What NOT to do when volcano boarding… 7 lessons learned from Nicaraguan Retreat

What NOT to do when volcano boarding… 7 lessons learned from my Nicaraguan Retreat

So many experiences, so many moments, so many take-aways. Hard to sum it all up here, however I have compiled a few key lessons from my retreat in Nicaragua.


Simple life is happy life.

The Nicaraguans I met were all lovely people. They may not have much as compared to our standards, or the norm in our consumer world, and yet they are happy. And they practice the art of gratitude.

We really don’t need much to survive. A few clothes, some good food, a roof over our heads, and good company. A lot of us committed to de-cluttering our environment and de-cluttering our lives. Where could you maybe live more simply?

Ditching digital devices can be a good thing.

It didn’t take me long to get used to not having wifi or phone service. In fact, truth be told, I kinda liked it. Once I made the commitment to do a full digital detox for the week, I loved not feeling that constant pressure to be connected.

We experienced some pretty powerful moments. We enjoyed conversation. We watched the stars. We were in bed shortly after the sun went down and woke up to the roosters around 5:30am. It was pretty neat. When was the last time you disconnected?


Doing good feels good.

Volunteering at the local school, built by the resort’s own non-for-profit ‘Waves of Hope’, was a powerful experience. There’s something to be said for getting down and dirty (I even mixed concrete for the first time!). We weren’t there long, and yet we painted, we cleaned, we poured, and we made a difference… however small.

I have embraced this new idea of ‘making waves.’ Creating lasting ripples through the work you do and the actions you take. May you make waves in your own life, too.


Don’t take the temple that is your body for granted.

We spent a lot of the week in activity… from surfing, to stretching, to sweating it out. It felt good (until my knee injury at least!) to be able to use our beautiful bodies for fun and strengthening activities.

Even after the little accident, I was even more so reminded of the fact our bodies should not be ignored nor taken for granted. They should be celebrated, used, and respected.


You really can make your own chocolate!

So we did a chocolate making workshop. Amazing! Real cocoa beans are pretty darn cool. Like a nut, you can roast them, and then gently crack open the shell to get at the glorious looking bean inside. We put the beans through an old school grinder, worked with a variety of ingredients from ginger to chilli to mint to nuts to rum… and then presto! Who knew?!?

These little chocolate balls, although nothing like Cadbury, were quite delicious. And pretty cool that we made them on our own. There’s something to be said for making something from scratch. Something that perhaps you never thought possible.


There’s something powerful about being in community.

Being involved in a community in general, and especially in our case a group of empowered women is just, well, powerful. When I was leading the workshops, and we were engaging in important dialogue, I felt blessed to be able to do the work I do.

One of the participants shared how amazing it was to be around such ‘nice’ and real women. She just wasn’t used to it. And I couldn’t agree more. Through conversation the walls come down, and we find out we all have both our strengths and our struggles. And our highlight reels on social media aren’t always our realities!


What NOT to do when volcano boarding!

So I’m sitting here in an immobilizer, using crutches, after a little volcano boarding accident! Perhaps I gave in to my dare devil ways and thought it would be fun to really try to go as fast as I could down the active volcano. Um, yeah, maybe I should have listened when they said start slow until you get a feel for it!

Life is not a race. We can pace ourselves. I am grateful for this harsh reality check I was given, as it is literally forcing me to slow down, stay in, and check-in.


Simple life is happy life. Doing good feels good. What NOT to do while volcano boarding. … 7 lessons learned from a Nicaraguan retreat. (Click to tweet it out!)

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Carol Schulte

Carol is a published author, has been featured in numerous magazines and podcasts, and is a returning guest expert on Rogers TV. Having lived and worked in 16 countries including Ashrams in India and vans in New Zealand, rocked dreadlocks in Thailand and shaved her head for breast cancer, she certainly walks her talk and brings a global perspective to all she does. When she’s not traveling or speaking on stage, you can find her volunteering as a bereavement facilitator, training for her next triathlon, or practicing her serious carpool karaoke game.

Reader Interactions


  1. Maria Hodgins says

    Such an empowering article Carol. I’m so impressed with what you’re accomplishing and it truly does make a difference to LIVE BIG. When you LIVE BIG and begin to change everything and everyone around you does as well. My favourite part of your article is the Community portion. This year of BIG changes for myself, community and the people i’ve met, helped, and serviced has impacted the life of my kids and myself tremendously that there’s no going back. Being part of a community of such inspiring, successful woman and being able to help one another is a life changer. Thank you very much for giving me this opportunity to voice my thoughts as i’m sure we can all relate when we’re in business for SOMEONE ELSE and not for OURSELVES our voices are silenced.

    • admin says

      Thank you very much, Mary for your thoughtful comments… and YES a big part of living big is GIVING big, giving back ~ and I am so thrilled to hear you are an active part of your community. Congrats an what sounds like an exciting year ~ and cheers to living even BIGGER in 2016! I appreciate YOU being a part of this community.

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