Jackie George Talks Living and Working the Dream Lifestyle in Nicaragua
So Jackie, you spend a lot of time living in Nicaragua? What’s life like there?
There are so many beautiful things about living in Nicaragua. First and foremost, the waves are really good a lot of the time. The lifestyle is slow paced, and we tend to live life with the rhythms of nature. I wake up with the sun, go to sleep early, and pretty much always know what the tides and winds are doing. The weather is always warm, and the people are too. I love that I can have lots of animals (two dogs, a cat, a shoat (sheep/goat), chickens, geese, and three horses) and can take a nap everyday if I want to.
You are also a partner in the very successful company Surf With Amigas. Can you tell us a little about what that’s all about?
Holly and I, along with our awesome team, run week-long surf/yoga/adventure retreats for women all over Central America. We are based in Northern Nicaragua, but have expanded to include Costa Rica, Panama, El Salvador, and a few other locations in Nicaragua to our schedule every year. I love it. As much as I love teaching people to surf, it goes far beyond teaching people how to ride waves. I love getting a group of badass women from all over the world together to share in a life-changing adventure out of their comfort zones. From being out in the ocean (sometimes in pumping surf), to spiritual experiences in yoga classes, to racing horses down the beach, to climbing active volcanoes, to ice cold beer at sunset, I’m constantly asking myself how I got so lucky to call what I do “work.”
What are your thoughts about the current situation of women’s surfing?
Honestly, I don’t follow professional surfing too much. I do know that the pro girls these days are absolutely killing it and it is so fun to watch. I do also feel like more and more women are taking on surfing as a hobby, and I, obviously, support that. It is so amazing to see more girls all over the world in the water, using surfing as a tool for empowerment. It would be nice if professional women surfers could be paid as much as the boys, and if the industry didn’t have to be so overly sexualized, but overall, I’d say women’s surfing has come a long way. When I see women surfing in burkas in the middle east, or local girls in our community in Nicaragua catching waves along side the boys, or the chicks that are pushing the limits with big waves, it’s hard to focus on the negative sides of the current situation of women’s surfing.
You spend a lot of time in the water. What are your thoughts on nutrition? How do you eat to stay active and replenished?
Food is fuel. I love to eat and eat a lot. We joke that during our retreats the schedule literally revolves around food. It’s like: activity/food/activity/food/
Favourite thing about being a surfer?
Um…. surfing! Sometimes I wish I didn’t fall into the category of “surfer.” I definitely never liked surfing because I thought it was cool. Surfing is everything to me. It’s fun, exercise, meditation, play time, a way to pass time with friends and family, and it’s what I do when I don’t know what else to do with myself.
What do you enjoy the most about your lifestyle in Nicaragua?
One of the most interesting parts of living in Nicaragua has been watching the community develop before my eyes. We live in a very rural, beach community that has been introduced to tourism within the last ten years. Every year, more and more people come down to live, more businesses open, and more tourists are around. With tourism as the driving force of the development of a community, there are can be both positive and negative repercussions. Sometimes I feel like we are all partaking in an anthropological study of community evolution. Overall, the maturation has been positive over the years. We are lucky to have such amazing people around, that have sustainability and the betterment of the local community in mind when operating their businesses. I have seen so many places around the world become carelessly transformed as a result of big tourism business coming in with a “fast and furious” attitude. Our community is quite the opposite, and has really evolved into a special place.
Any advice for traveling female surfers?
Put your iPhones away, drink lots of water, wear sunscreen, wake up early when the surf is good, and respect the locals. Have lots of fun because YOLO.
If you want to follow suit and surf with like minded ladies in Nicaragua check out www.surfwithamigs.com