Yes, it has been three months since I set out on The Happy Nomad Tour. Public companies have to present their results to shareholders and the public every quarter. I will do the same, mockingly, and share the highlights of the trip thus far with my “shareholders”.
To be sure, there have been lowlights as well. But the positivity has overwhelmed the negativity, as it should.
Although I have had no income, the outcome so far has been amazing and far better than I ever could have expected.
It’s hard to believe that if this trip is to last two years, then I’m already 1/8 of the way done. Incredible. Time really is going by quickly. I have slept in offices, stores, workshops, and soon a school in Nicaragua. I’m looking forward to future experiences and future unknown places to sleep.
My Spanish improves a bit every day, but I thought it would be better at this point in the trip. I guess I am absorbing it and improving, but it’s not the same as taking classes and truly focusing on Spanish. And that has been my biggest surprise so far..
Even though I’m not “working”, I never seem to have time. But it’s in a good way and I’m not complaining. I’ve just been surprised. The amount of time/work this website takes is far more than I could have expected. And at this point, the time to readership ratio would, in the corporate world, necessitate an immediate closure of the site! But I enjoy writing and I’ll be doing this even if my mom is the only one who reads it 🙂
But yes, between volunteering, working on this site, getting to know each place I go and its people, and doing normal daily activities, I have far less time than I expected.
I met a travel blogger in Honduras and he really surprised me with how much time he puts into his website.. 40-50 hours per week. I don’t have anywhere near that much time, though my goals are different from his.
Total Distance Traveled: 4336 mi / 6938 km
Distance Traveled By Bus: 2994 mi / 4791 km
Distance Traveled By Air: 1342 mi / 2147 km (Just Cleveland-Charlotte-Houston)
Longest Bus Ride: 19 Hours (Houston-San Luis Potosi)
Total Number of Beds Slept In: 16
Borders crossed: 7 (Guatemala & Honduras twice)
Amount Spent On Happy Nomad Tour Accommodation: $0
Amount Spent On Other Accommodation (One Night Visiting A Friend in Honduras): $18.50
Total Spent: ? I haven’t checked the balance with my Danish bank in over two months. I probably spend on average $10/day – often $0. At some point in the near future I’ll write a series about how I travel and how I execute the Happy Nomad Tour so cheaply.
Now for the “Best Of” for the past quarter… If you have any questions for what the best XYZ has been, ask away in the comments and I’ll respond.
Nicest accommodation: Yoloaiquin, El Salvador by far. There was no internet, no indoor plumbing, no warm water, and lots of bugs. But I loved it.
Best meal: Doris’s baleadas in Copan Ruinas, Honduras
Worst meal: The cow stomach soup in San Miguel is close, but without a doubt it is sour Honduran atol.
Funniest city-boy experience: Getting scared half to death by a chicken in the bathroom in Yoloaiquin, El Salvador
Biggest “what am I doing?” moment: Volunteering with Cape Cares in Honduras
Biggest “this is why I am doing this” moment: Seeing the school in disarray in Yoloaiquin, El Salvador
Most contrasting/interesting day: A day to remember in Mexico
Best day trip: Guanajuato, Mexico
Best chicken bus experience: Once I pass through all the countries that have chicken buses, you can be assured that an homage to them is coming. For now, it’s this clip of capitalism in action.
Best hat: The feria in San Luis Potosi
Longest transportation: Houston-San Luis Potosi
Best view: Hard to say since I’ve been in mountainous areas for a couple months now, but this was pretty impressive in San Salvador.
Most alcohol consumed: Leon, Mexico is really the only place I have drunk. But the best picture capturing this was me holding the tequila AK-47 during Mexican Independence Day.
Best reuniting with a friend: Gigi in Mexico City
Best nature picture: This iguana in El Salvador
Favorite city: Leon, Mexico
Favorite village: Yoloaiquin, El Salvador
Hottest place: San Miguel, El Salvador
Coldest place: San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico
Best Park: Macaw Mountain Bird Park in Honduras
Coolest dogs: Eli’s salchichas in San Luis Potosi
Best Waitress: All the waitresses at Nia Lola’s in Copan Ruinas, Honduras
Best purchase: A second-hand Ropa Americana sweatshirt in Antigua, Guatemala that prevented me from freezing
Best chef: Doris in Copan Ruinas, Honduras
Best gift: A traditional Salvadoran shirt from the students I spoke to in San Francisco Gotera, El Salvador
Best word: “Cora”, which is how El Salvadorans say Quarter/$0.25. “No Manchas” in Mexico is a close second. It means “No stains”, but they say it like “No way”. It sounds cool, but it’s strange too. Don’t get me started on “Que Pedo” in Mexico…
Most interesting grave: Oscar Romero’s in San Salvador
Most interesting fruit: Sapote in San Miguel, El Salvador
Most beautiful border crossing: Honduras/El Salvador
Worst bathroom: In Honduras at a restaurant
Best pastry: By far the guava pastry I had in San Salvador
Best café: Leon Café in Guatemala City
Best coffee: Mint café mocca in Guatemala City
Best drink from a bag: Horchata in Honduras
Coolest moment: Turning on a light bulb powered by the sun
Best Ohio State story: Feria in San Luis Potosi where I touched a guy’s nipple by accident
Most uncomfortable feeling taking pictures: Dia del Muerto
Coolest ants video: Alone we are strong, together we are stronger
Favorite Tree: The Gringa Tree in Honduras
Best “Viva”: This little kid in Leon, Mexico
Best Mariachi: Guanajuato, Mexico
Of course, none of this would have been possible had it not been for the wonderful organizations who let me volunteer with them and my amazing couchsurfing hosts. Thank you doesn’t come close to expressing my gratitude, but hopefully you already knew how much I appreciated your help!
And thank you to all of you who keep up with this blog 🙂
In the coming quarter, I’ll finish up Central America and enter South America as per my route. My brother will visit me in Colombia, which will be awesome. And hopefully lots of fulfilling and wonderful volunteering experiences are coming up soon as well!