When my sister and I were young, we played a game that I’m sure many of you enjoyed as children.
We would hop from the couch to the coffee table, to a random sweater one of us had discarded hastily on the floor, giggling and screaming as we attempted to balance on these various items without letting any bit of our tiny bodies touch the ground below.
The reason we had to delicately steady ourselves on these islands of inanimate objects was simple-
The floor of our house was densely coated with the fiery liquid from deep within the earth’s core.
Well… at least it was in our imaginations.
“The floor is lava!” One of us would scream, as she bounced from chair to chair.
In a giddy panic, the other would race to the nearest piece of furniture and climb aboard, seconds before the spot where she had just been standing was engulfed in magma.
Imagining lava on the floor of my childhood home was a delightful pastime, but I never thought I’d see the substance in real life.
Until I arrived in Nicaragua.
As a country in the dead centre of the Pacific Ring of Fire, Nicaragua is home to 19 active volcanos. One of these is Masaya…
I usually travel alone.
I’m definitely what you would consider an extrovert but sometimes I absolutely cherish solitude. Not only that but my friends can’t always commit to the time and money I set aside solely for travel.
That’s okay. I understand. I like doing my own thing anyways.
However, for this trip, I enlisted my boyfriend, Tyler, to be my travel companion. Tyler is basically the human embodiment of a golden retriever (except he’s more handsome and doesn’t slobber… much) so I knew he would make the ideal travel buddy.
Travelling alone is fun. You get to do whatever the hell you want. But travelling with someone else is great too because it pushes you to try things you wouldn’t otherwise.
One such thing for me was hiking El Hoyo, a volcano in Nicaragua.
As we were prepping for this trip back in Canada, a friend recommended we do a hike with Quetzaltrekkers, an adventure tour company based out of Leon, Nicaragua…
Chicken pox, mono, cold sores, herpes, what do they all have in common? They’re all caused by one of the eight types of herpes viruses. Aside from shocking my non-healthcare professional friends with that knowledge, I’m going to be so bold as to announce a discovery that will astonish every reader of this blog; the travel bug is a herpes virus.
That’s right, the travel bug, a common contagion contracted by travellers of all ages, is incurable. How do I know? Well, I myself have been infected.
What is the travel bug?
You’ve heard of the travel bug before. Not the one that has you spewing from both ends into the jungle in a rural Ecuadorian village, wiping your ass with a banana leaf after a questionable burger you knew you shouldn’t consume but had to in order to appease your craving for western food *true story*.
No, this infliction is far more potent. It will affect your career, relationships, hobbies, finances- essentially your entire life as you know it…
Do you know what day it was yesterday? Friday, October 14, 2016. In Hoi An, Vietnam that means that it was time for the monthly lantern festival.
All the dates for this festival are predetermined. I thought maybe it was because of a full moon but apparently that’s not for another couple of days. No matter how many Google searches I perform and people I ask, I still can’t decipher how they pick the dates. Apparently it has something to do with the 14th day of the lunar calendar. I couldn’t quite figure it out, so naturally I got bored and gave up. Anyways, time for pretty pictures…
It was just a regular day on the job, as they say. I was at the Vancouver General Hospital taking a break with my coworkers after a long morning of work. The only difference about this day was that one of my coworkers, a Vietnamese-Canadian woman named Trang, had enlisted her husband to save us from the misery of another hospital cafeteria lunch. He had brought Vietnamese subs. I was enjoying the delicious food and conversation when Trang’s husband casually mentioned that there was an excellent YVRdeal to Vietnam, only $598 return.
“What?!” I exclaimed.
Within the hour I had booked my flight. I would later ask for the time off work and hope it would be approved. Just like that, my journey began…