I awoke with a blue sky in my face. Sun felt like sun again and the heat filled every single part of me, the light was every part of me. What a world of strange shapes and colours and sounds, a painting in motion, an ever changing piece of art in every sense, sometimes tragic yet shapeable. Pavement covered in dirt seems like gold, why? The bitterest of tastes are welcome and the sweetest are cherished. Nothing goes overlooked, nothing goes unappreciated. Every inanimate part suddenly seems to breath and pulse with life although it may not have seemed to before. It came alive because you chose to see it is living, ridding of illusions and letting a clear image be shown. There is so much space, there is so much energy, embrace it, it can be easy to forget.
Words can barely describe my recent trip to Guatemala, and I never expected it to be what it was. Through my travels and supported by it’s beauty and culture, amazing people and places, I was knocked down by sickness and brought to life again, met the most amazing people, hiked volcanoes and trudged through caves, saw sunrises and sunsets in places that I will never forget with new faces that have impacted my life for good. Here are some of the highlights and favorite photos of my journeys in this beautiful country, I hope they inspire you to go for yourself and experience your own Guatemalan adventure!
1. Exploring the streets of Antigua
I love colonial towns, and Antigua is one the nicest ones I have visited thus far. Old churches, cobblestone streets and heaps of shops and restaurants to check out in the day, as well as some good bars and live music to see at night. I was lucky enough to spend New Year’s here, where the street were packed and the celebration was on in full swing. As the clock hit midnight I watched from a rooftop as fireworks encircled the entire city. If you don’t get too trapped into going out there are some awesome day trips and hikes to do through tour companies that are decently priced and super fun!
2. The Good Life at Lago de Atitlan
This was a place many friends had told me to visit, and for good reason. The vibe at the lake is not to be missed, a hidden gem in the mountains only accessible by winding roads and well worth the journey. I spent the most time in San Pedro, which is full of awesome restaurants, a couple must-go bars, reputable Spanish schools and thanks to the super ‘naturalist’ crowd it draws, a life saving health food store. Sunbathing, swimming in the lake, hiking, beach partying and lots of good music surrounded by a little family was how I spent my days. Only word of warning, be cautious of taking good care of yourself and perhaps look into Grapefruit Seed Extract if you want to save yourself some trouble, I got quite sick here, and unfortunately it’s a common occurrence. I don’t often stay places for 3 weeks, but San Pedro felt like a temporary home. Want to learn Spanish? Highly recommend Maya B Spanish School. If you are looking for a more relaxed vibe and hella cacao ceremonies, check out San Marcos, easily accessible by boat from the San Pedro dock!
3. Indiana Jones’ing and Jungle Lovin’ in Semuc Champey
Hands down one of the coolest and most fun experiences ever. Pretty broad yeah but seriously, Semuc Champey is the shit. It was a bit of a deathride to get there, stuck in the back of a tiny bus for like 10 hours and fearing falling off a cliff, but once you get there you’ll forget about the bus and let yourself enjoy the beauty and good times awaiting. I stayed at the infamour Zephyr lodge, known for it’s party atmosphere and complete with a bunch of Aussies but worth staying at, even though it’s a tad more expensive than some other accommodations. The town of Lanquin where most people stay (also where Zephyr is located) is quite small but I actually checked out a dope market with some great tamales. Many of the people here didn’t actually speak Spanish but a dialect of Mayan, and being out here really felt as close as many beaten path travellers get to off the grid. Semuc Champey itself is about a 45 minute truck ride away. It’s crystal blue pools and the nearby caves will take your breath away. Talk about jungle love, this place blew my mind. Australia day was pretty fun here too, and gotta love an infinity pool.
4. The Serene Ruins at Tikal
Almost didn’t make it to Tikal, but if you’re going to see some ruins, I highly recommend visiting. Tikal is located near the city of Flores, so most people stay here and take a tour out in the day to the ruins, as we did, with a super informative and enthusiastic guide and a good sized group. We explored the ruins with our group and individually and what really struck me was how peaceful it was. No giant crowds like Angkor Wat, and with the guide providing in depth info about the ruins, flora and fauna, I felt I got the whole time travel experience. We watched the sunset from one of the highest formations, as is has done for years and years over the Mayan Empire. Magical.
So there you have some highlights of some crazy times down in Guate. So much left untold, so much still to discover. Muchas gracias!
What parts of Guatemala have you visited? What were your favorite parts or crazy things you experienced here?
For my first time in California, I was lucky to make it out to some beautiful places, see the touristy stuff and eat some really good food. So here are a couple photos of my little trip to the sunshine state. Check out these spots if you’re ever in the hood!
1. Venice Beach
Strolling down the boardwalk while people watching and taking in the view of the beautiful Pacific definitely makes for a good day in the sun. Full of crazy characters and at least a couple attractions that will catch your attention, this stretch of beach is famous for a reason. The sunsets are also beautiful.
2. Echo Park
This lil’ gem calls for a picnic on a warm day, to just lounge in the park or take a lazy walk around the fountain, or if you’re feeling up to it, rent a paddle boat and laugh at how classic it is to ride one of those on a little pond. They have a nice little coffee place and the food is meant to be tasty as well.
