Going to Nicaragua, Sept. 9, 2013

The last few days have been such a blur between surfing, doing ding repair, shaping Brandon’s new board, and judging surf contests. I’ve hardly had a moment to stop and reflect on what’s really going on in our lives right now. Sometimes you really do need to relax, calm the mind, and look around at where your life is currently at, and analyze the state you’re in and where it’s going. As my life seems to grow increasingly more complex, I find it harder to do.

I remember a time when I put all of my belongings in storage, left everything behind and set off to new territory, cruising through the Caribbean, and onward to Africa. The simplicity of just having a few bags was incredible because I literally lived with only the burden of what I could carry on my own shoulder. The world was my oyster and the sky had no limits. If there was a place I wanted to go, I’d walk. If it wasn’t on the island I was on, I’d find a way out, by boat or plane. The freedom a person experiences in that sort of lifestyle is like no other experience. What an incredible feeling to be able to stand in one spot, with your bags, and say “THIS is my home”. As your feet begin to walk, every step becomes more meaningful as you’ve cut the ties behind you.

Since I married Brandon in November of 2011, we’ve only traveled once: back to the Virgin Islands for a month, where I once lived. He really hasn’t experienced the same traveling experiences or the nomadic lifestyle that I have. I hope to ease him into this with a bit of structure, and then break away completely and show him how it’s really done. It’ll be a challenge, especially since we’re already trying to figure out what we’re taking. Surfboards, music recording equipment, guitar, clothes…. This isn’t exactly the way I’m used to traveling. I generally only have to be concerned with myself, only taking enough for one. But now we’re trying to research the busses to see how many bags are allowed, the weight limits, surfboard restrictions, etc.

We’ll start with Nicaragua, where we’ll be hosts and surf instructors at Rise Up Surf Camp from late October until at least the end of the year. We’re totally looking forward to getting some real waves. It seems like we haven’t had a nice hurricane swell in Florida in years. Brandon just finished shaping and building my new longboard, and he’ll be working on a few other boards for the trip over the next few weeks. Hopefully we’ll each be taking a longboard and a short board.

Rise Up Surf Camp is located in the North of Nicaragua, just on the coast near Leon. They offer a variety of surf packages, as well as combination surf and yoga packages. It appears that the camp is quite modern, with everything we need to live with the comforts of home, yet there’s something so rustic and cultural about the lifestyle there that appeals to me. As a fan of the outdoors, I’m really going to enjoy being able to sit outside with guests and play guitar, or look out over the ocean from the shade. My “alone-time” will likely be on the beach, creating new music or writing about the beautiful experiences we’re having.

Brandon can’t help but explore the area online, watching surf videos and looking at photos. I prefer to travel blindly, not really forming an opinion of a place before I arrive. I’ve found that when you think about or visualize a place too much before arriving, you really create an imaginary place in your head, and I don’t like imaginary places. I like real places. For me, the thrill is arriving blindly, knowing less and experiencing the country in a way a newborn baby does, learning first hand, without forming opinions before arriving. So I tend to keep Nicaragua in my mind as little as possible right now, soaking up the last remnants of Florida Sunshine.

We’ve heard about the lefts, a few point breaks, pitchy, hollow waves, mellow beach breaks, and peeling a-frame longboard waves. I’m really going to enjoy the variety of waves at my fingertips. In Florida we have so few options: beach break, pier break or jetty, all of which are really just beach breaks. So far, Nicaragua sounds like an interesting place and we can’t wait to get there!

One thing I’ll be doing on this next travel is recording music as I go. In the past, I’ve sat my music aside for my travels, but this time I want to include my music, my surfing and my fans in everything that happens. My objective is to learn the different cultures of the countries I visit, just as I have in the past, and use them as inspiration for the music that I’ll write and record in those countries. In some cases, I may even use local, cultural instruments, or have locals step in to play backup. Perhaps we’ll even play online shows, live from the camp on StageIt.com, including the locals and campers, as well as our friends and followers all over the world.

We’ve had so many amazing companies sponsor us and send up gear for the trip. Wave Tribe has just sent a new board bag that’ll hold two boards, and Voltaic Systems has send us this amazing, high-quality backpack with solar panels to keep all of our electronics charged while we’re out and about, or exploring the wilderness. Bearpaw has sent us new flops and boots to keep our feet warm and cozy as we travel onward. So many other companies have helped us out and we appreciate all of the amazing support and look forward to promoting those companies through the blog.

So dear friends, please keep up in your thoughts, and keep us in your daily activities. We’d love to know that there are people out there who enjoy travel blogs, sincere music, and cultural experiences.