Before my photography workshop ended, I started to get a little worried about traveling on my own in Nicaragua for two and a half weeks before starting Spanish school. I knew there were many places in Nicaragua I wanted too see but wasn’t sure about how to get to them. Though I am very independent, the thought of being totally on my own started to make me panic a bit.
I decided to look if G Adventures, the tour company I went to Costa Rica with, had any tours in Nicaragua. Not only did they have a tour, but they had one that started in Granada the day the photography workshop ended. It was perfect. I emailed and was able to get myself a spot on the tour. This 12 day tour would start in Granada and from there head to Leon, Ometepe Island, San Juan del Sur, and finally end back in Granada. They were all places I wanted to go.
This group had 9 people, a father and his 16 year old son from Austin, two women traveling separately from Canada, a woman from Seattle, one from Australia, a man from England, another woman from Chicago, and me. Plus we had our hardworking leader, Esteban from Costa Rica.
To tell the truth, I wasn’t so sure about this group at first. One of the girls rubbed me the wrong way from the beginning, and I just wasn’t sure about the rest of them. My instincts about the one girl were correct and I had a very hard time dealing with her the whole trip. The rest of the group felt the same. (She won’t show up in any pictures because she refused to be in any; she will remain anonymous). The rest of them, however, I ended up absolutely adoring. We had such a blast together and I left the trip feeling as I have gained even more good friends.
Our first two days were spent in Granada. Even though I had already been in the city for a week, I still enjoyed my time. Together we went on a tour of many of the surrounding areas including Masaya volcano and market, Catarina, and San Juan del Oriente. I had been to all these places already, however at the end of the day we got taken to swim in Laguna de Apoyo, which up until this point I had only seen from above. It was so nice and refreshing to finally dive in! I was also excited to finally try some of the restaurants I had walked by many times since all of our food on the photography workshop was homemade.
I will be honest, when the tour first started I felt a little defeated. I had this big plan to come to Nicaragua and roam around totally on my own terms without a schedule or a plan. I had so much planned out in Peru and wanted more flexibility this time. I felt like joining a tour was a total copout and I wasn’t as brave as I thought. But then I started thinking about how many people I know who would pick up and go to Latin America for six weeks without knowing a soul (also for the forth time). Not many. Just the fact I am out here doing it, whether with a tour or not, is pushing me out of my comfort zone and allowing me to explore the world. If being in a group puts me at ease a bit, so what? I didn’t let my defeated feeling keep me down and ended up having an amazing time on this leg of my adventure.
As I go I am realizing what kind of traveler I am, and while I don’t think I would enjoy a big bus tour with forty people, traveling with a group smaller than 15, even if they are complete strangers, works well for me. G adventures is perfect for this. I don’t think I will ever travel the way bloggers I read and admire like Adventurous Kate or Nomadic Matt do; not knowing where they will stay the next night or what country they will be in next week. They have that total spontaneity in them. I do not, but again, that’s ok.
In the past, Spanish School has also worked well for me, giving me a routine and several opportunities to meet others. We’ll see if that is the case as well when I head to Matagalpa.
Part of traveling is learning, not just about the world, but about yourself, and I think I am doing just that.
“Pendulum Swinger” -Indigo Girls