Discovering the beauty of an imperfect journey

So, for anyone who follows me on facebook or instagram, you’ll know by now that WE ARE IN #GUATEMALA. Hash tag, open heart, kiss, kiss, smiley face. You can probably tell I’m kinda excited to discover a new country, by the sheer number of exclamation marks (!!!!) and declarations of love for the beauty of La Antigua, the colonial town surrounded by dramatic volcanic peaks we now find ourselves in.

We’ve arrived in #LaAntigua !!! <3

Despite all the beauty and excitement, however, it’s been kinda hard.

Crossing two international borders, finding accommodation with parking for our heavy-laden vehicle carrying an expensive flying machine; a new currency, new climate and new food; forgetting my pin number which resulted in me snapping at an innocent security guard who thought I was taking photos of the ATM while I madly searched my phone for my very well hidden new pin; a fight with Tyrhone about my firey behaviour during which I considered throwing the whole thing in (including him) and moving to Bali.

Yes, friends, welcome to my world.

It’s certainly not boring being me.

And yet, throughout this storm of emotion, I’ve had this inner knowing that all is exactly as it should be. Challenges are the building blocks upon which I grow and transform, and it usually plays out in this order: fear, anger, melt-down, tears, pray, sleep, realise, laugh, grow, repeat.

It doesn’t make me immune to conflict or negativity or pain or fear, it just lets me know that it is okay to feel those things because they always lead me to the other side – love and faith. In fact, those things are the very creators of all the joy and beauty in my life.

My mistakes and meltdowns lead me to change; to admit where my thinking is off and maybe even apologize to someone. They are my markers that my perspective needs shifting, like how snapping at the security guard probably won’t help me find my pin number.

Buying an ice cold pineapple juice from a friendly vendor and sitting myself down on a bench to calmly search my phone for my encrypted pin number, however, probably will (and it did).

Saying sorry to Tyrhone instead of blaming the stress and the heat and the fatigue and the… the! probably helps more too (and it did). In fact, just as predicted, we were re-enacting our tiff from the others’ perspective and laughing about our ridiculousness by dinner that night.

Carnitas at ‘Los Tres Tiempos,’ a great restaurant serving modern Guatemalan cuisine.

Some people have make-up sex, we have make-up gourmet meals.

La Antigua IS strikingly beautiful. And we have found a gorgeous little place to rent for the month which I still can’t quite believe we landed. It is one of the most comfortable bases I have had in a while.

‘The Yellow House’

The small complex of five apartments.

It has a beautiful bedroom and bathroom upstairs which leads out to a fuchsia bougainvillea-draped terrace with views of the surrounding mountains and volcanoes.

While I have yet to lay my yoga mat out, just taking ten minutes last night to sit out there alone on my Indian footstool I dragged across the world (stuffed with clothes and blankets and whatever else I can find) to listen to the sounds of the running water from the fountain and the birds in the trees and simply breathe was pure luxury.

Placing all my trinkets and books on my very own desk (I claimed it, no contest), with no thought of doing any actual work at it was a true delight.

I have a desk, a desk, a desk!

Our home is located on the outskirts of town, as we were choking on the black exhaust smoke from the buses and other vehicles in the city center. La Antigua is a crumbling, colourful, beautiful town, but also rather noisy and busy in the lead up to Semana Santa (holy week).

We have been warned by some friendly locals not to walk along the road leading to our neighbourhood of Santa Ana at night, which we weren’t necessarily planning to do, but is still slightly disconcerting nonetheless.

So as beautiful as our yellow house is, and it is, it does not come without it’s challenges.

I’m am learning on this journey, however, that all good things come with challenges, and that it is the imperfections we encounter along our path that makes the beauty of it shine brighter, even if it takes us some time to realise it.

So bring on this beautiful, imperfect journey, I say. I’m open to everything it has to show me.

A beautiful, crumbling ruin on the road to our house. It takes my breathe away every time we pass.

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Discovering the beauty of an imperfect journey — 33 Comments

    • Oh Jimmy, don’t give me that image! Yes, a real estate agent recommended Los Tres Tiempos. We didn’t take the apartment she showed us but it was worth seeing it for the food recommendation! Yes, shot guns everywhere.

  1. La Antigua looks so beautiful—the journey there might have been imperfect, but clearly well worth it!

    Also, I completely understand falling victim to the same cycles over and over again. Story of my life really. Just when I think I’ve made my peace with fear, it rears its ugly head and sends me into a tailspin. Maybe I need to get myself one of those Indian footstools so I can learn to just sit with it and let it be?

    All to say, I’m excited for this new adventure that you’re embarking on. Life has a way of keeping us from getting complacent and I think that fear is really supposed to be a sign to us that we’re still alive and want things and keeping things interesting. As you said, it’s certainly not boring being you! 😀
    Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) recently posted..Chewing the Fat with NZ Muse!My Profile

    • Hey Steph, always grateful for your comments! I have found that making peace with the cycle of fear, which always leads to growth is better than avoiding it. It’s a normal human emotion, but many people aren’t in touch with what is going on for them, or think it’s bad thing so they run from it and never get the growth from it. All good things in my life have come from walking through the fear. So even when it feels bad, it’s really good.

