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WAVES had the chance to check in with Holly Neidhart, a recent volunteer who spent her latest surfing trip in Nicaragua. Holly didn’t only visit El Transito, a quaint town in Northern Nicaragua, to surf; she split her time between the school and the sea volunteering in WAVES’ local community programs. Check out her experience below and a big thanks goes out to you, Holly, for making a difference in El Transito and sharing your story with us!

Could you describe your experience volunteering with WAVES in 3 words?

Renewed perspective. I only need 2 🙂

Why was it you chose to volunteer with WAVES?

Traveling is my passion.  I love to experience new surf destinations, of course, but more importantly I want to get an authentic feel for the people and the culture. Volunteering with WAVES allowed me the opportunity to not only do that, but to give back in some way to a place that gives us so much.

Out of our three current trips, Nicaragua, Peru, and Mexico, you choose to surf and volunteer in El Transito, Nicaragua. Could you please describe your normal day in El Transito?

Up at dawn to grab a coffee, watch the surf for a bit, then paddle out.  The volunteer schedule is very flexible so you can pick your times. I volunteered at the school mostly so I was back to enjoy a lazy afternoon in the hammock with my book (and a piña colada) before an evening surf. Sunset was easily my favorite part of the day here, whether you watch from the beach with a beer or in the water, Nicaragua has the best sunsets!

Besides volunteering, what other activities can future volunteers expect to do while visiting El Transito?

Surf!  Or you can also just enjoy the beach and check out the tide pools, or hike the large hill at the south end to catch a sunset, the view is amazing. If you need to get out of the sun, there’s of course plenty of hammocks. Yoga. Just hang out. There really is a wonderful sense of community here among other volunteers, travelers and locals so there’s always new friends to meet at the bar or coffee shop.

Can you share one story that stands out to you / you think about today during your experience in Nica?

One day after school the children were playing a game in the courtyard of the library that one of the other volunteers explained is similar to musical chairs.  She said they make up a lot of games because they can’t afford toys.  At first you may be inclined to feel a little sad about this, but after watching these kids and seeing how much fun they were having and enjoying each other, you realize that this place that has so little, in many ways, has much more… I think happiness can be very simple, we just like to complicate it! Its easy to feel busy filling our days with unnecessary distractions.  Visiting a place like El Transito reminds you to slow down.


Based on your experience, what kind of affect does WAVES have on the local community? How do you feel it is helping El Transito grow?

WAVES is making a huge difference in this community, particularly the school.  The future of the community depends on the youth and their education.  WAVES is bringing opportunity where there is extremely limited resources.

What kind of impact has WAVES made on personally?

This experience reminded me that while its nice to travel the world and to take away amazing experiences from different places, it really is much more fulfilling to know you’re also leaving something behind.  “Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.”  -Ralph Waldo Emerson


Interested in joining Holly and going on a volunteer surf trip to Nicaragua? Check out our trip details here

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