Our life in Nica so far!

Our life in Nica so far!

Here we are, a month into our ‘Nica life’.

To be honest, I’m actually kind of shocked that it’s been a month already. It truly feels like just yesterday that we were packing our belongings up and stepping out of our home for the last time.

Things have been busy here, and yet, so slow.

They’ve been hard and challenging, and yet, so easy and blissful.

It’s been hard to summarize my experience into words over the last few weeks- but today I am going to do my best to deliver exactly that to you.

The purpose of today’s post is to answer all the questions I have been getting asked about our adventurous life change- and share with you the good, the bad, and even some of the ugly.

Truthfully speaking, making this decision and changing our entire lives wasn’t easy. It was probably the hardest thing we’ve ever done. But within that, it’s also been the most amazing thing that we’ve done too.

Hopefully what I share gives you a deeper look at our adventure.

Let’s dive in, shall we?

Where we are…

To give you an idea of our journey, I’ll share our travel routes, what traveling in Nica by car looks like, and accommodations to date.

FLIGHTS

Our departing city was YEG (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada) and because we had a gift card to Westjet to use up, we chose to ‘puddle jump’ with our flights and find a route that we could utilize it for.

I’ll be honest, we spent weeks searching flights on multiple platforms to find the shortest/most direct route with the best bang for our money.

Of course you can save a bundle if you choose flights with longer layovers- but one thing to keep in mind with traveling during covid is the PCR tests that are required.

Most places require you to have your test results no more than 72 hours prior to you landing in their country. And some places (like Nicaragua) require your negative test results to be submitted 24-48 hours in advance of your flightsleaving you very little time to complete your tests, get the results back, and then make it all the way to your final destination country.

There was some confusion with the Spanish airline (Avainca) who was our final airline into Nicaragua, and they were informing people that you require the Nasopharyngeal test.

This isn’t true. The regular nose or throat swab is all that is required- and that is what we had for our flights.

We completed our testing on the morning of Friday, October 22nd with DynaLife, and had our results by that evening (all negative, phew!). We submitted them to the airline and left very early morning on Sunday, October 24th.

Our first two flights were with Westjet. We flew from Edmonton to Calgary, and then Calgary to Los Angeles. Without our gift card, these flights would have totaled $2000 for the three of us (all adults).

Our final two flights were with Avainca. We flew from Los Angeles to San Salvador, and then San Salvador to Managua (in Nicaragua). All would have went well, but we had some delays that left us running between flights to catch our last two ones- leaving us sweaty and tired.

My recommendation would be to ensure you have enough time between flights, so that if delays like ours occur, you have enough time to make it to your next flight like we did. And then maybe you won’t have to run over 1.5 km outside in LA’s heat, going from one terminal to the next!

We left the Edmonton airport at 7 am (although we arrived at 5 am), and we didn’t land in Managua until 11 pm. A total of 18 hours of airport time and actual airplane time.

Being as it was so late when we got it, we had pre-booked our first nights accommodations in Managua, with plans to pick up our rental car the next day.

DRIVING IN NICA

Just like when we were in Costa Rica, driving in Nicaragua is easy.

The cars are exactly the same, and they drive on the exact same side of the road as Canada. For the most part, the street signs are easy to identify- and a fair number are in English.

For GPS we use Waze down here, which seems to be the most reliable.

The drive from Managua to San Juan Del Sur (the town we are in), took about 2.5 hours. In all honestly though, had the road been straight instead of the scenic tour, it’d likely be an hour or less.

Renting a car was pretty affordable- for two days with insurance and different town drop off, it was about $150. If you were to do a lower rate insurance, it’d likely be a lot less.

ACCOMMODATIONS

As I mentioned above, we spent our first night in Managua at this cute boutique hotel. It was extremely affordable and we had a perfectly fine first nights sleep, with a decent late night dinner and complimentary breakfast.

On our way to San Juan Del Sur however, the original rental we were supposed to have ended up having some water issues, and we had to cancel our time there. Which meant, arriving we had no place to stay!

As soon as we got into town, we hit the ground running, looking at place after place. We spent hours looking at different rentalswith nothing being a ‘great fit’. We needed two bedrooms and WIFI in order for us to be comfortable and for me to work- and we also wanted to have a bit nicer of a place for our first month as a ‘vacation’ before reality hit.

We ended up finding dream accommodations (or so we thought) that was literally a place my husband picked out online that disappeared before we could book it. The owners openly stated that they usually didn’t like to rent for full months as they make more renting for weekends- but they didn’t have anyone lined up and would accept the booking.

What we thought was originally an amazing deal, ended up being an incredibly awful month.

The owners were continuously lying to us, the caretaker ended up being a very unkind human, and there was issue after issue with the place (including a month of construction on the driveway, which was not disclosed before the agreement). 

The result? We felt extremely uncomfortable in the space that was supposed to be our ‘reprieve’ and felt as if we were walking on eggshells and always being watched. Our mental health and mindsets suffered immensely, and we were all on edge.

Needless to say, getting out of that space this past weekend was a HUGE relief.

The other issue we faced was that with so many amazing people across the world also traveling and/or moving here- there are very limited spots available for rent. As we started nearing the end of the first rental, we began to look at places once again.

