30 Days of Indie Travel: Best Day

“We’re inviting bloggers from around the world (that means you, too!) to join us in a daily blogging effort designed to reflect on how our travel experiences over the last year – or whenever – have shaped us and our view of the world. Bloggers can follow the prompts as strictly or loosely as they like, interpreting them in various ways and responding via text, photos or video posted on their own blogs.” ~Bootsnall Travel

Prompt #9: One Day: Travel helps us better appreciate the present moment instead of always looking to the next thing. Describe one perfect day you had while traveling this year. Where were you? What were you doing? And what made it perfect?

A ridiculously delicious breakfast burrito, with fresh papaya juice

This one is easy–Nicaragua, April 2011. The day perfectly combined good food & good company, care-free fun, a little adventure and rewarding physical activity.

This day began with a spectacular breakfast at a little place in Leon, Nicaragua; with my travel companion Anna, and a couple guys from New Jersey, whom had become our fast friends 2 days earlier. We were all overly tired, so our conversations were laced with that goofy, “easy”  laughter that comes with lack of quality sleep.

After eating, we hired a taxi to take us to the nearby Ruins of Old Leon. The tour of Old Leon– though only mildly interesting, somewhat uneventful (other than getting stung by a sweat bee on my left boob) and super-duper, boiling hot–was strangely enjoyable.

With thoughts of relieving our over-heated bodies in the cooling waters of a crater lake, we had our taxi drop us off at what we thought was the base of a path/trail/road that would lead us to said lake. Thus began a 2-hour + somewhat aimless “hike”, in flip-flops. Clearly, we hadn’t known what we were getting ourselves into. This fact never frustrated us though, as we were in good company. We spent the entire walk talking, laughing and sharing stories.

Cattle blocking our path

Another case where the journey is as exciting, if not more than, the destination. Since it was nearly the end of the long dry season, the volcanic soil took on a moon-dust consistency; floating as if suspended in low gravity after every step. This attributed even more to the dream-like feeling of walking along an unknown path. This, along with that lack of sleep, made time feel almost malleable. After nearly 2 hours of walking, we reached the rocky hillside descent to the crater lake. We dodged herds of cattle as we descended, letting the turquoise water now in our sight, act as our guide. Finally we were able to launch our impossibly dirty bodies into the cleansing waters. We stayed long enough to enjoy that feeling of cleaning oneself after getting particularly dirty and hot, before embarking on the long, equally enjoyable, walk back to our taxi driver.

After our driver dropped us at our hostel, Anna and I got our bags and checked into a new hostel on the other side of town. I still clearly remember the strangle, euphoric feeling I had during that walk. My over-worked muscles felt a sort of deep relaxation that enabled me to really feel every step I took, and notice every breath; though not at all in an unpleasant way. A sensation best described as a life-induced high. I remember feeling a deeply intense sense of contentment; a feeling that at that moment in time, everything was right in the world… A smile that would not go away.

The perfect day ended with a perfect evening; a large dinner at a Chinese restaurant, lots of “Tona’s” and Flor de Cana and Coke’s, more stories and laughing, dancing to 90s hip hop, and listening to salsa at an after-hours club.  A day to file away for cubicle day dreaming. A day to remind me of the spectacular possibilities of life.

The reward of the long hike

Our dirty feet

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