Saturday, November 30, 2019




From Leon we all piled in the trusty VW, and headed south. Princess Fluffy, Adventure Dog, literally sat on top of us in the back. Or over us. Or behind us. She basically took over the van. lol.


We cruised past volcanos and rivers and the Wal Mart. (Yep. In the capital, they indeed have a Wal Mart.  Not going to lie… I kinda wanted to stop just to see how it was the same or different). There were Black Friday ads everywhere. After all… today is


And I am tremendously thankful to be on a trip like this, with great friends, seeing all the amazing things the world has to offer. I’m grateful. I’m humbled. I’m happy. Thank you life and the world for all of this.

We head up and over the rim of Laguna De Apoyo… a magical crater lake. We went to the camping area on the shores, as rain came in. We got our suits on and ran down to the water to swim with beer in hand. (I am with German’s remember! lol)  It was really incredible to be there. It was maybe 3-5 kilometers across. You could see the mountains all around, and a volcano in the distance. We swam, cooked lunch, played with the local dogs that all came to say hi.


And we played NINJA.  Which is this hilarious game were everyone is a Ninja trying to chop of the arms of everyone else. But you can only make single moves, and they can make single moves in defense. It’s easier to show, but it’s really really funny.

Then head to Hostel Paridiso
And for $9/night had a dorm bed on the shores of the lake at a place with kayaks, a floating dock, beach chairs, amazing food. Sweet.

As we were walking over to the hostel I said “I give it about a 65% chance we’ll see some travelers we’ve met before on this trip.”  We walk to check in, and literally EVERYONE from the shuttle and the party last night was there. Like 10 of them or more. lol.  Ahhh traveling! Awesome! And everyone of them is a solo traveler and they’ve all just teamed up fora little while on their journeys.

So our crew (Officially called the International Ninjas, by the way).
We met 2 more Germans (lol) and played Cards against Humanity. (As you do in Nicaragua).
And since it was Thanksgiving I naturally ordered… Chicken Cordon Bleu.
(They don’t have any turkey). It was hand made and really really good.

Trivia night fun! We teamed up with everyone there and had some trivia fun. My team won! A bottle of RUM! As you do down here.
The trivia also was to help raise money for students at the school. An extra $20 can help them with supplies or uniforms. It’s crazy, but a lot of them can’t even afford the pennies a day to get to school. I thought I might be able to help some, so I donated enough for a full years tuition for a student. I’d love for all this travel to have a positive impact on the places I go, and not just be about having a great adventure in a great place with great people. Hopefully that helps. I like to think it will. :)


Originally we were going to push on to other places and other cities and I just suggested that we don’t. Let’s stay here. Let’s enjoy this lake and the swimming and everything, and the Ninja’s whole heartedly agreed. See, they are on a MUCH longer trip (2-3 months for Franzi and Stefi, and who the hell knows how long for Hannah and Fabian), so the pace they move is significantly slower normally than what they have been doing because I’ve been here. It is true, on the trips where I’ve had 6 weeks instead of 2, it is easier to dive into a place a little deeper. Spend an extra day or three. It’s nice.

So that’s what we did here.

A day of morning swims, kayak out into the lake, picking up floating rocks (?). Yep.
Why not? lol.
We floated on inter tubes.
Had great food.
Kayak races.
Great conversation.
Slack lining.
We tried to do volleyball, but the ball was so flat it was hard.
Still, we hit it around in the water and random folks joined us.
The temp was perfect.
The water was perfect.
The place was perfect.

(A reminder, this was $9 a night. Or $25 for a double…. and it’s as bad ass and wonderful a place as you can find. The food was $4-$8 a meal… and wonderfully tasty. And the drinks were $1.50. So the next time the thought “man, travel is expensive” crosses your mind… it doesn’t have to be. There are ways to go places, amazing places, that don’t cost much at all :)


Franzi, Stuff and I took a shuttle with some other folks to Volcan Masaya… an active Volcano about 10km away. It’s a national park. You go in at sunset. You go through the museum in a whirlwind with the guide who explains all the volcanos in the area (almost 30). All in a straight line from Mexico through Nicaragua. The newest started erupting 150 years ago. You can volcano board down it.
This particular volcano is one of 6 in the entire world where you can see a BOILING, ROILING LAKE OF FIRE!

HELL YEAH! (Irony noted! lol)

So we go up to the crater rim and you have 20 minutes to look down 200 meters (600 feet) to the boiling heart of the earth. And with my zoom camera, I could really zoom in close and see the lave and magma just roaring and churrning. It was 200 meters down… but still amazing. If you were really quiet you could hear it too. Roaring. Rumbling.

That's 200 meters (600 feet) down down down


It still blows my mind that this is happening under our feet (sometimes WAY under our feet) everywhere. It’s the planet we live on. It’s alive. Not just on the surface, but deep inside. Churning. Building up. Sometimes blowing up. I’ve seen lava before, and am so happy I have. It’s amazing! And to think a lake of lava like this can only be seen in 6 places on the planet… wow. And it just started here 3 years ago. Seriously. The lake wasn’t visible until 3 years ago! The planet is changing and building and breaking down. Fascinating.

The planet is alive.
Inside and out.
All we have to do is look around, breathe it in, and remember what a blessing and gift this wonderful, amazing, magical planet is. Let’s take care of it. It’s everything we have. If it goes away… so do we.

You don’t have to travel to the ends of the earth. Just step outside. Look at the trees. Check out that amazing sunrise or sunset. Hear the ocean waves. Climb a mountain. Get close to the sky. See those birds flying… there is magic all around us.

And I’m thankful everyday for all of it.

This is Craig Ouellette,
last surviving member of the Nostromo
Signing off. (until the next one!)

****Unfortunately I couldn't get the video to upload here. So for now, no video. But maybe in the future.
Here's a video of the lake of fire! Hopefully it looks cool on the blog. Keep in mind it was handheld at 200 meters zoomed in 72x. Enjoy!

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