Weekly Wednesday Video: Baby turtle treks to the ocean in Nicaragua

While traveling around Central America this past winter, my sleepy friend Mira and I visited the secluded and miles-long Los Brasiles beach on Nicaragua’s Pacific Coast. Located on an island near Poneloya, the place is only a 30-minute bus ride and a 5-minute boat trip away from the bustling colonial city of Leon, but feels worlds apart.

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The only guest house on the beach is the laid-back Surfing Turtle Lodge,  named after the two things people come to this Brazilian-style sandy playground for: the wild waves and the cute baby tortugas. The latter is what this week’s travel video is about, as we were lucky to witness six baby turtles being released into the ocean during our visit. (After the turtle eggs hatch on the beach, the lodge raises the youngsters in their nursery until they are old enough to fend for themselves against the big beasts of the ocean.) To avoid contaminating the little ones with human smells, we had to wear plastic gloves when placing them down on the sand.

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Here’s my turtle – Pete Jr! (The original Pete The Turtle resides in the Maldives, and was named by my 2010 Maldives travel buddy and photographer friend Mariana Keller).

It was truly endearing watching the little fellow battle his way across the beach into his new home (the Pacific Ocean), and that’s what this clip is about. The background music is courtesy of my awesome music producer brother Erkka. The song suits the footage perfectly – is Pete Jr. walking exactly in sync with the beat or what?! Cuteeeeeee. 🙂

Anyone else love turtles as much as I do? They are my favorite animals! Have you seen baby turtles being born? It’s one of my long-standing dreams.

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How many beds have you slept in?

The other day as I was lying awake at night, I decided I should start counting something to fall asleep. As counting sheep seemed a bit too mundane, I decided to try to remember the number of beds I slept in during 2011. As someone who is constantly on the move, I figured it would be quite a few. But I was still pretty surprised when the total came to 73.

(Hotel 25Hours in Hamburg, Germany)

Wow. 73 different beds in 365 days. That’s a new bed every five days. Or a couch, mattress, hammock or whatever it may have been.

Funnily enough, 2011 was actually one of my less mobile years: I spent more than a third of it living in Brooklyn, a bit less than a third visiting family in Finland and a third traveling around the world. That’s nothing compared to years when I’ve been on the move for six to eight months at a time. During those times I probably crashed at a new place every two or three days.

So what’s the big deal about this bed number of mine being so high? Well, for one thing it means I’ve had many changes of contracting bedbugs over the last years. Since I’ve stayed clear of them, I guess it means the world’s bedbug crisis is not quite as bad as we all thought. Phew.

But the real point I wanted to make about my 73 different sleeping arrangements is that it shows that this traveling lifestyle is not as easy as people think. You see, when I tell people what I do with my life (“I travel the world and write about it”), the most common comment I get is, “Oh, I’m jealous! Your life sounds amazing! You’re so lucky!”

Newsflash: More than luck, my lifestyle requires hard work and sacrifices. (I know, not half as appealing anymore.) How many of you could imagine changing beds every five days? And doing it for years on end… probably not too many. Most people like their own comfy pillows and blankets way too much to give them up. And don’t get me wrong – I love a familiar fluffy pillow as much as the next gal. But I also know that if I want to travel, that means giving up some things. One of the first ones is a place to call your own – you don’t want to be paying rent elsewhere while you are out roaming the globe. If you plan on only leading a semi-nomadic life, I suggest subleasing your apartment to someone while you are gone. Either way, you’ll have to get used to laying your head down in a new place every few days.

So where do I get my beauty sleep while on the road? Well, in different places: hotels, guesthouses, hostels, friends’ spare bedrooms or air mattresses, strangers’ couches (who I have befriended on the road, or met through traveler sites like Couchsurfing.com), hammocks, tents and sometimes in planes, buses, trains or even airports as I mentioned in my Quality Hunters blog. Yeah, not quite so glamorous anymore.

My accommodation in 2011 ranged from an outdoor hammock overlooking the mountains in Lanquin, Guatemala for $2 a night to a $350 hotel room in Amsterdam, Holland. So yes, I never know what awaits me! And that’s the beauty of it. Over my traveling years I’ve come to love the unexpected, and I thrive at not knowing where I’ll crash on any given day. I wouldn’t have it any other way right now.

(Zephyr Lodge in Lanquin, Guatemala. At $2 a night, you can’t beat this hammock accommodation for price nor the views!)

(Sakura Hotel in Tokyo, Japan, where the door slams into the bed every time you open it as the room is teeny tiny.)

(Le Méridien Bristol in Warsaw, Poland. Luxury for less: a room in this 5-star hotel costs less than 100 euro for up to two people as I wrote here.)

So next time you meet someone who travels a lot and you are about to exclaim, “I wish I could do that!”, just remember: you can. All you have to do is be willing to give up some of your home comforts and the sense of security that comes from living a stable life. In exchange you’ll get a life full of surprises, exotic foods, colorful cities, tropical beaches, new languages and international friends. Sounds like a fair trade to me!

And if you are ever having trouble falling asleep, I can truly recommend counting beds instead of sheep (as eventually I did fall asleep!). And once you do the math, please let me know what your total is! 🙂 Do you have me beat?