The Power of Getting Away

cropped-elephant-mandala-prev1255185447ux166f.jpgHave you seen this Ted Talk about the Power of Taking Time Off? It led to this amazing family sabbatical, a year above the Arctic Circle. Fabulous photos, and an endearing story.

The concept is, Why don’t we take five years out of retirement and spread them throughout your working life? What might you gain by stopping and taking time to collect your thoughts?

Great idea, but not all of us are set to take a year off – never mind have jobs or prospects we can walk away from for such a period of time. But the good news is, even a week away with time to escape, to think, to create, to reinvent can have valuable results in your life.

Refresh, renew, rethink your direction! A vacation is really much more than just time out of the office.

Crazy Busy

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How about you?

Explore in Guatemala

Traditional Guatemalan Breakfast.

Here it is, the plan you’ve been waiting for….. The goal: Get away from yourself!

We need a minimum of 6 people to make a group – a nice intimate gathering. But if you have a lot of excited friends we can handle many more – – or for a private group can adjust to fewer people too.

B, D refers to included breakfasts and dinner.

Day 1, Saturday: Get on a plane to Guatemala City. There are nonstop flights from Dallas or Miami (@3 hours). Bring a kind-of empty suitcase… You won’t need to take much and there is so much to take home! You will be met at the airport on arrival and transferred to a small, quaint hotel in Antigua for the night.

Day 2, Sunday: this morning we’ll head to Chichicastenango for market day. Sundays are bustling here, and bargains abound.  You’ll find souvenirs and mass market, machine made items, as well as authentic, hand woven articles. Any questions? Our guide will help point you in the right direction. We overnight in a beautiful hotel in a quiet oasis just off the path of the market. B

Day 3, Monday: Rise early for a stroll to the nearby local cemetery where Guatemalan tradition abounds. Crypts resting above ground are colorful and memorable. After a leisurely breakfast we’ll head to Quiejel to meet up with Mayan women who will teach us what they know about rug hooking with recycled materials. You’ll have the chance to begin a project to take with you; materials are supplied but you might want to bring a favorite fabric with you. This afternoon we’ll ride to Lake Atitlan and the town of Panajachel where we settle into our lake front hotel for the next 4 nights.  Located just off the main street, you’ll have easy access to a lively tourist market for excellent shopping and bargains. B

Day 4, Tuesday: Wake up to birds singing and, if the sky is clear, a lovely ring of volcanoes circling the lake. Enjoy the view as you partake of a traditional Guatemalan breakfast. Afterwards we head off to the Tuesday market at Solola. This market is truly authentic; we may be the only tourists there. A narrow, winding maze of fabrics, fruits, meats, fish, clothing, yarns, and everything else you can think of.  This is a crowded, bustling, and AMAZING market. Be prepared for the local, friendly custom of pushing and crowding.  But, again, our guide is with us to help navigate the scene. Optional visit to the agricultural village of Concepcion, and its lovely church. B

Day 5, Wednesday: This morning you have the opportunity to experience a Mayan shaman ceremony. Come with your ‘intentions’ and questions, and enjoy an hour of calming introspection. Later we’ll go off the beaten path to tour the locals’ market with an expert in Guatemalan weaving. This evening learn how to make delicious tortillas with our friend Carmen – it’s harder than you think! B

Day 6, Thursday: Today we’ll hop a boat for a tour of the lake and its communities. We’ll visit San Juan where we meet the Mayan women who form a weaving cooperative. We’ll learn about using natural dyes, and you can try your hand at back strap weaving. It is every bit as miraculous as it seems! On to Santiago for lunch and local artisans. Here you’ll find bead work, and extraordinary embroidery. B, L

Day 7, Friday: after check out we’ll head back to Antigua where we began. En route we’ll make a stop at the ruins of Ixchme, and another Mayan ceremony to grace our journey home. After checking in at our Antigua hotel we’ll walk the colonial city. Enjoy a farewell dinner tonight with the group and guide. B, D

Day 8, Saturday: We provide transportation to the airport to catch your international flight home. B

If you wish to extend your vacation, we can make all the arrangements for you. You might:

  1. Add one hotel night for another day to simply relax in Antigua…. or
  2. Add one hotel night and hike the Pacaya volcano…..or
  3. Add three hotel nights and spend a couple of days at the magnificent ruins of Tikal.

We can’t wait to hear from you – let’s go!

Escape! Create!

hands creating

I always wanted to be an artist. I am a champion of collecting fabrics, paints, yarn, and ephemera of all kinds. The problem is, I never allow myself the time to fully explore my potential. I steep myself in work, then in laundry, dishes, dust balls and ‘errands’. Really, do I think there is ever going to be a time it is finally all DONE?

Maybe you are like this too. So try this: Escape! Leave town, go to a beautiful place where you won’t have a care in the world. Be inspired by the art and culture of a new place. And with nothing more pressing on your day, you’ll have the time to create. Maybe you’ll weave, or knit. Maybe you’ll paint or crochet. Write. Think! Create a new attitude, a new outlook on your life. Create something to give away or keep forever. And then return home, with all this new excitement clinging to you.

Everything may suddenly hold a different light for you.

Even those dust balls.

Why we Travel

Chairs on a Wall

Really, I get all stressed when I am about to leave town. I do this crazy thing where I feel like I have to clean out my closets, give away excess clothing, vacuum all the hidden corners, and reorganize the book shelves. So silly! But yet I keep traveling…..

Turns out I crave the time away from the things that clutter my mind. There is a freedom there that lets fresh hope and inspiration and new energy enter my soul. Like, who ever thought of collecting tiny chairs to hang on the wall? This is an idea that makes me see everything differently. A week out in the world is priceless!

So when I return home, with proof of Barbie in Panajachel (see previous post),  evidence of unthinkable talent in a weaving cooperative on Lake Atitlan, and the kindness, compassion and playfulness of strangers in the street markets of Guatemala – well, this just makes my life feel full of possibilities, ideas, and goals. And to have fun all along the way!

Such a gift from the world.

Universal Icons: Barbie and Pringles

Barbie at home Guatemala

I discovered early on in my travels that Pringles are EVERYWHERE. I’ve never figured out how or why they became such a universal necessity (believe me, after hiking in the High Atlas mountains Pringles are a requirement to recovery) but I have never been anywhere I couldn’t find a stack of Pringles.

But Barbie? I did not expect to find her draped in hand woven huipils in Guatemala.

However there was no sign of Ken.

Create in Guatemala

Just get yourself to the airport and on a plane to Guatemala City. Then don’t worry about another thing – We’ll do all the rest.

Leave your jobs and tasks behind and step into a world of bright weavings, wood carvings, and Mayan culture.

We’ll meet with Mayan artisans who share their secrets and skills with you. Unravel the mystery of a back strap loom.

Shop in diverse and colorful markets. Start wearing a huipil.

Experience a Mayan ceremony. Refresh your soul.

Bring along that arty project you couldn’t get done at home. There’s lots of time in Guatemala.