strange when I look back on my alone time. I am so happy and secure in my own presence. I love being around people just as much, sometimes maybe more, but I love my little days out to myself too. It always amazes me how I do all these things alone when I look back too. How do I even get myself around half the time? I'm as ditsy as they come! Ha!

I loved getting back to the hostel, I had a cuddle with my French artist friend (she's absolutely amazing). I spoke to some new people and I spent some time pottering around doing things like my washing, I feel so at home here. If Riley was here with me, I'd probably never leave.

Today has taught me the importance of treating yourself and taking yourself on nice days out. It refreshes you emotionally and mentally! 

Peace Out Potatoes xo





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Saturday, 13 January 2018

My Central American Adventure: DAY 26 - PLANET EARTH - A YEAR SINCE MY FATHER'S PASSING.


The reason this blog post is labelled planet earth is that quite frankly I could be anywhere and I'd still be feeling how I am feeling today. Costa Rica, Rome or Timbuktu, I would still be feeling this way. You see I could run away from Christmas and New Years Eve just fine, but the year anniversary of my father's death, I just could not. I can't stop thinking that this time a year ago he was still here and that from this point onwards it will be over a year since I last saw my precious Daddy. 

I miss my Dad's cheeky jokes, his quirky energy and his brutal honesty. There have been so many times on this trip that I wish I could just call him up and update him on what has been happening. Everyone keeps telling me how proud he would be about me being here, but I am pretty sure he would have been a bit worried about his little girl gallivanting around Central America alone! I'm not scared to do it because what's the worst that can happen? Death? He has set the golden pathway for me, so that is not something I fear anymore. I'm actually quite looking forward to it. 

Since being in Central America, I have dreamed about my Dad twice, I wrote about the first one somewhere in my Guatemala posts, but the second one was yesterday. My Dad was on a computer in my house, where his ashes now are. He was freezing cold and irresponsive. I was trying so desperately to hug him and keep him warm, and telling him to go to sleep. Then I was with a boyfriend, or someone who loved me, and with my Pops, and we were standing in the streets, and suddenly, every single light went out. I knew that the government had cut all of the electric and any source of light, and we were standing in complete pitch black. Earlier in this trip, My friends and I sat in a cave in the pitch black for a while, and as peaceful as it is, it's also terrifying. Anyway, I think it is time to spread my Dad's ashes free into the place he has asked us to. He would want to be as free as a bird, as free as the wind and as free as the sea!

I don't like to think of myself as someone who mopes, but I'll be honest, that is exactly what I have done today. I haven't stopped crying. The man who owns the place I am staying in told me that I could stay in my room when I am at home and that I've spent money for nothing if I don't go out. 'Cheeky sod' I thought, but I suppose he is right really, and tomorrow I will wake up and be my strong self again. Things like that don't make me angry because he doesn't know my story. He is just trying to be helpful and just because something in my life has been a bit shit, doesn't mean I have to go with it. 

Anyway, I've been a hermit because I just miss my Dad so much and I can't stop having flashbacks of the end of his life and his funeral. Speaking of his funeral, I chose a song by Celine Dion because every single lyric meant something to me and was true to what my father did for me, so I shall share it on here:  

For all those times you stood by me,
For all the truth that you made me see, 
For all the joy you brought to my life, 
For all the wrong that you made right, 
For every dream, you made come true,
For all the love I found in you, 
I'll be forever thankful, Daddy,

You're the one who held me up, 
Never let me fall,
You're the one who saw me through, through it all,
You were my strength when I was weak,
You were my voice when I couldn't speak,
You were my eyes when I couldn't see,
You saw the best there was in me,
Lifted me up when I couldn't reach,
You gave me faith 'cause you believed.
I'm everything I am, 
Because you loved me.

You gave me wings and made me fly,
You touched my hand I could touch the sky,
I lost my faith, you gave it back to me,
You said no star was out of reach,
You stood by me and I stood tall, 

I had your love, I had it all,
I'm grateful for each day you gave me,
Maybe I don't know that much,
But I know this much is true,
I was blessed because I was loved by you.

You were my strength when I was weak,
You were my voice when I couldn't speak,
You were my eyes when I couldn't see, 
You saw the best there was in me,
Lifted me up when I couldn't reach,
You gave me faith 'cause you believed.
I'm everything I am,
Because you loved me.

You were always there for me,
The tender wind that carried me,
A light in the dark, shining your love into my life, 
You've been my inspiration,
Through the lies, you were the truth,
My world is a better place because of you!

You were my strength when I was weak,
You were my voice when I couldn't speak,
You were my eyes when I couldn't see,
You saw the best there was in me,
Lifted me up when I couldn't reach,
You gave me faith 'cause you believed, 
I'm everything I am,
Because you loved me.
I'm everything I am, 
Because you loved me.

I'm everything I am,
Because you loved me.

Random memories popping into my head right now:
* My Dad's constant need to blast music out constantly, no matter what the time of night or morning! Especially Celine Dion, Phantom of the Opera and Westlife!
* My Dad cracking up when he realised Celine Dion's song says 'hot dogs' instead of 'heart does'.
* Sitting in my mini version of my Dad's big boy's chair next to his big version of it, watching him laugh and copying him because I didn't understand the humour of what he was watching and I idealised his every move.
* Going to Ireland with my Dad and starting my period. I remember him buying me period supplies while I hid behind a pillar because I was too embarrassed as if it wasn't obvious it was for me. 
* Coming home from camping once and running straight into my Dad's arms. He said he'd missed me so much, and I had missed him too. He had decorated the whole house in Christmas decorations and he made us a fake Christmas dinner and we spent the evening so happy to be back in one another's company. That's the thing, this man wasn't just my Dad, he was my best of best friends too and we loved one another's company! 
* Going to school with my Dad in the mornings was the best, what a father for always giving me lifts everywhere!
* He ALWAYS, always fought my corner. I remember him marching into school once because they tried to isolate me for writing a note, that never happened, my Dad would never allow his child to be treated as anything less than free.
* The day before my Dad died we had so many special cuddles and moments. He shouted my name on the way into the ambulance, only to ask for his slippers hahaha.

Yeah, this blog post is a bit random, it's very here, there and everywhere, which makes sense, because so are my emotions. I write these sorts of posts because I trust in the Universe that if you are losing someone or have lost someone and find yourself reading this, then you are meant to be reading this, and I hope it helps you to see somewhat that we all have our bad days and grief isn't something you can skip. You can be staying in paradise and you're going to have to feel it. It is perfectly normal and okay to feel whatever you are feeling! 

The cure for grief is motion, but we can remain motionless for just a moment to honour, pay homage and respect those who have impacted and enhanced our lives.

I love you Dad, wherever you are, I loved you then, I love you still, I always have and I always will.

Peace Out Potatoes xo



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