So Many Types of Normal: Seeing New Ways of Life in Nicaragua
Traveling is the best way to understand the world that we live in. One of the greatest things about traveling is the fact that you get to interact with so many different people on a daily basis. You are constantly on the move, and you come into contact with people from various backgrounds and walks of life. Not only do you meet other travelers from all over the world, but you also meet tons of locals. As you break free from your usual routines that you’ve become accustomed to while living back at home, you realize that there is no real “normal” way to live.
When you have your job, your group of friends, your family, and your daily routine, it is easy to think that your way of living is probably the most normal or common way of living. Traveling, however, frees your mind and gives you insight into the lives of what others consider “normal.” As I currently travel throughout Nicaragua, I find that many things come as a surprise to me but don’t phase the people living here at all. For example, while taking public buses across the country, you will see people bringing live chickens on the bus, people jumping out the back of the bus while it is still moving, and people jumping on the bus just to sell pastries or soda to passengers. My friend and I laugh as we enjoy the chaotic bus rides full of interesting people, but everything we see is nothing but normal for the rest of the passengers on the bus. In fact, the people on the buses see us foreigners as out of the ordinary and are curious about us. Meeting other travelers also gives you insight into the many ways that travelers choose to live. I have met people traveling for a few weeks and others traveling for over a year. All of these travelers come from different places and have different reasons for wanting to travel. Most of the people you meet will inspire you in some way and have interesting stories to tell. Traveling opens your eyes to the many ways people either choose to live or are forced to live and it makes you appreciate everything you have. It also makes you realize that most people are happy with whatever their “normal” is as long as they have the basics. The best part about traveling is connecting with both other travelers and locals and sharing a few precious moments of your lives with each other. Fellow travelers are always happy to share tips or stories with you and locals are always thrilled that you are spending time and are interested in seeing their country and way of living. In return, you are sharing your way of living with the people you meet along the way. The act of traveling shows people that you care to get to know what the world is like outside of what you know. It teaches you that there are no “right” or “wrong” ways of living and there is certainly not one kind of “normal.”