The positive impact of Travel; returning from my Nicaraguan adventures a different person!

Just over 4 weeks ago I left for the States, on a new adventure; for work, for adventure and I guess you could say, a need to reset.

I came away from the UK with 3 things in mind; A need to feel part of a different culture/pace of life, a place to call my home; something different than being a ‘traveller or tourist’, and an exploration to see if I could make the digital nomad lifestyle work for me.

I’ve been home a few days, and keep returning to this piece, as I’ve been finding it so hard to articulate this amazing experience. It’s been so much more than I could have imagined.

Before I left, a dear friend told me, that they had a feeling this trip would be life-changing. That he didn’t know how, but he had a feeling that life wouldn’t return as it did before. At the time I was so focused on managing my nerves, that I didn’t have time to give it much thought.

Now, I know it may seem over the top to a few, or perhaps a bit ‘woo woo’, but sitting at the airport waiting for my return flight I did feel like a different person than the one that left the UK. The experience over the past 4 weeks has changed me.

Travel changes you, but how?

As long as I can remember, I’ve always believed that travelling changes you, but somehow this trip feels different than most. It has gone way beyond expectations, but maybe that’s the point, I had very few.

I was flipping through my notebook a few days ago and paused at the little list I’d written ahead of the trip;

  • Be present, do not over-plan
  • Creativity – make time for
  • Capture the memory – experience it beyond photos
  • Do what you can regarding work, but if it’s not possible things can wait
  • Remember what Dad would say, don’t let money lead to regrets when you return home

Seeing how I could run my business whilst balancing a different pace of life, was one of the main drivers for this trip, so it’s interesting sitting here now and reflecting on the experience.

It turns out it is possible and it’s the best tonic!

Digital nomad life in Nicaragua
Digital nomad ‘Sarah Bagg’ in Nicaragua

Solo travel; fear of loneliness

The initial decision to travel to Central America came off the back of a conference I attended last year in Vienna when I combined a short leisure trip to Budapest. This got me thinking, why not a longer stay, somewhere further afield combining work and leisure? I guess you could say, I wanted to taste the digital nomad life.

The overarching feeling which kept me from committing for so many weeks and led to the numerous emails to the team at Eden (sorry Kelly and Remy), was the fear of being lonely.

This fear was one of the driving forces to booking this particular type of trip. The conference meant travelling to Las Vegas, but this wasn’t what was exacerbating these feelings. I felt confident enough that I’d know enough people and history told me I’d be ok in that environment.

I knew it was the next 3 weeks that were to follow that were causing me more worry.

As the conference came to a close and I said goodbye to all the people I had shared the first 5 days of my trip with, I felt a slight dip in my mood and anxious about the next stage of my journey.

People can be misled to think that loneliness is only experienced when you’re alone, but for me, it’s deeper than that. It’s about being misunderstood, or feeling like you don’t fit in.

The thing is I needed to be worried, as my trip soon took on a different meaning in the beautiful Nicaragua and loneliness became far from my mind.

Time is a strange vortex in Eden. A few days feel like so much longer than the time you have at home, something that I’m putting down to the routine of ‘life’.

I’m not sure when exactly I realised those feelings had gone. Was it as soon as I was greeted by a table of smiling faces, was it during the taxi journey there, or was it after the first sunset yoga session? I just don’t know, but I do know I never felt lonely or on my own during the whole time I was there. It was a special place and a special feeling.

Deep connections make experiences more memorable and meaningful

The lovely, welcoming team at Eden, the local people of Nicaragua and all the guests that passed through the retreat truly exceeded any expectations I had of this trip. I couldn’t have wished for a more welcoming, memorable and humbling group of people.

It’s been an absolute pleasure to be in the company of people who have made me laugh, comforted me when I cried, chatted with me for hours, gave space for quiet times, and allowed me to truly be myself.

I loved being surrounded by such a fantastic mix of nationalities, ages and backgrounds. Whether they were 25, or 55, married or single, children or none, somehow all of this seemed not important. By that I don’t mean, it didn’t matter, but it just wasn’t what defined our connections.

In a life where being single and childless makes you in the minority when you’re 46, it was so refreshing to be treated as an equal.

No one had ticked more ‘life boxes’ than others, no one even asked. It was an absolute joy to be part of.

Yoga retreat - breath work class - Nicaragua
Yoga retreat -Eden on the Chocolata

Yoga is so much more than flexibility and balance

The twice-daily yoga and life at Eden were the special ingredients to making this past few weeks not just a ‘holiday’, but the life-changing experience that my friend had seen coming.

For those of you who have practised yoga, you will understand the principle of mantras. You could say they sit equal to that of the breathing techniques, and when combined support the physical aspects of yoga that more people are familiar with.

In my last yoga session with Kelly, she talked about the idea of creating positives out of what could otherwise be looked at as negative situations.

Which got me thinking.

I’ve always considered myself a glass-half-full type of person, but sometimes in my life, I have struggled to find the positive in some of the things life throws at you. Over the past few years, It’s been hard coming to terms with a life which is so different to what I just thought I would have and one which is often contrary to what society, individuals and the media reinforce.

I have tried to find my path, and at times have found this to be harder than most people would know.

This trip, however, has shown me that this life that I’ve carved out can also be so full of great experiences. So many of which I wouldn’t have been able to see or do (or not to the same extent at least) if I had a family.

Even though I came into the retreat thinking that yoga would provide structure to my days, and provide a means of keeping fit and healthy during my stay. Surspingly, the Psychology and emotional side of yoga is what has had the most impact on me.

Sitting back on my sofa, feeling a mix of emotions about being home and leaving Eden and beautiful Nicaragua behind, I reflect with heaps of gratitude for the experiences.

No number of photos will ever do this trip justice. I will hold onto these memories and use the experiences to influence changes in my life and shape many more adventures.

This is not the end, but simply the beginning of the next chapter

Thank you to everyone I met along the way!

Sarah x

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