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5 Lessons Learned from Stretching, Sun, and Surf

Guest Post | Jennifer Prince

Bucket lists. We all have them. Experiences we want to have, things we’d like to try, and places we want to visit. For me – as a travel writer – I think that most of my list centers around visiting other countries. Specific countries...and Nicaragua wasn’t on that list.

When the opportunity presented itself to head to Nicaragua with Traverse Journeys for a surf and yoga retreat, I did a mental double take. I had tried a class or two of yoga and wasn’t even sure I could get up on a surfboard, but my adventurous spirit said, Yes!

Convincing my less adventurous husband to go was a bit more difficult, but we are both so glad we went!

Here are a few lessons I learned along the way:

Center yourself.

Because it was a retreat, we began each day with meditation and yoga. Having time in the morning to become mentally grounded and get my body in gear was essential. It felt wonderful and – I dare say – was more beneficial than an extra hour of sleep. Having a way to start your day in a peaceful way makes a world of difference.

Truly listen.

All of the attendees had the combined experience of surfing, yoga, and sharing a villa, which caused us to become a family quickly. Meditation and yoga cause you to think and open up. Whether it was hearing new friends pour out their hearts or intently listening to the surf instructor relay how to surf safely, sitting back and soaking in what someone else is saying can be vital.

Help yourself.

This was my biggest takeaway. It had life-changing effects on me. In conversing with Angie, our yoga instructor, she said that with everything – gossip, food, activities –she weighs whether it will hurt her or harm her. I have used that statement to evaluate what I am eating, doing, and thinking. What a life altering change!

Just try.

I’m not in my 20s. Ok, I’m not even in my 30s, so the thought of surfing for the first time really challenged me. But...I got up. I didn’t look graceful or professional in the least, but my goal of balancing while standing on a moving board in the water was accomplished. And, honestly, if I failed, I at least tried. So much of life is getting out there and trying.

Invest in others.

Philanthropic travel is something I love, and most of the work I have done has been with children. In Nicaragua, we had the opportunity to volunteer at the educationally centered Barrio Planta Project. Every time I head to a developing country, I am reminded of how different people’s lives are around the globe. Plus, helping those in need has great rewards both for the giver and receiver.

So, no matter what is on your list, I hope that crossing things off provides valuable lessons along the way.


Jennifer Prince is the founder of Travel Like a Prince, a female-centric blog that covers various aspects of exploring the globe. When she is not on the go, she enjoys spending time with her husband, 3 children, and 4 cats. She is a PA transplant currently claiming Virginia as her home where she lives with her brood in a 1922 craftsman style home.

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