The Simple Life: Why I Went and Never Came Back

A short trip to Nicaragua turns into a long-term love affair

Alexis—Nicaragua seems like the place to be.

Yesterday I spoke with Laura, who can't get enough of the Maderas surf. Today I am interviewing India Reinartz. India is an old pal of mine originally from Vancouver Island who now lives in San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua, where she runs Papaya Wellness, a retreat that offers surf and yoga immersions. She also has a studio in town called Papaya Grove where she teaches yoga to her neighbours and friends.

When I see her updates on Facebook, I am always blown away. Her tanned face and serene smile are a jolt of inspiration and I always wonder, "What made a girl from Victoria, B.C. create a life somewhere completely different?" Let's find out why she does what she does.

Meet India

Alexis: Okay, so let's jump right into it. Tell me how you got into surfing?

India: I began surfing on Vancouver Island when I was 15 in little spots close to my hometown of Victoria–places like Sooke and Sombrio. As I got older I began regularly visiting Tofino, where I became serious about it. By 18 I was completely hooked.

Alexis: After high school, what were your next steps?

India: I went traveling and took my surfboard with me. I was drawn to Central America because I wanted to learn Spanish and I heard the surf was amazing. After traveling to many different spots, I settled in Nicaragua. I freelanced for 3 years as an adventure and surf guide before settling here permanently.

Alexis: How did you begin your journey with yoga?

India: I started doing yoga in Victoria with my mom at a young age. She would take me to our local recreational center to get our bend on (*editor's note: your mom is awesome). I have been practicing ever since. It was just a part of my life, but I never considered instructing. I then decided to do a teacher training called Yoga Lion in Nicaragua a few years ago, more with the intention of self-discovery and complementing my surfing rather than actually teaching. It was after I completed this training that all of my friends, neighbours and surf buddies in Playa Gigante started asking me to instruct classes. The rest, as they say, is history. I now have a studio in town called Papaya Grove.

Alexis: What are the things you appreciate about living in Nicaragua versus Canada?

India: Simplicity. It's not about needing anything - the life is basic and so, so sweet. The feel of consumerism is a far away notion here. The locals are really LIVING life and it inspires me every day - it has taught me a whole new level of appreciation. It is an incredible community.

Alexis: What are some things you miss about Canada?

India: It is WAY easier to get things done–things go extremely slowly here. Even the most simple errand can be challenging! Also, I love the openmindedness and progressiveness of Vancouver Island. Everyone is open to recycling and health. I miss my friends like crazy. I'm hoping to come home for an extended visit this summer. I want to promote my business and also get a good visit in with the people I love.

Alexis: You've already achieved so many amazing things. What is a long-term goal you are working on now?

India: My ideal long-term goal is to live half the time in Nicaragua and half the time in Victoria. I'd also like to expand Papaya Wellness outside of Nica too. There are so many incredible places in this world for surf, yoga and adventure!

India is a great example of someone living a big, juicy life. If you want to learn more about her retreat Papaya Wellness, check it out here. When you fall asleep each night, what is your dream life? Go find it!

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