How to Ruin Your Life

We were excited to renew our club membership at Hulakai Hotel where we spent a great week on our first pass through Playa Maderas, Nicaragua, in March. So we were all disappointed when we pulled into the parking lot after a hot border crossing from Costa Rica and realized the hotel was closed for renovations for the week. It's the beginning of the low tourist season in Central America, in anticipation of the rainy season, and many businesses shut down during this time to repaint, refresh, and refurbish. Coconut and J took the news well, but given the extreme temperatures, refused to camp. We all needed a shower anyway, so R and I hadn't really considered that option except as a means to tease and torment the kids. Tyler, owner of Hulakai, took a few minutes from his family pool party to buy us a soda at his bar and recommend a beach front place called The L'il Aussie Hut.

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The Aussie Hut is owned and run by a gregarious, fun-loving couple named Paul and Charlie, and inhabited by their three kids and their nine dogs, including five puppies. It was a good fit for us and even though we only planned to spend two nights, we spent a week.

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Maya poses with (from Left) Wesley, Ms. Fluffles, Spot, and Champ.
Maya poses with (from Left) Wesley, Ms. Fluffles, Spot, and Champ.

The primary reason for this was that we met a family of four that recently moved to Nicaragua from Harrisburg, PA who have a son named Owen, age eleven. Owen and J made a blood pact the moment they met and have been inseparable since. We were this close to leaving and J was a teary mess, so we stayed.

J and Owen clowning around on Playa Marsella.
J and Owen clowning around on Playa Marsella.

Paul and Marisa, the brave couple that decided to eschew their comfortable life and profitable business in Harrisburg for the simple beach life, have since invited us to camp in their front yard. We've been parked there for four nights and don't plan to leave before the weekend. They even invited our friends Maria and Angelo, who we spent time with on Ometepe Island, to visit us and pitch a tent in the yard. As a bonus, Paul is a chef who cooks breakfast and dinner for us each day. He naps during lunch.

Marisa and Paul clown around in the kitchen of their rented home.
Marisa and Paul clown around in the kitchen of their rented home.

Of all the inspiring people that we've met during our ten months on the road, and there have been many, Paul and Marisa rule. They left their comfortable house on their big, wooded lot, sold a successful business and all of their power tools, and headed for the sunny days and gold coast of Nicaragua, sight unseen. They decided on this life path and made it happen in under a year, consequences be damned. I love the decisiveness. As Paul says, "What's the worst that can happen? We hate it and completely ruined our lives?"

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R and I, on the other hand, took eight years to plan this one year trip. We flip-flop between going back (as of now, we are going back), between going back to work (as of now, we are going back), and between putting the kids back in school (as of now, they are going back.) I mean, what's the worst that can happen? We hate it and completely ruined our lives?

I contemplate life back in the office while waves crash behind me.
I contemplate life back in the office while waves crash behind me.

I guess there's still time to change our minds.