Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

“Reading and writing are acts of empathy and faith. Guard that trust carefully — in this rapidly changing business, it’s the only sure thing.” ~Erin Keane
"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown

"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it."
~Jesse Stuart

"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

End of Year Reflections and a Really Big Change

One reason I love blogging is feeling connected to a larger community of writers. Exactly why I started this blog 4 years ago, and why I titled it "Coming Down the Mountain."

As writers, we must seclude ourselves for long lengths of time to get the work done. To me, it's like being on a high mountain away from people. And then it's time to come down to re-enter life, because after all, life fuels the writing.

The past year I've felt the desire to "get back on that mountain." Not just with the writing itself but by providing myself with an environment to better support my creative nature. I craved such an environment.

If my fondest dream were granted, it would be to live in the south of France or an Italian cottage and write full-time. To get out of the Western suburbs where we've been for so long-- a wonderful place to raise a family but too full of distractions to suit my current needs.

Of course, I knew it was an impossible dream. My husband and I raised a large family on one income--his-- and now we run a publishing company: neither of which point the way to wealth and prosperity.  No way could we escape to the south of France.

But if there's one thing I've learn it's that dreams do come true. Sometimes they're tweaked a bit to fit the circumstances-- in which case they often turn out better than imagined.

In January, my husband and I will be moving to Panajachel, Guatemala, where our daughter and son-in-law are preparing to open a small resort hotel. Bruce and I will continue to operate WiDo with the assistance of our staff in Salt Lake City and Houston. And we will become part of the vast expat population migrating to Central America from the US and Europe, seeking a simpler lifestyle where one can live well on less.

Most of all, I am excited to leave behind the traffic and noise and shopping centers and constant coming and going of the suburbs where we now live, and get back to that "mountain." We won't even have a car. We won't own a home. I may not have a dishwasher. Or a cell phone. There's no Costco.

We will, however, have the Internet. Thankfully. WiFi allows us to continue working for WiDo and to stay connected online and to Skype with family members, while we live on a third of what it costs us to manage in the States.

And giving up so much will give me what I really want: the kind of environment and schedule I crave to write more books. A year ago when I mapped out my year and wrote out my New Year Resolutions, I never imagined all this was in store for 2014.

My new goals will be very much like they were last year (lose weight, exercise more, eat less sugar, write another novel, be nicer to people) only set in a different locale, even a different country, with one stand-out addition: Become fluent in Spanish.

38 comments:

  1. Spanish is a lovely and easy language to learn - I found it much easier than French. This is such a wonderful new adventure in 2014 - Happy Trails Karen.

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  2. How wonderful for you and your family! Good luck with your move and I look forward to reading about your adventures from Central America.

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  3. I am so happy for you! This is the most exciting adventure I'd heard from anyone in the blogosphere yet. Congratulations!!

    You'll have so much to blog about. I hope you'll share some of the things you've learned in your new culture. I'd love to hear more.

    Happy New Year, Karen!

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  4. Sounds fun and I look forward to reading about your new adventures. That being said, all a writer really needs is ass to chair. No matter the location, ass to chair, gets the work done.

    Cheers and boogie boogie.

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  5. Karen, you're about to embark on such an amazing new adventure. Being a bit selfish, I hope you'll share your adventure with us through your blogging. I can't image making such a drastic change. Wishing you and your family a safe and Happy New Year and a safe trip on your new journey.

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  6. Wow, that really is a huge change, Karen. Hubby and I went to Guatemala for our nephew's wedding last year and it is a beautiful country. The people are beautiful as well, but you're right. It might as well be a different planet in terms of lifestyle. Best of luck to you in this exciting adventure.

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  7. How exciting. Best of luck with all the changes!

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  8. Wow, that will be a huge change for you! Your life will never be the same. Too bad we can't throw you a party before you go.

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  9. Sounds very exciting. Good luck in Guatemala!

    mood
    Moody Writing

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  10. Wow, how exciting! And so much warmer than Utah, but no dishwasher? hmmm! :) Wishing you and your hubby all the best in 2014! Cheers. cher!

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  11. You lucky woman!! Enjoy your mountain (and best don't tell us exactly where it is, or you'll be isolated no longer!!)

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  12. Good for you, Karen and Bruce! So happy for the two of you. May the muse find you on that "mountain top" and never leave you alone or lonely! Sending you both all of my love and well wishes!

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  13. Wow, what an amazing adventure! Best of luck!

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  14. Wow!!! I can't wait to read all about it and see pictures! That is really a change!

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  15. Hi Karen - that is amazing and such a brilliant decision .. it'll such a challenge, but so much fun and how lovely to be with your daughter and son-in-law helping them with their new project.

