Alyssa and I

Bumping into people as you travel is always an adventure. There are multitudes of travellers from all kinds of backgrounds living unique lives.

Preparing to embark on a trip, I met a lovely girl named Alyssa Lynn Castle from Kelowna, British Columbia. During my eight-hour layover in Vancouver, I settled down in the airport beside her and, to my surprise, was serenaded. Alyssa was 18 years old and on her first backpacking trip alone. I gave her my information and told her to contact me if she needed anything.

While I was in Costa Rica, I received an email from her expressing over-whelming frustration. I invited her to join me in Nicaragua, where I was heading to visit some friends from Dawson City who lived near San Juan del Sur during the winter. My plan was to relax, write, exercise and live healthily.

Alyssa decided to tag along. Due to past experiences, I was somewhat worried but despite my nervousness, everything has been working out perfectly.

The health kick I added to my life has been enriching but challenging and having Alyssa join me has relieved some of the strain and frustration of it.

I have found a true friend in Alyssa. In all my years of travelling, rooming with and sharing my life with an 18-year-old had not crossed my mind. I believe Alyssa feels the same about me, due to the fact that I am almost the same age as her mother.

However, in a few short weeks, we have become quite close and she is always reminding me that my time with her is cherished.

We have taught one another new things like how to love oneself, how to laugh in stressful situations, how to be kinder human beings and I feel as though I have learned a lot about people as individuals.

She has also been giving me pointers on my music. We are hoping to work together on some songs and perform them on the street, which will provide Alyssa with financial aid and myself with performance experience for my future as a rock star.

Since our arrival in San Juan del Sur, I have watched Alyssa experience multiple epiphanies regarding her life in Canada. The pressures she feels are overwhelming and travelling has given her life tools that are both creating and solving conflicts within her.

Removing herself from her everyday situation has given her a different perspective on her life.

I feel an immense sense of pride for this young girl and I only wish her family could see what a jewel they have helped create.

It is hard to see the forest through the trees. Until you leave that particular forest all together.

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