¡Todo norte – Hitching Panama to Alaska! Part 4: now I’m a yoga teacher

I’ve said it before: things are getting WEIRD ever since I went phoneless.

The first few days were hectic. This was a month ago. I left Boquete to find my friends in the jungle of Limones, and, because I rely on my phone for everything, I was unable to find them for a full 24 hours. I had to pitch a tent in front of a random family’s house in Bella Vista (in the thick jungle of Panama). Then, by the end of the next day, I gave up and took a bus out to the nearest city. My friends were driving by in a pickup truck on their ONE day in the city (to fill the bed with local fruit), and they picked me up and I spent the next week sprawled across the virgin jungle beach of Limones, Panama.

Week 2 without a phone was pretty normal. I went down to Panama City. I stayed a few days for Carnaval, then I went to the Caribbean coast to try to hitchhike a boat down to Colombia. Instead I found a boat traversing the Panama Canal, so I actually piloted a boat through the Panama Canal.

At the end of our trip through the Canal, we were in the marina outside Panama City, and a dingy pulled up to our boat. It was a friend of our boat captains. “Rhodes!!!!” our captain shouted to his friend. They chatted for a moment, and I found out Rhodes was about to take his boat to Colombia, the next week.

The weird thing was that, because I didn’t have my phone, my brain had completely COMPLETELY changed. I wanted to go to California to rock climb this summer, and see my friends’s wedding, and I wanted to go all the way north hitchhiking by land, which I’m doing!

And then it got weird, because a completely offhand random remark that I overhead in my hostel dorm room – this snowballed into me and a Canadian girl Cat leaving two days later and hitchhiking all the way to David, Panama for Night 1, Quepos, Costarica for Night 2, and Tamarindo for Night 3.

But then we took a day off in Tamarindo, and Cat met a guy and stayed behind, and I left for Nicaragua, and a few days later I took a boat across a lake to a volcanic island called Ometepe. A girl on the boat recommended a permaculture farm / ecohostel called Zopilote, so I went there, and at reception I saw a sign saying “Yoga Teachers Wanted.”

I joked around in Spanish with the receptionists, saying: “Well I love yoga, I’m certainly not a master, but I’d be happy to volunteer.” I put on my winning smile, and yes, the next day I was teaching yoga for 1 hour/day and getting free acomodation and 3 meals/day in return.

To be clear, I can’t touch my toes, and I have mediocre balance. But the best part. Do you know what it sounds like when a non-yoga-teacher teaches yoga? It sounds hilarious. Examples of things I say:

“Ok now we’re going to go into Warrior 2. We’ll do a few breaths here.”

“As you can see I’m not too flexible, haha, for a yoga teacher!”

I couldn’t resist the urge to say weird meditative things during the final 5 minutes of Corpse pose. And I had to mention the rooster that had been crowing the ENTIRE session.

“Try to breath out all the negative, and breath in happiness, tranquility… you are all on vacation, traveling the world, in a jungle in Nicaragua. Hear the rooster crow and just accept him as part of your surroundings.”

Sometimes I steal glances at my students’ faces and see some looks of total confusion / annoyance as they imitate my imitation of yoga. But I think yoga is just a bewildering activity anyway.

I’ve just hiked Maderas and Concepción Volcanoes, so I’ll make a post about that next.

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