    This is one wonderful change .. and as Terri says .. I can't wait to read all about it and see your photos .. Happy Happy New Year .. cheers Hilary

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  16. This is exciting and scary and crazy : ) But the little that I know about you tells me you'll shine through it all! Amazing!!

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  17. Caren You really should come up the mountain to Heber Valley and especially to the lovely town of Midway. Many writers and General Authorities have homes up here for the same reason you and Bruce are moving to Guatemala...to escape the hustle and bustle down in the Valley. I love it here...and I don't have to learn Spanish (although I wish I knew it better when I speak with a daughter-in-law from Mexico).
    I am sure you will find Guatemala a wonderful place to live.

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  18. Wow! Just wow! A little envious, perhaps, but exceedingly happy for you and your new life!

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  19. Wow! Sounds absolutely fabulous. Wishing you a smooth transition!

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  20. I wish you much luck and happiness

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  21. Wow, what a big change, Karen! I'm impressed. Good luck with your move. If you need help with Spanish, I'm here.
    Have fun.

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  22. Moving countries is an enormous change. Language, culture, way of life. Everything is different. I still remember it after all these years. It's challenging and exciting. Good luck! ¬Miriam

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  23. Congratulations!!!! That is so awesome. I'm envious and so excited for you. I have that same dream, find more quietness, it is my goal for 2014. I can't wait to read and hear more about your adventures. Cheers to change, Karen!!!

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  24. i hope you have fun on this new adventure, and that you adapt quickly to your new lifestyle. :)

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  25. Exciting! delighted for you, and it just shows that sometimes dreams come true, even when they seem completely out of reach. We should always put our dreams "out there", up with the stars, and let the universe decide. Not limit ourselves.
    Learning Spanish is so exciting! 2 of my kids studied it at school, and both loved it and found it easier than French. I think it's a beautiful language, very romantic. You could always then use it to hang out in the Pyrenees (Spanish side!).
    Happy 2014 Karen, i hope to be around blogger some more this year to read of your adventures.

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  26. This is super- everything: super wonderful, super challenging, super awesome. I mean the last as awe-inspiring, because what you are doing in middle age is something younger people do with little weight. But yours is a weighty decision.
    I wish you and Bruce deeply rewarding life changes, and much success with your permanent resort-living.

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  27. HOW EXCITING KAREN!!!!

    You are such a lucky woman. Experiencing something so cool after years of suburbia!

    And don't worry about your weight... it will come off without even trying. Food in other countries is FAR healthier than ours in the states. No additives and chemicals. Natural food. Fresh fruits, veggies, and meats with no hormones added.

    When I was in Colombia for three weeks, I lost five pounds without even trying because the food is so much more organic.

    I am so THRILLED for you new adventure. I know you are ready for this new challenge. I can't wait to hear more about it.

    PLEASE keep us posted...

    Sending you a BIG cyber hug! All the best on your new life change!

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  28. I'm in awe of your courage in making so many changes. Good luck.

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  29. Oh... my... goodness! How wonderful! Best of luck with everything and Happy New Year!

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  30. Wow! That's pretty exciting. Good luck with the move.

    I, too, would love to live in the south of France!

    Happy New Year!
    Mary Montague Sikes

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  31. Oh wow, how incredibly exciting! And scary. Good luck to you! I hope it's everything you want it to be, and I look forward to hearing about it.

    The Warrior Muse

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  32. Oh my gosh, that's amazing! Can't wait to hear about all your adventures there. ;)

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  33. How exciting ! I adore change and it seems you've been wanting change for sometime. I wish you all the best.
    I'm in Spain at the moment and will be taking Spanish three times this week. Fun!

    Happy New Year !

    Denise

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  34. Oh KarenG!!! Guatemala! Oh wow!!! What a journey, what adventures! How utterly fabulous! Awwwww I am totally envious! LOL! Yay and jolly good for you!! Wishing you and yours an totally fantastic and amazing 2014! Ole and all that! LOL! Oh wow!!

    Take care
    x

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  35. How exciting! Best of luck in your new life! I know you will rock it. :)

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  36. Wow! That is so exciting Karen!
    When you make changes, you go all the way...
    I wish you the best on your adventure. I'm sure it's a bit scary for you, but how exciting!

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  37. Wishing you all success! As you know, I left the UK for eight years but now have returned. Being an expat is a huge adventure and one I will never regret. Enjoy your dream!

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  38. Wow! What a change! Very exciting though...such an adventure. Will you still be in publishing? I'm looking for a publisher. I read your next post, and I, too, have seen a decline in blog posts. People are writing less often. I've been blogging for 4 years too. I just can't get into the twitter thing. Seems to self-absorbed to be letting the world know what you're doing every minute!

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