On The Road #16


As soon as I can, I’ll update you on my one year trip. I’ve decided to leave everything behind and spend real time with the people that matter the most in my life: my wife and three children. This is my story, I hope it will inspire you to create yours.

You can read my previous “On the road” articles:

  • On the road #1
  • On the road #2
  • On the road #3
  • On the road #4
  • On the road #5
  • On the road #6
  • On the road #7
  • On the road #8
  • On the road #9
  • On the road #10
  • On the road #11
  • On the road #12
  • On the road #13
  • On the road #14
  • On the road #15


Date: from November 14th to December 1st

Countries/States/Province traveled through: Nicaragua


I’ve finally reached the “promised land”. After almost 6 months being on the road, we are now well established in a villa in Costa Rica for 3 months. Being here feels like being a millionaire. It’s great as I will have this feeling for the next 3 months!

But before, something very important happened in Nicaragua. Something I never suspected hit me. Nicaragua was a real game changer…

Nicaragua & their Volcano

Arriving in Nicaragua was a big relief. I wasn’t too keen on spending much time in El Salvador and crossing Honduras in a single day sounded like a very demanding challenge. Fortunately, we were now in Nicaragua, feeling safer than ever. Funny enough, fear is all in our head, nothing happened neither in El Salvador or Honduras.

We parked Freefall in a parking of a hotel called Playa Roca in Las Penitas. This was a really nice spot were we could have A/C (it was over 35 degrees everyday), access to wifi, a big rancho and a great beach right in front of us. There were also people from Quebec living in this village. They helped us doing our grocery (manoeuvring Freefall in the colonial city of Leon was a challenged as usual), washing our clothe and we visited 2 volcanoes with them (they had a small traveling agency).

The first volcano we visited was the Masaya. It was quite impressive as we were able to see lava inside the volcano. Being on top of this volcano staring at what would possibly kill us all if it erupts was quite impressive. The Lava was boiling and fuming.

While I enjoyed the Masaya, it was nothing compared to the Cerro Negro, one of the most active volcano in Nicaragua. This volcano doesn’t spit out lava, but only rocks. Over the years, it built a very nice slope where you can do… volcano boarding!

You climb up the volcano for about 45-60 minutes hike. The view was beautiful as you can see valleys and other volcanoes. Then, you dress-up like mechanics, take a piece of wood for a sleight and slide you way down the volcano at a very fast speed. Whoa! What a rush of adrenaline, this was crazy! The whole family did it (even Caleb who was registered as the youngest kid ever to climb up the Cerro Negro and slide it down with a sleigh!). I anticipated this moment for months and every second was worth it!

Mind the Gap Nica, Otto & a Tsunami

After a week spent nearby Leon, we wanted to explore a little bit more of Nicaragua and decided to stop further down south at a small hostel called Mind The Gap Nica, a recommendation from many travelers.

As I was getting there, I stuck Freefall in the sand thinking it was safe to park. Rapidly, a family nearby came to help us out and they pushed Freefall out of trouble. People in Nicaragua are very kind and very helpful! They were quite happy I shared my Corona’s with them ????

This is when the magic started operating. We finally reached Mind The Gap Nica, a small hostel for backpackers & surfers. As we enter in what appears to be the restaurant (and the officina at the same time), heavy music from Tool is playing. I automatically though: “nice… that’s my style! It’s good to hear good old music!”. A bunch of backpackers with dreads and tattoos warmly welcomed us. They were super happy to see us here and showed us around.

We weren’t sure we would stay here for several days thought. We thought that a family of five (especially our children) might annoy young adults (they were mostly all mid 20’s). As it is the case when a decision needs to be made and we are tired, we decided to wait until the next morning before we do anything. In fact, we have a special rule about decision making during our trip. Prior to taking any important decision, we must do 3 things:

  • Eat
  • Sleep
  • Have sex

Don’t laugh! This is the best way to make sure your brain is well rested and can take the right decisions. The next morning, we noticed that all backbackers were pretty much excited to talk with our children. They really like what we were doing with our family and we started sharing traveling stories. The best of all is that there were 3 Quebecois there! It felt good to speak our tongue with other travelers!

We then stayed at this place for the remaining time we had in Nicaragua. For 10 days, the time clock stopped and we stared at the sea to think most of the time. It was an amazing moment of inner reflection about what I want in life. Was it all that quiet? Yeah… besides the fact that we got hit by a Tsunami and a Hurricane the very same day…

Yup, you read that right: on the same day, we had to face a Tsunami and Hurricane Otto. It started right after we had our lunch at our RV. We knew about Hurricane Otto, the first Hurricane in 100 years to hit Costa Rica & Nicaragua this late in November. It was coming most likely tonight and we knew which kind of damage a tropical storm (the Hurricane was expected to hit the Atlantic coast and then switch to a tropical storm with strong wind) could do. On the other side, we felt safe here as we knew the owners (Diego, Sam and Morgan) and we knew they will help us if anything happen to the RV during the storm. But then, Diego comes to our RV to advise us about a earthquake that just happened in front of El Salvador and that there was a tsunami warning. We decide to pack-up everything we have around the RV and get ready to leave in the event of an alarm. And there it goes! A strong siren started to echo all along the coast. Several Nicas were in their pick-ups screaming to people to jump-in. Diego yelled at us to leave NOW.

I jumped in my RV and started driving my way out of the dirt road as fast as I can. During the whole time, I had my eye fixed at my mirror to make sure I don’t see the gigantic wave about to swallow us. I was ready to make Freefall fly it needs be. I drove like this for a few miles until we reach the “safe point”. When then stopped there and watch the ocean to see the wave. Fortunately, nothing happened. The tsunami wasn’t that big and hit the coast about 30km north of where we were. We could all happily go back to camping spot and wait for the tropical storm to hit.

But instead of freaking out, we wrapped Freefall and we decided to have pasta & wine by the rancho and listen to the waves. The night passed, a little bit of rain and we were blessed; the storm hit Nicaragua about 75km south of where we were. Definitely, Mind The Gap Nica was the place to be!

After going through this very demanding day, I realised more than ever that life was short and I rather enjoy it fully instead of waiting to retire someday. Doing this trip is the best decision I ever taken in my life, but I now realise that I should never be afraid of anything else. I mean, what is scarier than driving down a mountain when you think your car will crash and burn or to face both a Tsunami and a Hurricane the same day? Am I afraid of losing my job or having to sell my house because I’m not making enough money when I come back? Seriously? This is what you call a fear? I was once afraid of things like that, now I know that if it isn’t life threatening, this is not a fear I should have. This is the magic that happened in Nicaragua; I’ve became invincible.

Now in Costa Rica!

We arrived in Costa Rica on December 1st. At 8:40 am, we finished crossing the borders and we took a picture:

Yes, we are now officially crossing border ninjas!

By the end of the day, we reached our villa, an ultimate goal during our trip. We have earned our rights to relax and enjoy Costa Rica for 3 months.


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