Well, well, well…. you’ll be pleased to know that I made it through the transition process from work to travel without too much disruption from my anxieties and unrealistic expectations! Instead, there were lots of beautiful moments with the special people in my life :) It was an incredible experience having so many of my favourite Brisbane people in the same room for my going away party (and I’m glad they all got to meet the two people responsible for giving me the travel bug in the first place! Mum and Dad, I’m talking about you!)

It was devastating to have not finished the Indigenous Landscape Values report before embarking on my travels. 5 years of work is yet to be shared with the wider world and all sorts of feelings are coursing through me. Have I been wasting my own and everyone else’s time? Am I capable of finishing the tasks that I start? If I ever wanted to do a PhD, do I actually have the skills that I thought I had gained during my time at Griffith? By drawing a line in the sand and stepping away from the project, have I acted with integrity?

Regardless of what the answers to these questions might be, here I am in Guatemala… the travels are underway… and I know I must let go.

Ella Lawton, bless her soul, had organised a friendly face holding a sign with my name on it to greet me at 11pm when I touched down in Guatemala City. Ernesto spoke Spanish while I responded in English and periodically nodded off during the 45 minute drive to Antigua. A hot shower and comfy bed in a private room awaited me. After 30 something hours in transit, it was exactly what I needed.

Antigua is a beautiful city; a comfortable mix of Mayan and Spanish history (a UNESCO world heritage site!), international and local cuisine, smiling faces amid the bustle of local activity, travellers from diverse backgrounds and ongoing rumbling and crumbling of the small city as a result of earthquakes and volcanic activity. A perfect place to start this new adventure. You could happily wander around the small 11 block by 9 block grid of cobblestone streets for days. Although I didn’t manage to do it justice in a photo, my favourite view is looking along the long straight streets with continuous colourful walls of buildings, Volcan de Pacaya in the distance and ‘life’ taking place in between. We have now moved on to Lago de Atitlan (a huge lake surrounded by several volcanoes) where the travel pace slows right down.

Thus far, I like the fact that most locals speak less English and most travellers speak more Spanish that I imagined. The tourist / local divide is not quite as drastic as most other places I have been and already, I’ve met so many inspiring people… why don’t we make more time in our every-day lives for talking about the things we love?

Speaking of love, it is now time for some kundalini yoga by the lake… oh yes, life is good. Wherever you are reading this right now, I hope that you’re feeling the love too :) Buenos Dias

Roman Catholic churches everywhere… the old

El Mercado

Roman Catholic churches everywhere… the new

Football behind El Mercado, with Volcan de Agua in the background

so many different types of chillis!!

The view from our Holistico Hostal rooftop

AMAZING DINNER… Duck with roasted grapes (try this at home!) and just as awesome ravioli (although I’ve forgotten the ingredients… poor form!)

my favourite… an early morning snap of the streetscape with Volcan de Agua in the background

Volcan de Pacaya… rumbling and throwing rocks at least 50m into the air while we were up there!

a very hot little cavern in the side of Volcan de Pacaya

Looking back over Antigua

2 thoughts on “Guatemala

  1. Shaz

    Glad you are on your way Jen, let the adventures begin. Say hi to Ella, travel safe and see you at Shola in July, xo.

  2. Ed

    Looks amazing, and sounds fascinating. Looks like the adventures have well and truly started!
    I shouldn’t worry too much about the report; it’s a shame but I reckon research is just as much about learning and sharing ideas as you go. And if you ever do a PhD you’ll know more about research and project management than most PhD students! Sometimes you’ve just got to go and discover new things.


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