As we head away from the plethora of resorts and into town, I watch the scenery turn from lush and opulent to gritty and sordid. We stop at another bus station to pick up a few more passengers. Last on is Don, a heavy-set man with a cane, a wiry sporadic attempt of a beard and a stench that can only accompany a body that hasn’t seen a shower in God only knows how long. He grabs the last seat, right next to me. Don is a friendly man who after introducing himself, immediately begins to tell me his entire life story. I’m not in the mood to be social. I’m shitting my pants over here. Why in the hell am I here? Why can’t I be like the rest of my peers and get a husband and a mortgage? Nope—I’ve chosen a life of gritty third-world countries and DONS. Oh God, what have I done?
We stop in town to grab breakfast. Feeling my insides sputter and churn, I pass and have a tea instead, with my new buddy next to me, chatting away. With the sun rising over the dilapidated buildings, I start to awaken a little myself and feel slightly better about the life I’ve thrown myself into. This change of perspective may also have something to do with the fact that my heart sucker-punched my brain and screamed at it to get over it and stop feeding me repetitive thoughts of suicide.
As we cross the border into Nicaragua, there is a cab waiting for me. The van I have been riding in is heading in a different direction than I. Ah, so long dear Don, and may your future be full of happiness and showers. My new cab driver smiles from ear to ear and introduces himself to me as ‘Carlos’, and he smells quite nice actually. His cab is decorated with signs bordering its roof of “Jesus Lives”. Comforting. As soon as I hop in the front seat of a cab that may be older than me, we head off to San Juan Del Sur, a small surf town with a personal recommendation that it may possibly be the most fun place in all of Central America. As the foliage wraps around us and the clouds clear to a crystal blue sky, a feeling of calm integrates through me. When a short clearing of trees opens up, I see an active volcano in the distance, with ferocious clouds of smoke pouring from its tip. I have never seen an active volcano before and am ecstatic. Carlos offers to stop so I can take photos, “Please, my gift for you.” I thank him but politely decline; I am ready to get to my next destination and see what Nicaragua has in store.
I’m not sure what happened, or how it happened, but from the moment Carlos and I hit the road, the fear and anxiety dissipated. I just knew, by the grace of God, that I was going to be just fine. And I was right; Nicaragua ends up significantly changing my entire life. I was headed to my destiny. Without really knowing this, deep down, I somehow knew. Life may not always appear to be headed in the direction we expect it to, but looking back, it is always guiding us to the places we need to go.