Art Model, Covenant ©2015 Terrell Neasley
“Unless you photograph what you love, you are not going to make good art.”

Three months is a long time to be gone from home as a traveler or tourist. I did the same thing last year dividing my time between Nicaragua (mostly) and Mexico. And much in the same fashion as then, today is much to do about catching up. Pouring over all the missed mail, unpacking all my things, doing a data dump of a half terabyte worth of imagery, and getting your house back in order takes a little bit of time. Then there’s catching up with friends and family. I got to see good friend, Pierre-Luc and his girlfriend, Katie at the theater today briefly while standing in line for movie tickets. Yes. Lot’s of movies to catch up on.

Art Model, Covenant ©2015 Terrell Neasley

But I must say this was a most interesting trip. True to form, I can’t seem to come away from these things unscathed. You saw the stitches in my thumb in my “Midway Through” post, which occurred in April. May saw me with my wrist wrapped up from some sort of pinched nerve or carpel tunnel thingie. It hurt far worse than my thumb did and I still suffer from it to-date, though not as intensely as before. It prompted an early return by about two weeks. With my wrist in so much pain, it was useless to continue on further north in Nicaragua. The plan was to head upwards to the Northern border and hike Somoto Canyon. We had already decided to forego our journey further south. The heat was really pouring on and we were not going to do Costa Rica or Panama. Since I had already been in the south, the cooler north made sense. We stayed in Matagalpa for a full two weeks. After my wrist showed no signs of getting better, we checked online for ticket prices and found that ticket prices didn’t really change at any point during the month. So we booked our flight for the next available which was two days later.

And now we’re back in Vegas! I didn’t get all the shots I wanted on this trip, but I still came back with lots of goodies. It can be a bit overwhelming looking at all these shots I need to go through. Fortunately, I’m starting my edits with shots of some properties I did work for during my journey. My first gig has been waiting since the first day I arrived in country, so I need to get hot on their shots. But I still hold all the memories fresh in my head. I had dinner with some good friends today and they cooked with coconut oil. The house smelled just like the cottage we stayed in on Little Corn Island where we cooked with coconut oil as well. We ate the hell out of coconut, had fresh baked coconut bread delivered to us by our hosts, and made fruit salad, mainly of star fruit and mangoes, from the trees around the property. We spent less than $30 in total on food for a whole week! I can’t wait to get back to Little Corn and our spot on the northern end.

It feels good coming home, but I’m already missing Central America. You learn so much when you travel that I feel it definitely elevates you as a human being. I’ve had lots of people, over the years, ask what I get out of leaving my own country so much. I’ll give you 5 good reasons why you should endeavor to priorities overseas travel in your life.

Art Model, Covenant ©2015 Terrell Neasley

1. Learn New Ways of Doing Things – One way to expand your horizons is to understand the American way ain’t the only way. Other people have ideas too. If there is one thing that I learned for certain is that you don’t need as much as you think you need in order to be happy. I’ve seen it with my own eyes! If you take a look at all the things you’ve accumulated in life…all the stuff…what does it do for you? Trim down the clutter in your life. Start valuing and accumulating life experiences instead of stuff. This will teach you how to be flexible when life throws you a curve ball. These experiences help you to see different solutions. Travel teaches you so much about life.

2. Tolerance for Humanity – When I travel outside the U.S., I see a different culture that has adapted to their environment, established communities, and care for one another. It may be a little different than the way we do things, but you begin to understand your fellow man a little better when you see where he has come from. When you visit his or her home and you see how important hospitality is to them, you want to do the same when they come to your country. Seeing how they live helps establish a deeper connection. And when you understand we are all connected, humanity is enriched. And don’t forget about the other people from other parts of the world you meet while traveling. You won’t learn only from the country you visit. I have standing relationships with people from all over the world. Again…we are all connected.

3. Better Appreciation of How Well You Actually Live – America has long been called the Land of Opportunity. And I believe this is so. But believing this and taking advantage of it are two different things. If you spend your days bitching about how hard life is and how little you make and have, let me take you to a few spots in Guatemala where guys go to work every morning to clear fields with machetes and get pennies for it. But then go home to their families proud to put food on the table. Go ahead, bitch about you car or how bad your feet hurt after work. Those boys down there do work!

Art Model, Covenant ©2015 Terrell Neasley

4. Better Appreciation for the Planet – You also get to see areas of what your planet used to look like before it was deforested and cultivated for urban sale. Want to see something beautiful? Western United States has got plenty sites. But if you wanna see something different, follow me to El Salvador and take a look at some jungle waterfalls! Let me take you out into the Caribbean and swim in some of the clearest waters you’ll find along with sting ray and barracuda! And while we’re out there, I’ll show you the dead reef areas where it has been killed off by irresponsible tourists. You will begin to understand conservation a bit better. Its like throwing garbage in your own home.

5. Broadens Out Your Scope of What’s Actually Possible – But when you visit these places, especially ones not so flourishing as the U.S., you get a chance to witness what these local people do and what they can accomplish with only a fraction of what you have. You just might return home and see possibilities in areas that looked void of hope before. You may even bring back some of those new ideas and cultivate a new attitude that inevitably serves you well at home. You want a boost in self-confidence. Hit the road. Its not near as scary as you’ve been lead to believe.