Last week was one of the most exciting and life changing experiences. For my spring break, I decided to take a random excursion to a country I had never been to (and never learned anything about). My friend had already booked a flight so I decided it would be fun to tag along with her to Guatemala. We went into the trip with no plans except for our lodging accommodations and it was the best decision I’ve ever made. I might be addicted to the backpacker lifestyle now and I may or may not be planning a solo adventure for the summer time (destination TBD).
Before we even got to Guatemala, we made some friends in the El Salvadorian airport. We met a group of musicians/dentists from Pittsburgh who were coming into town for a mission trip. They were nice enough to let us hitch a ride with them from Guatemala City into our first destination: Antigua.
While we were in Antigua, we explored the city and did some awesome shopping. We toured a coffee farm and got to sample some. That night we found a bar that offered free salsa dancing lessons and I met a man who grew up in Guatemala but lived in my hometown of Fredericksburg, Va for two years! He treated me and Shannon to a night out with his friends. Although there was a language barrier between most of us, it was so much fun to make friends and share a new experience with them. Since I’m a huge fan of cooking and learning about culture through cuisine, we took a cooking class and I was able to make a completely vegan Guatemalan dish. It was delicious and I can’t wait to make it again at home.
After saying goodbye to Antigua we traveled north to Lake Atitlan where we stayed for 3 days. The lake is enormous and surrounded by volcanoes. Each little village on the edge of the lake has its own personality and we visited a few places while we were there. We stayed in San Pedro (known as the party town) which was home to many European and American expats looking for a relaxed way of life. While I can see the appeal of a longterm travel stint away from work and responsibilities, I do enjoy my day to day American luxuries (like being able to flush my toilet paper).
We visited San Marcos several times which is another small village known for being the hipster town. Shannon and I booked massages and also had a chakra alignment treatment while we were there. At the time, I was in the throws of a pretty terrible cold and I really felt better afterwards. I can’t say that it cured my cold but it did help me release a few emotional issues I’ve been struggling with and I genuinely felt my mood and my cough improve for the rest of the week.
The rest of our trip was spent shopping and meeting fellow travelers. We made some new friends from the states and brought home some incredible souvenirs. I got a handmade hammock that I cannot wait to put up in my yard now that warm weather is on its way.
This experience was eye opening for me and I feel like I’ve just discovered a whole new window into the world. Although my bank account needs to recover a little bit, I have my eye on a few different trips after my summer session ends for school. I really can’t wait to see what the next adventure will bring me.