There is an amazing thing that happens to us when we abandon our everyday lives to travel the world. Bonds are made between travelers in a period of hours abroad that wouldn’t have been possible to form in weeks or even months back at home. At home we are on auto-pilot and associate only within the confines of our every day routines. Abroad it’s different, you don’t have that comfort zone available like you did at home and that enables us to explore new and exciting avenues of life. My absolute favorite part about traveling is meeting new people from all corners of the globe and hearing their stories. Learning about people’s lives from different cultures leaves you wondering about all the different ways there are to live this life and that there isn’t just one recipe to spend your time here on earth. It is in this melting pot of cultures that we travelers find a balance and understanding of what life is truly about. It is this collective wanderlust, curiosity, and openness to new ideas about living life that gives way to our ability to connect with others on a different level.

         Hostels are the greatest places to build these relationships because you are literally forced to share everything except your bed, with some exceptions if you know what I mean. I have met some beautiful people from all over the planet but the best group of humans that I’ve had the pleasure of meeting abroad go by the name of, “The Gangster Carrot Crew”, and I couldn’t be happier to be a Gangster Carrot myself. Us Carrots are comprised of awesome individuals from all over the world including; Australia, England, Austria, USA, Canada, Switzerland, and Holland. We all happened to be enjoying each others company by the pool at the beautiful Naked Tiger Hostel in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. We had too many toñas (The best beer in Central America) to count when we stumbled onto the topic of Dylan’s parrot tattoos he has on the back of his calves. Rosie wanted some parrot tattoos as well, but naturally wanted them to be gangster parrots. We got a kick out of the idea of gangster parrots except for one guy from French Canada whom didn’t know English too well (not a Carrot, but in a sense started the Carrots) seemed confused and asked Rosie, “Why would you want a gangster carrot tattoo?!” After all the laughter resulting from this hilarious misunderstanding subsided we labeled ourselves the Gangster Carrot Crew and never looked back. It may have been a dumb drunken series of events, but we knew the bond that just formed was special. So special in fact we all decided to get Gangster Carrot Tattoos to really seal the deal. We were responsible of course, we slept and partied on the idea and it only became more clear that we needed to get these tattoos.

         Only a mere 36 hours had passed since we had officially became the GCC and we already found ourselves in the middle of the city looking for the tattoo artist. After a full day of tattooing, two different artists, and a fare share of toñas 9 of 11 carrots had received their Gangster Carrot mark. It turned out that our tattoo artist had a carrot tattooed on his arm too! It was only a normal carrot but nonetheless it was an awesome coincidence and we all got a kick out of it. We spent the next two weeks with each other sharing shuttles, hostels, and boat rides to both Ometepe Island and Popoyo. It was honestly the time of my life and in those two weeks I made some of the best friends that  I still have today, and even though a year has passed we still talk every day as if we live down the street from each other. It’s these special connections that are made possible by putting yourself out there into the unknown only to find that you are not alone on your journey, but that you are surrounded by a sea of Carrots waiting to hear your story. So many people claim that they want to travel the world but always find excuse to get in the way of what could have been a beautiful experience. Find your window, pull the trigger, and go explore this paradise that too many of us are taking for granted.

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