Central America 2015

3 weeks, 3 countries. Following almost directly after my time in Nepal from September to October.

Nicaragua – one week of wanderlust with no plans. Loved it.

Costa Rica – revisiting and seeing more of this country’s Pacific coast beaches for a friend’s wedding, serendipity, and new human connections.

Panama – visiting old stomping grounds, catching up with old coworkers and friends, some cave-exploration adventure time, and most importantly, to the indigenous Emberá village where I used to work at.

Instagram posts (for now):


Landed in Managua! Got a ride to the city center thanks to a lady that I met on the plane. Her name is Patricia (not pictured) and she splits time between Pittsburgh and #Managua. In 2012 she founded and runs a school for about 45 kids who aren’t able to afford and attend school near the town of Masaya. Sadly her husband just got diagnosed with Lyme disease and the travels and financials this year has been tough for her. Roberto, the boy in blue, is one of the kids who goes to the school. He and two others came to pick up Patricia from the airport. She offered me a ride into the city and even offered for me to visit the school. Might just have to do that in the following few days… Already feels just like when I lived in Panama a few year ago. It’s good to be back in #CentralAmerica. #travelsolo #solotravel #backofthetruck #storiesfromtheroad #gowiththeflow #nicaragua #centromerica #subtledream

A photo posted by Jonathan H. Lee (@subtledream) on


Made a new #friend in #paraíso. #wanderlust #subtledream A photo posted by Jonathan H. Lee (@subtledream) on

Met and had a great chat with these two touring cyclists in #Granada. Laura and her friend (forgot name!) are from Mexico. He started in Tijuana and joined Laura in Guadalajara (if memory serves correct). The guy intends to go all the way to #Ushuaia, the southernmost town of Argentina/South America. Laura makes and sells jewelry as she stops in different places. Apparently, the guy has heard of my friend Lee, who I met in 2013 as we were cycling down the Oregon and California coast together. Lee made it to Ushuaia earlier this year, after being on the road for over a year and 9 months. Good luck to these two! #touring #biketouring #cycletour #biketour #cycletouring #bicycletour #bicycletouring #centromerica #bikeeverydamnday #wanderlust

A photo posted by Jonathan H. Lee (@subtledream) on


#Nicaragua, la tierra de #lagos y #volcanes… #IslaOmetepe #wanderlust #subtledream A photo posted by Jonathan H. Lee (@subtledream) on

#HastaLuego, #IslaOmetepe! #Vroom. #subtledream

A photo posted by Jonathan H. Lee (@subtledream) on

Costa Rica

This is Franky, his wife Elisa, and her son Jose. They are angels in human form. 6:30pm, November 5th. Sunset was around 5:25pm, so it’s fully dark by that time. I got off the bus at Esterillos Este, following the directions from the website of “Holly’s High Tide,” a hostel recommended by Lonely Planet (after 8 days on the road with no agenda, I finally borrowed a guide book!). ‘Walk down the road to the beach and follow the signs to Monterrey Hotel’ – check. ‘Walk 500m past the hotel along the beach and look for the bright yellow fence’ – hmm, feels like more than half a kilometer now. A yellow fence finally appeared, but it looked a little run down and there was no signage saying Holly’s High Tide. I walked into the property looking for potential another sign that that was it. Two dogs caught my presence and began giving me warning barks. It looked residential. I backtracked and kept walking down the road. Another 10 minutes passed and still no sign of a hostel, no more yellow fences, and really hardly anyone to sight. I asked the one person I saw and she had no idea what I was referring to. Thinking that the place must have closed down, and that the one Lonely Planet book I had picked up contains outdated information, I accepted the circumstances and made the next best plan of action – I would set up my hammock on the beach and spend the night listening to the waves and watching whatever stars decide to peek out of the cloudy night sky. In case the rain comes, I would seek shelter at the nearest empty house. Half the houses appear to be vacation houses and are empty anyway. Seems pretty decent to me. As I began unpacking my bags, a headlight with 2 figures approached me. I said hello and it was Franky and Jose, who asked me what I was doing and looking for. I told them about Holly’s High Tide and since it doesn’t seem to exist, I was about to spend the night here. They suggested that it wasn’t safe to pitch my hammock there and leave my stuff out, and asked that I come along with them to their house. I first declined, but they insisted that they can help. I packed up my stuff and walked with them. As it turns out… ((Continued in next comment))

A photo posted by Jonathan H. Lee (@subtledream) on


Wrote the caption below a few days ago. Here’s the photograph we took before departing. My Panamanian family. I’m back in Piriati Embera. A huge mixture of emotions, being here once more. This is the village where I worked with community members and hundreds of volunteers for over a year between 2011 and 2012. Much has changed, yet even more has remained the same. It is difficult to articulate in words right now what this place has meant to me, then and in the years that have followed. At this moment though, I am really enjoying being here with the family that took care of me and helped me feel at home – the Cunampios. Tanto gratitud. #piriati #piriatiembera #embera #panama #family #brotherfromadifferentmother #sisterfromanothermister #grateful #gratitude #gratitud #subtledream

A photo posted by Jonathan H. Lee (@subtledream) on

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