Again we beat the pavement looking at properties and it took us a while to sort through the ‘swindlers’ of real estate, before we found some locals who are honest that we trust.

The thing about Nica is, you don’t need a real estate license of any kind. ANYONE can sell property, which makes it a challenge to find someone who is reputable.

Anyways, as luck would have it, we ended up meeting an amazing guy down here who owns a condo building- and just at the last second as we were running out of options, he ended up having a cancellation on one of his condos, and was able to sneak us in for three weeks at an incredible price!

The difference in our energy is measurable. The moment we walked in an unpacked our bags, we felt at home and so at ease. Truthfully, we didn’t consider buying property any time soon until we got here… and we are definitely considering it now.

In the meantime, we are definitely manifesting a longer stay in this place… haha!

Our current view from the condo.

Our current view and/or life at the condo.

What life looks like…

Things are definitely different here than back home, in so many ways.

I get asked all the time why we chose Nicaragua- and to be honest, there are lots of reasons. The safety, cost of living, quality of life, huge expat community, tropical weather- I could go on and on.

However, the main reason why we ended up here and no where else? No restrictions.

Being a holistic RN, I believe wholeheartedly in natural immunity. But above all else, I believe in personal autonomy and choice. What is going on in our world right now, I do not believe in. And the division of friends, family and loved ones is heartbreaking.

We chose San Juan Del Sur, because for the most part, it is relatively ‘untouched’ by covid and since day one, there has been no government mandates. It is up to each person to choose what makes them feel safe and healthy.

Few people wear masks, and very few places require them.

People gather, children play sports and go to school, events happen every week.

San Juan Del Sur is buzzing- and the community aspect here is something we’ve longed and missed over the past two years. This feels comforting- like home.

Outside of that- life is also different in many other aspects.

The typical 9-5 grind that happens back home, with that go-go-go lifestyle? That doesn’t happen here. Instead, things are much slower, calmer, and easier.

What doesn’t get done today, can be done manana (tomorrow).

People don’t stress, don’t worry, don’t rush.

It is totally different, and something we are still getting used too.

Now that we are settled in our new place, we are now focused on getting settled into our new routines. Before we were all over the place still detoxing from the ‘western world’ hustle and bustle… and now, we’re ready to create something new.

Most days we are up with the sunrise between 530 am – 630 am, soaking in the early morning silence listening to nature. Typically I do some yoga, meditate and journal or read.

We also just signed up for a gym membership, which we are now also incorporating into our morning. Afterwards, we walk home, grab a coconut (my favourite) and then cook breakfast while practicing our Spanish (on Duolingo… though we hope to start lessons here soon!). 

Sometime after that, I usually get started with my work day- usually finishing around 2 or 3 pm (unless I have client sessions). The boys usually relax, do some research, or nap- and then we typically hang out until we make supper. Tyler (my stepson) has been learning to surf and I’ve even found a library with English books!

My work days have been reduced from 10-14 hours a day, to 4-6 hours. Yet, somehow I am more focused and productive, getting way more done than I ever did before.

This life? It’s one we can get used too.

Weird or what?

Alright, so you know the good, the bad and the ugly of our journey so far… but what about the just plain weird? Haha… yep! There are some things that although normal here, are strange adjusting to coming from the western world.

Today I’m sharing three:

EGGS

Unlike back home, where eggs are found in the fridge (and recommended to be refrigerated), here it is the complete opposite!

Eggs are not refrigerated– they are always found on shelves, and the idea of putting them in the fridge is just plain weird to the locals.

TOILET PAPER

This by far is the thing that has taken me the longest to get used too. You know the luxury of throwing your toilet paper in the toilet after you go to the bathroom?

Well here, that is also not a thing.

You see, in Nicaragua (like a lot of third-world countries), their plumbing isn’t strong enough to even push toilet paper through. Which means, when you go, you have to throw your toilet paper into the garbage.

Yep! ALL of the toilet paper.

And if you don’t, and there ends up being a plumbing issue, you can be fined a lot of money!

This took a while to get used too, and the fact that our new accommodations have the luxury (yes LUXURY) of being just like home… we are so grateful!

So the next time you go to the bathroom, remember how grateful you are for indoor plumbing!

GARBAGE

This one is a little less pleasant… and a bit heartbreaking.

Recycling is definitely not a thing here, and pop bottles are thrown right into the trash (among lots of other things). Nicaragua also doesn’t have a great garbage program, and there is a lot of trash found among the streets and on the beachespecially after a hard rain.

This has been hard to see, and has prompted a lot of brainstorming sessions on ‘how to make it better’. For starters though, a lot of us expats have been cleaning up garbage on the beach during our walks, to help in the ways we can.

 

Well there you have it babe!

I hope you enjoyed this look into our lives over the past month, and that this blog post answered your questions. If there is anything else you’d like to know- please don’t hesitate to ask.

 

Love,

Brianne xx

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Welcome!

Hi, I’m Brianne

Here at The Holistic RN you’ll find a place where holistic healing and western medicine come together to create a brand new way of looking at your health- including real food recipes, easy to understand information and overflowing inspiration. Let’s get started!

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