First selfie from the top of the mast!
Cheers fellow travelers! It’s been a while since we updated, but we have a good excuse – last year, Vicki and I purchased a used 34′ Gemini catamaran sailboat and have been exploring the coast of Florida. During most of that time, we’ve anchored in relatively remote locations without access to internet, except via our phones. So, we’ve been a little lazy and posting primarily to our FaceBook page. After a year of cruising, we’ve finally pulled into Legacy Harbor Marina in Ft. Myers for a little break. We have great Internet access and a little time to catch up.
Vicki at the helm!
Over the next week or so, we will be posting some long-overdue stories about our stops along Florida’s coasts, including a summer spent in St. Augustine, our winter in the Keys and our hot and buggy time along the Gulf Coast of the Everglades. Owning a cruising boat is a lot of work and responsibility, so we haven’t made any long explorations of remote locales, but we’ve certainly had our share of adventures.
SV Second Draft, our new-to-us 1999 34′ Gemini Catamaran, which serves as our floating home and base for exploration.
Living aboard a sailing vessel and living the cruising lifestyle is something we have always dreamed of doing. With the kids grown and out of the house, we decided to take the plunge. We could have waited until we had more money, or more whatever, but we know that life is short and that we have to make the most of the time we are given. So, while we are still young and healthy enough for this strenuous lifestyle, we’ve decided to go for it! So far, it’s been amazing, even though we’ve spent the entire year cruising in our “backyard” here in Florida. Next year, we hope to explore the Bahamas and Cuba. We hope you will enjoy the upcoming posts and continue to share your stories with us! For a taste of where we’ve been so far, you can catch up on our FaceBook page here! Thanks for following SV Second Draft!
Traveling is awesome, but sometimes you just want the comforts of home – like a hot shower, sans wires.
I love to travel. Experiencing new cultures, new foods, new smells, new landscapes and especially new people makes me feel alive. And it doesn’t much matter if the place I am exploring is on another continent or in my own backyard: The volcanos and colonial cities of Nicaragua or the woods and springs of the Ocala National Forest. I’m immersed, lost, no longer shackled to the people, places and things that have become too familiar, too predictable.
But travel – and especially extended budget travel – isn’t as romantic as some writers would have us believe. There is discomfort, delay, frustration and sometimes danger. Tonight, as we prepare to wrap up two months of backpacking through Central America, I am ready to be home. Continue reading
By Vicki Barnes
For the weary traveler, the name Lazy Bones alone is enough to draw you in, but the atmosphere in this hidden gem of a hostel in Leon, Nicaragua is laid back and energetic at the same time.
While Big Foot Hostel is famous on the internet for its electrified raves, its American-style pizza nights and high speed volcano boarding, Lazy Bones offers a more eclectic vibe that appeals to a more international crowd whose travel itinerary involves more than partying.
The hostel is run by a cooperative, a group of employees who share in the risks and the profits of the endeavor. They treat each other and the guests like family.
You might miss the door to this place if you weren’t sure of your destination two and a half blocks south of the Poets Park, across from the Mediterranean restaurant. A locked gate opens into a dark reception area, but beyond that is a courtyard with a beautifully-maintained tropical garden. On one wall, a surreal mural with bits of Nicaraguan history and lore in shades of red and gold. Across the way, a couple of tidy dorms.
Dorms are $8 and the private rooms with ensuite baths range from $20 to $30.
Beyond the garden are a few private rooms and family suites, a small dorm and another courtyard with a pool, a small Internet cafe and a kitchen where one can get a delicious breakfast.
The kitchen also serves as the staff’s community kitchen where staff and their families can prepare meals for themselves and their families with food they’ve each donated to the pantry. For a fee ($14), you can get a class in basic local cooking from one of the staff, including how to make tortillas from scratch. In the end you can eat your meal.
Staff members are using their talents and knowledge of the local area and history for a new tour (Maribios Tours) company as well. They are just getting started, so they haven’t gotten all the kinks out of the system, but they are doing a great job. There are shuttle drivers who get a little lost (not badly – and in a country with no street signs and roads maintained by residents – not surprisingly) and a lack of promotional items like T-shirts to make them more visible.
They are enthusiastic and encouraging and wonderfully kind. That goes a long way when exploring something new.
We did the volcano boarding ($30 including breakfast, a fresh fruit snack, water, transportation and everything you need to fling yourself down the ashy side of a volcano) with Claudia, a young woman who had grown up running up and down the “hills” (1000+ foot active and inactive volcanos) that surround Leon.
Standing at the base of Cerro Negro, an active volcano (it is presently just spewing small amounts of sulfuric gas, not lava), I briefly considered backing out of the whole deal. I am (a) pudgy, (b) of a certain age and (c) afraid of falling off volcanoes.
“No, Mi’Lady”, she said, grabbing me by the hand. “I will hold your hand all the way up. It’s not hard. We’ll do this together.” All the way up, she encouraged me, always smiling. (By the way, sliding down a volcano is the most fun you can have on a narrow piece of plywood.)
Lazy Bones only takes 5 or 6 people in a group on their tours. Other tours take groups of 40 or 50. Because of this, they can offer personalized attention that makes all the difference.
While we missed having a communal kitchen where we could prepare our own meals at this hostel, the experience was a great one overall.
Reservations: email them at firstname.lastname@example.org
By Vicki Barnes
The owner of the GM Granada Hostal in Granada, Nicaragua is an enthusiastic California teacher who loves his job back home. In the oasis that is his hostel across the Pan American Highway from the Ticabus station in this country’s second largest city, he loves to bring people together to learn about each other and about the things they have learned during their travels. Continue reading