The Cerro Negro is situated in the historical city of León, close to Nicaragua’s Pacific coast. This volcano has erupted a staggering 23 times since its birth in 1850. That’s about once every seven years, making it arguably the most active volcano in the world. Yet, instead of ensuring no one gets even remotely close to this deadly seismic monster, the inhabitants of this Central American country have established a extremely fun ridiculously dangerous activity at this very place, called volcano boarding.

The Nicaraguans are an optimistic lot. Turning an active volcano into a high-grossing tourist activity is not the only time I have noticed their optimistic outlook. Two weeks ago I escaped the cold to spend the festive season in this former Spanish colony and it seems that I just cannot get around those sunglasses-selling street vendors. Even if you’ve rejected them three or four times, they will still follow you and ask you to buy their 100% authentic Ray Bans, and every time they’re equally hopeful you’re actually going to buy them.

I have to hand it to them: their naivety makes these people very creative. The country’s signature dish is gallo pinto or, in a less exotic language, rice with beans. They eat it at breakfast, lunch AND dinner. If you’re lucky they add some corn wraps to it and if it’s Christmas you might even see some chicken on the side. But most of the time, it’s just rice and beans. It’s not that it tastes bad or anything, but one wouldn’t normally advertise this particular dish as one’s renowned and authentic cuisine. Yet that is exactly what they do. Believe it or not, but there are plenty of expert culinary classes in Nicaragua offering workshops on how to cook rice and beans.

Now, with the New Year just commenced, let the optimism of the Nicaraguans be an inspiration to us all. In 2017, my glass will be half full and so should yours. If there are people making a living giving cooking workshops on how to cook rice with beans, than you can definitely pass your exams this year. If there are Nicaraguan street vendors that are so resilient that they won’t leave until they sell something to you, you can definitely come out of your comfort zone and do things you never dared before. And if there are entrepreneurs selling volcano boarding tours on a volcano that might erupt any day, you really don’t have any more excuses to put off that awesome start-up idea you’ve been postponing for ages now.