3. Hollywood Boulevard and ‘the Sign’
On top of actually gazing upon the well known white block letters that loom over the hills of Hollywood, driving up here makes for a nice view of some nice houses, and walking in the park itself is a good little hike. There are trails that take you through the hills, and the Griffith Observatory up at the top is an interesting place to check out with killer views. Hollywood Boulevard was just fun for the funs sake. Shoe shops and tourist traps with a sprinkling of gnarly ‘costume’ stores, blinking lights and Zach Galifinakis look alikes. Saw a couple sad Cinderallas in there too, most definitely an interesting place to check out. Get a drink or two but as with most touristy areas, you’re paying for the location here.
4. Calle Olvera and Little Tokyo
If you’re in the city (LA), these are a couple cute spots that you can go lurk to your hearts content, mow some sushi in an authentic hole in the wall or wait in a long promising line for taquitos. Both spots featured unique tiny shops and restaurants and are fun to look around.
Been to California? Tell me some of your favorite spots to check out!!
As I prepare to jet off on another leg of the great journey the excitement of packing the trusty ol’ travelling backpack fills me with joy. The constant narrowing down of everything you think you ‘need’ until it all fits comfortably into your turtle-shell carry all is a task I am well acquainted with and as annoying it can be, it is always good practice, of travel and of non-attachment.
I told myself this time I was taking nothing. I want to be able to hop on and off of buses without the fear of breaking my spine or dreading trekking up any sort of hill with my oversized pack. I will wear the same outfit for months. I imagine my backpack as a lovely floating green companion with a few shirts and a toothbrush, until I realize that unless I’m on naked and afraid, there will be a lot more than that. I’m going for balance here. So here is what I’ve narrowed it down to, quite painlessly actually, the guts of my pack which will hopefully be more ‘I can evade dogs and run fast with this!’ than ‘holy shit my knees are broken.’
One outfit would be light but ultimately impractical and boring. Sitting in an airport freezing in tiny shorts is at least better when you have a light sweater. Obviously it’s easier to pack light when you’ll be in warm climates, but terrain and environment can vary drastically.With clothes it’s best to stick to basics and things that are multipurpose. That scarf? Now it’s a vest..or blanket..or skirt. Scarves are where it’s at.
So here I have:
5 tanktops (they’re small)
2 pairs of yoga shorts
1 pair of leggings
1 sarong (like scarves, can have many uses)
2 hats and 1 wool buff
2 pairs jean shorts
a clump of bathing suits and unds
Not so bad. I can honestly say scarves and my rainjacket have saved me numerous times, pack them! Also in this photo is my travel hoop (need) and hammock. Hammock’s a little heavy but can come in very handy and oh so comfy.
As for shoes, I typically end up with none or well worn flip flops, but there’s always a part of me that pictures myself hiking epic volcanoes and hoping for something a little more sturdy. The boots are a bit of an exception. These aren’t exactly something I would highly recommend bringing, but I love them.
This part is where shit gets heavy. Previously I’ve travelled without a computer ( I didn’t actually own one at the time) but I just prefer to have it, especially if I plan to keep this ol’ thing pretty up to date. Then cameras, cords and chargers are added into the mix. As long as electronics are all kept compact and organized they’re really not bad to travel with. Also pictured here is the ESSENTIAL yoga mat and handy dandy journal. Not pictured here: Gopro and accessories.
Also bringing the ukulele!!!
At the end of it all, I feel like I did a pretty good job this time around. All comes down to weeding out what you really don’t need, which will become apparent when you hit the road. And don’t forget the little things, like passport copies and padlocks, just to be safe.
Hope this was a decent insight on the art of packing, happy travels and be safe!!!
Stay tuned for posts on my upcoming travels and to see where the wind is currently taking me!
a new day
a new pattern
watch the particles collide
so close yet so far
do not resist the sun on your face
it is there for a reason
a changing of a season
doesn’t mean the same for everyone
as all our paths are unique
dancing and interweaving together
so much method in the madness
so lovely that it’s mad
many lifetimes to be had
let it all happen
let yourself be free
there is always more to see…
So I’m pretty pumped to say that I finally did it the other day and purchased a GoPro, a camera I have been hoping to get for a while due to it’s ruggedness and ease of use. In my opinion, everything should be waterproof and I can say I am super impressed with this purchase. My first time using it a couple days ago I just so happened to drop all my stuff in the snow, things that shouldn’t get wet, while the trusty GoPro shrugged it off and kept filming. It may become my new partner in crime. Even though I went with the Hero4 Silver with the back touch screen, I love that you don’t need to look at what you’re filming, you can just point it where you’re looking and the ultra wide fish eye will generally take care of the rest! (As long as you’re pretty close;)) So to test this baby out before it is up in the ranks of diving and cliff jumping, I took a nice walk in the park, in the snow, and captured a little bit of footage, clipped it up and added some music, to produce my first little GoPro video. It’s amateur, but as one who’s not very technically inclined, I’m pretty proud. 😉 More to come!