I snuck away.
Very far away.
An almost silly 30 hours travel far away,
to the remote lake Atitlan in rural Guatemala.
A friend of a friend had moved there, among a fairly well represented expat US/Canadian community. Otherwise, I probably would have spent the rest of my life never knowing about this magical place.
The area around lake Atitlan is a surprisingly well-adjusted mix of expats and locals: on one hand, the old and new-age hippies who came here maybe for a week or two, and didn’t leave, and on the other the amazing local people of Mayan decent. The latter being the kindest and most open-hearted people I have met in a long time.
This was to be a family trip, but for various reasons became a mother-daughter trip of myself and my eldest daughter, now 25. Surprisingly, we found each other’s company delightful almost all of the time. Some things that had needed to be said for a while came to the surface, and we learned a lot about each other.
We flew on points and stayed at an AirBnB, mostly making our own meals, which made the whole thing very affordable – and quite rustic, with an outdoor kitchen/dining room, frequented by nightly visits of a variety of wildlife. Even cooking your own meals becomes challenging when food and water is generally contaminated – a humbling experience.
While this is still a developing country, one could spend surprising amounts of money staying on the lake’s shores, if you’d like to ‘cleanse yourself’ in one of the new-age high-end resort-type hotels complete with reiki, yoga, and other healing ‘solutions’.
But we just hung out in the sun, read, talked, went for hikes through the jungle trails and along treacherous cliff-side paths on the steep volcano sides, and ate – which both my daughter, a chef, and I enjoy.
I don’t think I will take the exhausting journey again, but it sure was gorgeous.
I had a birthday while there, and going out on the lake with my adult daughter in kayaks before the sun rose, watching the sun rise behind volcanic mountain ranges and over the calm lake, was definitely a memorable way to celebrate my birthday.
I sure am happy to be back at my bench now, though, and excited to work with gemstones I purchased from my trusted suppliers. If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you might get some glimpses of what I am working on!