Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

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Friday, October 23, 2015

The Refined Art of Doing Nothing

My husband and I recently returned from a whirlwind trip to the US for a son's wedding. It was refreshing to see friends and family, rewarding to shop at Dillards for designer clothes at 65% off, fun to drive everywhere and pop in and out of convenience stores for 2 for 1 hot dogs and giant cups of fountain soda, exciting for my husband to realize he's still a master behind the wheel in traffic.

Back in Panajachel, we took a deep breath and slept like babies, wakened by the chorus of tropical birds welcoming the dawn. I easily and quickly fell back into the routine of my simple life:

Washing clothes by hand and hanging them on the line to dry.
Sipping hot water with lemon while seeing the sun play on the drifting curtains.
Watching the butterflies and hummingbirds taste our garden flowers.
Weaving my way among the honey bees to pick basil, glad I didn't get stung.

In the States we were constantly on the go, meaning "in the car". We bled money. We couldn't sleep longer than 5 or 6 hours a night. There was no time for naps. There was no time to do nothing.

Although happy to have enjoyed precious moments with loved ones, at the end of it we returned to Guatemala exhausted and broke.

It's good to be home.


  1. Ahh, so now Guatemala is home - that's sweet, Karen. I love the idea of a simpler life.

  2. Your life sounds like a vacation I'd like to take. We do go-go-go, don't we?

  3. That pace seems like an impossible reality. I can understand wanting to get back to it.

  4. Hi, Karen,

    How sweet that you already feel Guatemala is home.... There is nothing more lovely than to appreciate nature and the simple things in life. I am living your former life and can only imagine how wonderful it must be to fall asleep to singing birds and buzzing bees instead of sirens wailing all hours of the day and night.

  5. We love to travel because , after, we love coming home. It sounds like you had the typical vacation, enjoyed the moments, family, little sleep, laughed, spent money and now you need to recoup:)

  6. When you're in that 'go-go' state you really don't realize it or think about it. It's when you have the opportunity to step back from it that you finally see how crazy our lives have become. Simpler is so much better for our health and well-being.

  7. Right now, that sounds absolutely wonderful!

  8. Your simple life is very enticing right now. In London, though we don't drive, we're always on the go, on buses and trains. I've recently given up my day job to write full-time (apart from a small magazine editor's job), even so, I don't seem to get any time just to enjoy life. Oh well...

  9. That's so true! Even though I live in the country and don't have the bustle of city life, there's always some big project to complete.

    I'll admit, it is nice to slow down from the life we used to have though.

  10. First-- MAZAL TOV for your son's wedding!
    You have found a way to live in the moment in a place where the pulse is calmer, and you can hear it.

  11. Congratulations to your son and his wife. I agree, life here in the States is more than a little busy, with way too much to do and far too much money getting spent all the time. It seems we ought to cut back on that, but I'm not sure how to go about that, other than turning off the faucet and leaving the car in the garage. It's nice that you have found a wonderful place to live where life sounds so much simpler. Your home sounds positively delightful :)

  12. Back home in Guatemala... I'm so happy that you feel that way. You have made the adventure long term. Congratulations on that Karen. Also, congrats on the marriage of your son.

  13. Hi Karen - I can believe you .. but I'm glad you had such a happy time with family and friends, and seeing another of your sons wedded off - I bet the return home is bliss ... sounds it! Cheers Hilary