Unfinished business.

My (R)evolution, part 12.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

The decision has been made, there’s no way back anymore in my mind. I am leaving the island, leaving Nicaragua, the beautiful country that has been my welcoming home for 13 years.

In the weeks running up to my decision to pack up my life and leave, I’ve been keeping track of the news, which keeps showing more of the same: more peaceful protest marches of people demanding that the president and his wife step down. More police violence, more deaths every day. A National Dialogue with representatives of all groups involved, not coming to any kind of resolution or agreements. The situation isn’t improving, but also not escalating dramatically. Just slowly deteriorating.

Tourism in Nicaragua has come to a grinding halt. Businesses are laying off people, closing down.

Our little island at this moment probably is still the “liveliest” when it comes to tourism because it is a relatively safe place that people can reach by air, avoiding all trouble on the mainland. But it’s only a handful of unfazed travellers that makes it down here.

We’re running low on supplies, and nobody can guarantee us any deliveries any time soon, with all the road blocks being maintained firmly in place on all the major roads on the mainland.

The future has started to look pretty grim, when it comes to sustaining ourselves in the tourist industry, which is my only source of income too.

It is — sadly — time to move on.

This particular life-changing decision to leave hasn’t made me feel even faintly happy or totally relieved, like the other big decisions would in the past, when I would leave behind a boring job or a toxic relationship.

Yes, my departure takes me away from the depressing situation of living in a place where I can’t sustain myself anymore (and probably won’t for a long time) due to a revolution. Yes, I walk away from a situation of constant uncertainty, where we could well get stuck on a little island without any supplies coming in for weeks or even months. Yes, I am saving my ass from many possible bad scenarios, that nobody can predict but that we all know could happen.

All good reasons to leave.

But I am also preparing to walk away from 13 years of living in a small community where I have felt very much at home. Leaving behind many friends and wonderful people that I have been working and bonding with for years in our efforts to make the island more sustainable. Walking away from my landlord who has allowed me to create my business and a cute little home with a beautiful garden on his property.

Leaving behind many people who don’t have the choice to leave.

I leave behind my lovely little business that has brought me so much personal growth and fulfilment and has allowed me to find my path in life. Leaving the colourful garden that I have pulled out of the sand around it, the mandala I am painting on the wall in front of my tiny house.

Leaving that tiny house and its surroundings, that together with my business, my friends and the whole gorgeous island and its community have been my ultimate comfort zone for 13 years.

I am going to walk straight out of all that, not to return. Not because I so badly need to do something new, or because there is bright future somewhere else.

But because I don’t see a future here anymore.

As I described in My (R)evolution part 6, I always had known that I was not going to stay forever on the island, that at a certain moment, within the next few years, I was going to move on. Most likely that moment would come naturally, when something (or someone) would draw me into a new direction, towards a new destination.

By that time I would have been ready to start writing a new chapter in the book of my life, having finished the chapter “living in Paradise” completely.

Now, forced by a revolution, that moment of leaving has been pushed upon me much sooner than I wished. My chapter isn’t finished yet.

I am not ready yet.

Many things are still in process: small things, like my garden, the mandala-painting, teaching someone how to sew cloth bags. But also bigger things, like the island’s sustainability project and starting to offer personal, individual wellness retreats with the Karma Shack, which would have been an exciting personal and professional challenge for myself.

Many things unfinished, but I have to let go of the idea that therefor I am incomplete.

I have to learn to be okay with leaving things undone. Someone else might do them, or maybe I will get a chance to do them in a different place and time. Or maybe they were never meant to be done after all.

I have to let go of control.

I am walking away from an unsustainable and frightening situation, but I’m not heading towards a perfectly laid-out alternative.

I’m taking a giant leap into the unknown.

I choose to leave, without having a fixed place to go back to in my home country. No home, no business or landed job is waiting for me in the Netherlands or anywhere else. My future is unknown.

It’s a blank page, the story still to be written.

I am fortunate to have many loving friends, in the US and Canada, who have been offering me places to crash. In this difficult moment, they are my safety net, catching me while I’m falling hard and deep. I’m intensely grateful for them.

As a rite of passage coming out of my life in paradise, I will make an extended trip to visit them all, on my way into the next phase of my life.

As sad and heavy-hearted as I am to leave my island-life behind, there are moments that I cannot help but get excited about what’s up next.


Reporting from a country in chaos, trying to make sense of my own mind.

This is part 12 of the series My (R)evolution abut my personal experience during the current Nicaraguan revolution. Earlier and later episodes can be found here.