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A journey of a thousand friends

Our days in Las Peñitas went quickly. Waking up every morning, cleaning, re stocking, planning the daily menus, checking people in, checking people out, squeezing lines, picking mint, mixing mojitos, making smoothies, managing the afternoon crowd and as the day turned into night, counting cash, counting stocks, closing, locking up and going to bed. In between we went running, experimented with new drinks, played chess or pool, laughed, read, swapped stories with the guests and practiced our Spanish with the staff. This wasn’t hard work and life was great. Waking up with the sun and falling asleep together – with over one year of sustaining our long distance relationship, this was exactly where we wanted to be.

Our favourite part of working here has been the guests. There was “Northman”, called so because he looked exactly like Eric Northman from Trueblood. He was tall blonde and Dutch, travelling through Central America with his best friend of 15 years – they both ran a non profit called Casa Naranja which provides funding for children’s education in Costa Rica and Nicaragua. They were travelling through taking pictures and videos of the success stories for their investors back home. Great project and great guys.

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And then there was Ilan – this skinny little Israeli who now lives in Dublin was thrown in nicaraguan jail for punching a policeman. Apparently the policeman tried to steal his phone. And then a couple of days later he came in with a knife injury. He would oscillate between the twin states of drunk and hungover with a perpetual smile on his face; and when we asked him whether he remembered a time when he was sober, he referred the question to google translate as he didn’t understand what we were asking him – the man was quite simply hilarious!

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And then an author came through our doors – Regan Vasconcellos who had just self published his memoir entitled Tangents Between God. Brutally honest but brave writing that inspired us to take brave steps with our own writing.

And then there’s Clinton – guest turned hostel volunteer and a model of how human beings are actually supposed to live their lives. Every waking minute of Clinton’s time is spent on self improvement and self education. As well as the usual skill mix of backflips, Spanish, surfing, yoga and tai chi, in his spare time at the beach house he also picked up Capoeira, a Brazilian martial art dance. He can also pick a lock, tie a knot, sing, write poetry, compose music and play the guitar. He can talk to you about philosophy, quantum physics, cheese, Indian literature, and once he finishes up in Utila he’ll be able to wax lyrical about spear fishing as well. I once caught him practicing differential equations for fun. One of his objectives in life is to become a treasure hunter and I wouldn’t be surprised if one day we receive a postcard of Clinton on his sail boat (that he made himself) funded by all the diamonds he’s found around the Hawaiian coast.

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Meeting people is always the best part of travelling – the different perspectives, the different choices, the different motivations, passions and dreams of so many different people – all the unusual and yet familiar facets of being human spoken through a chorus of different accents and languages. As Tim Cahill wrote “a journey is best measured in friends rather than miles” and we’re grateful to say that our journey so far has been one of a thousand friends.

Kolarz

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