    • Hi Kel! We have had the biggest barneys in every country we’ve been to. At the time it feels like the end of the world, but we always find our way through it. It’s hard to see the situation from the other person’s perspective (I usually get caught up in ME) but when we finally do, we learn something about them and ourselves. I don’t enjoy the conflict, but when you consider how much time we spend together and the challenging circumstances, it’s gonna happen! Love you guys and really hope to see you again some time, I’m sorry (for me) our plans didn’t allow for a visit to you guys in Mexico, but I really hope our paths cross again.

      • Its so nice to know its not just us. Being in the jungle and not seeing another person for days has led to a few heated moments here too. I think its pretty amazing that we don’t kill each other sometimes. I’m sorry (for me also) that we didn’t get to see you guys again too. I have no doubt that we’ll see you again. I don’t think we could keep the bromance apart for too long 😉
        Kellie recently posted..My 34th birthday – Getting old, wanting kids and travel.My Profile

  2. We LOVED Antigua!! So glad to hear you’re spending some time there. We talked to so many people that just used the beautiful city as a home base or stop off point for other sites and didn’t explore Antigua at all which is such a shame. We spent about 9 days just in Antigua and loved every minute. I could go on and on about places to see there but you can read most of it on our posts on Guatemala. Or just email me if you’re looking for specific tips…we can do a trade for tips on Playa which is where we are now!
    Enjoy…we’re looking forward to re-living our time there through your upcoming posts!
    sarah recently posted..The Journey From Belize To Mexico or How To Survive The Belize City Bus StationMy Profile

  3. Antigua looks bewitching! I can totally identify with your fear cycle, I have one of my own that’s starting to rear it’s ugly head. Change is scary for me to but it sounds like you know yourself and how ride your emotional waves out to peace. Can’t wait to read more of your perspective on Guatemala. We start our adventure in Colombia in April and I expect a few of my own emotional waves as the date grows closer;)
    Tracey recently posted..The Countdown BeginsMy Profile

    • Hi Tracey, exciting to hear your adventure is starting soon. Colombia is high on my list! The fear is an important part of the journey – it makes the sweet sweeter! All the best to you xxx

  4. Ohhhhhhh I cannot WAIT to read all about your time in Antigua! I’ve heard so much about it and really want to see it… hopefully sometime soon, as I’m as close as I’ll ever be over here in Honduras.

    Don’t worry about Semana Santa, by my very scientific calculations based on my last two Semana Santas, I’m pretty sure the entire friggin population of Guatemala comes to Roatan for it :) If you see any of them in Monterrico, please let me know if they also go in the ocean there with all their clothes on, because they do it here and it’s truly baffling!
    Rika | Cubicle Throwdown recently posted..Should I Stay or Should I Go?My Profile

    • Well I think they actually all on our street last night Rika!!!! Processions are everywhere, which are awesome, except if you are trying to drive to your house after a day spent exploring when all you really want is your bed!!! We were at a beach yesterday, but no-one was in the water… Not a great sign… So, does this mean we are neighbours now? 😉

    • Thanks Lauren! No pain, no gain, right? 😉 It’s certainly shaping up to be an adventure, particularly driving ourselves and pursuing Tyrhone’s flying dream. But all good adventures come with sacrifices, of that much I know! xxx

  5. It looks amazing Sar and you’re so right- it’s the imperfection and what you do with it along the way that allows for growth and change. I can’t wait to hear about these new adventures (and meals!) x

  6. Wow, what a spot you’ve found! I feel much like you on my current journey in India. I have struggles here like crazy, but I have been embracing them because I know they are part of this experience, and this is exactly what I signed up for and wanted. I’m happy every day for making it through a new challenge.
    Colleen Brynn recently posted..Eating Beside A Dead AnimalMy Profile

    • India is totally mind boggling, in the best possible way!!!! I dream of returning every, single, day. Absorb it all, except the water borne diseases 😉

  7. If there were no challenge, it probably wouldn’t be worth doing, right?

    I totally had that same pattern upon returning to Asia post-Australia. Well, actually post-Singapore because really Singapore wasn’t that far off from a western-ish country. Anyway, the heat, the humidity, crowded streets and having to find food again…it was too much at first. It was also really exciting and new and fun…but exhausting. But we’re getting the hang out of it again – only to leave it again soon!
    Carmel recently posted..HOLIDAY IN CAMBODIAMy Profile

    • Yes, the frustrations are all part of it!!! It’s also the reason we are traveling slowly and renting comfortable places along the way, because I couldn’t travel today like we did in the first six months of the journey. It’s exhausting!

  8. Absolutely stunning photography and as always, the writing takes me to places I have never been … though it does conjure up emotions I have had many a time.
    Wishing you more adventures and more peace.

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