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Kathleen Flemming tells Hip and Healthy what happened when she made the decision to leave her high-powered (read high stress) job in the city for a life of yoga and healthy eating in Central America…

Two and a half months ago I was a corporate lawyer in London. I was bored, tired and stressed. Every morning before work, I would force myself out of bed to fit in an early morning swim. Exercising has always been my way of relaxing but I was exhausting myself trying to fit it into my busy lifestyle. My diary was always full and I was rushing from one thing to the next. My work was boring and stressful and I felt frustrated doing something I didn’t enjoy at all. I would be exhausted on a regular basis and that took its toll on my health. I suffered from irritable bowel syndrome at times and when I was really stressed and tired my skin would break out in spots. My weight fluctuated a lot because sometimes I wouldn’t have any time to take care of myself. You get the picture.

Three years ago I decided to qualify as a personal trainer. Health and fitness has always been a passion of mine and I loved the course. I felt inspired by the people I met and I loved taking personal training clients on the weekend. I started writing my own blog on health and wellbeing as well as contributing to several magazines. I was so happy to be involved in an industry I loved and I constantly felt inspired by those around me. However, I felt too nervous to leave my safe law job behind. So, I continued practicing as a lawyer, doing too much and failing to escape the feeling that I was a hamster on a corporate wheel.

Everything changed in March of this year when my boyfriend and I decided to respond to a job advert we saw online. He has always been a keen sportsman and he was equally frustrated with his corporate job. The job advertisement was posted by an eco-lodge on the Pacific coast of Nicaragua and they were looking for a couple to help manage the lodge as well as teach yoga and surfing. So one night after work we sent off our application. The owners responded several weeks later after we had convinced ourselves that we hadn’t got the job. We had several more sleepless weeks and two Skype interviews with the owners of the lodge. At the end of April, we found out we had got the job. The next day I resigned from my job and I felt a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders.

A few months later, I am writing this piece from the bar of the Buena Vista Surf Club in Nicaragua (www.buenavistasurfclub.com). I feel like a different person. We sleep well, we eat well and we feel amazingly happy and healthy. Several mornings a week I teach yoga on the deck which looks out to the Pacific Ocean whilst my boyfriend teaches surfing. I have learnt to cook delicious meals from scratch with locally sourced ingredients as there is an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables and so our diet is super healthy.

Apart from the delicious food and active lifestyle, the lodge is a friendly and social place. We have made some lovely friends and had so many laughs with our guests. The more time we spend here, the more I realise how our physical health and emotional wellbeing are linked to each other. Many of our guests come from hectic lives in big cities and after a few days here you can see their bodies and minds relax.They leave happier and healthier.

Our lifestyle at Nicaragua is awesome. It remains unspoilt and undeveloped. Our local town San Juan del Sur has plenty of quirky coffee shops, juice bars and seafood restaurants and for now, there are no fast food chains or big stores. The beaches outside of Christmas and Easter are quiet and the waves are awesome for beginners and experienced surfers. We do yoga most mornings or at sunset or you can choose to hike up volcanos, sandboard down volcanos, swim in crater lakes, ride horses, abseil, canyon, visit coffee plantations, go fishing or relax.

At times I do miss London. I miss my friends and my family but I have never felt as happy and healthy as I do here. I have no regrets about leaving the law behind and I am so glad we took the risk to try something different.

For more information about travel in Nicaragua visit www.vianica.com. For opportunities to escape the city visit www.escapethecity.org.

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