Don’t Go There. It’s Not Safe. You’ll Die.

March 31, 2019

The last time we were in Nicaragua we flew in just as Tropical Storm Nate was preparing to make its surprise visit.  We arranged to have an adventure-themed wedding at the Mango Rosa Adventure Travel and Surf Resort, where we had our first adventure together.  We wanted our guests to experience Nica as we first remembered.  We planned a great 4-day lineup of surf and adventure activities for our guests.  None of those activities were to be had during the rest of our and our guests time here (and luckily no one died).  But what was had was a magical bonding experience with our newly combined family of friends and relatives, despite the power outage throughout the entire country and not a single moment of sun or dry time until our wedding day.  What one might think would have ruined a wedding (a hurricane), actually made it so much more special than we could have ever tried to replicate, recreate or imagine.

This is now our third visit to Nicaragua.  Except this time we drove.  The first two times were before the political unrest, and the second time we did not get to experience Nica as we had before: beautiful beaches and sunsets and a place we could freely explore.  Leading up to our visit, I marveled at the prospect of finally seeing and experiencing Nicaragua as we had during our first magical visit almost 5 years ago.  When we arrived to Mango Rosa Resort, we were both surprised to experience some differences.  The drive into the jungle on the 4×4 road was not nearly as long, or treacherous as we had remembered it.  Although the wind was a goddess-send, it was extremely windy.  And, because it was dry season, the lush green jungle wasn’t so lush.  But the beaches… they were exactly as we had remembered.  Beautiful sunsets and crazy beach-break surf.  Mango Rosa Resort hadn’t changed much either, except a few less tourists, more local events and the addition of a new ping pong and pool table.

It’s funny how people can and often do try to replicate experiences of the past.  So much so, the new ones happening right now are missed.  I am as prone to this, as I am as confident that almost everyone else is too.  I am reading a book called, “The Untethered Soul.”  The author (as well as Buddhist philosophy), labels this phenomenon as clinging.  We cling to positive experiences, and we cling to negative experiences.  This phenomenon is so habitual that we consider it normal and we live our lives in reaction to these.  Clinging to the past… clinging to the future.  Where is that moment Now?  “Now?  Where are you?  I miss you!” 🙂

Before the political unrest, Nica was one of the fastest growing economies in Central America.  Many projected that it would be the new Costa Rica – the way Costa Rica was before it was discovered.  Plots of land were being snatched up by all kinds of foreigners afforded the privilege to cash in on their liquid assets and retire early on a smaller budget.   Leading up to our trip it had been hard to imagine Nicaragua unsafe and severely compromised by corruption, and so quickly.  It’s been hard to think about how vulnerable many other country’s people are too.  And it’s been scary to wonder about the growing vulnerability of our own country.

The locals say that things in Nica are changing.  The Sandinistas are in ongoing talks with the student protesters, and they feel both confident and optimistic they will be getting there needs met.  One local said that he finally feels safe again to say that he is not a Sandinista.  This would be one victory for a revolution.  In truth, aside from Belize, Nicaragua has felt like the safest place we’ve been so far.   We had gotten so used to the grit of other countries, it was strange to be somewhere that was quite easy.  In fact, I began to miss the grit, because it felt more alive and real.  Suddenly, I wanted that back too.

I’m turning 45 on this journey, and my husband will be turning 50.  Dare we go there?  Is it safe?  Will we die?  Well, one thing is certain.  We are getting closer to death.  And so is everyone else.  With every breath we take.  The truth is, we never know when that day will come.  Just like people who move to underdeveloped and under privileged countries to live a better quality of life, so too do they have to expect the reality of sudden and unexpected change.  It’s a chance they take at a better life next to a majority that continue to struggle to put food on the table.  I think the reason we spend so much time clinging, is because for some reason that’s what feels safe.  Everything else is unknown.  And the known is all we really know – no matter how miserable or amazing it might be.  So we try to make everything the same.  Predictable.  This way, it’s safer.

Clinging is just another part of human nature.  Just as change is to life.  Heave!  Ho!  The constant swing of the pendulum…  Duality is in every place we look.  Resistance is futile.  But sometimes… just sometimes… there is a Calling strong enough to break the mold.  We.  Just.  Must.  Break the Mold.  We are even willing to die for it.  Because to live the same is no longer an option for us.  We cause a cataclysmic revolution in ourselves, our jobs, our relationships, our thoughts, our perceptions… that ripples out to the people… a country… the world… humanity.  There is a passion that burns like fire in the core of one’s being, where every action is fueled by the moment of Now.  Viva la Raza!  That is new.  That is Now.  That is We.  That is Us.  And inside all of this is the breaking away of the mold that reveals a Diamond.

“Don’t you know?  They’re talking about a revolution.  It sounds like a whisper.”  ~ Tracy Chapman


I am a non-practicing psychotherapist with a graduate degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. I will be working towards licensure after our travels. During our journey through Mexico and Central and South America I’m exploring other cultural and community value systems and environmental and relational dynamics that influence mental health and happiness. I am also writing a book about anger. The book includes research collected throughout my clinical and academic studies in psychology, as well as personal thoughts and life experiences as a heavy metal musician, and other’s thoughts on and/or experiences with anger.

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