I posted on Facebook the other day that life was pretty fine, the kids were in the pool, I had a glass of red and all was right with the world. Normal life has been resumed for a month of living in Antigua Guatemala. That is exactly how life used to be back home in Port Douglas before we set off to travel the world. Same life, different spot.
Pool, check, wine, check, kids not in school, check, dad playing with them, sometimes check, blue skies, check, nice house ( a great AirBnb!) , check.
I started out writing this post about how normal we are being. How we’re not doing much at all. By the end I realised that what this post is actually about is how much learning is happening just through being here and how travel, or any exposure to life outside of our normalities, is a wonderful thing. None of this would have happened if we hadn’t ditched our old life in favour of exploring the world.
More on what a fabulous country Guatemala is will follow, today’s post is about life on the road, in Antigua.
What Are We Doing With Our Month Living In Antigua?
We are staying in a gorgeous villa rented at just $30/night and we’re quietly living our lives. For the first time in 9 months we have a routine of sorts. I’m not one for routines, but empty days and kicking around the house calls for some sort of structure or the kids would drive me nuts.
Sign up for AirBnb here to get our special discount, then take a look at the lovely AirBnb villa we rented here ( for 2-4 people). We rarely use AirBnb, but in Antigua it was certainly the best, and cheapest, way to go. The owners were a dream and fluent in English, being American. There IS a language barrier in Central America.
So we get up, get washed and dressed and I throw the kids out of the house to play while I cook breakfast. We all eat together, outside overlooking the pool, big breakfasts with eggs, fruit and lots of vegetables. Yes, I said vegetables, we’re off wheat and dairy at the moment to try to fix D’s rash, so we’re being ultra healthy and I’m dropping the pounds from our USA road trip and cruise ship blow-out .
In the mornings we’re getting through some school work. Written work in the excellent books I picked up in the UK and blogging for the kids. Blogging is covering loads of educational bases at the moment. My 7-year-old won’t read, but he’s more than happy to blog, so, if that’s the way he wants it, that’s what we’ll do. His blog is called Boy Around The World, click the link if you’d like to take a peek. D, now 9 , has decided he’s a food blogger, his blog is called World Food Kid. I’m waiting for them to start making some money and keep me for a change. But the obvious school work isn’t where the most learning is happening, there is so much more besides. Christianity, the Mayans, the Spanish invasion, music, art, language, it’s all going on every day.
Then it’s time to cook lunch, more fruit and veg and eggs or beans, we’re not eating meat at all. Another family meal and then it’s up to them what they do. They can use screens, watch movies, play Minecraft or Lego, swim, whatever. That gives me some time to work on the blogs.
Maybe we’ll take a walk down into town.
Antigua is so pretty, a glorious little town overlooked by volcanoes that intermittently worry us with dark smoke. It’s normal apparently, they just do that all the time.
All that fruit and veg we’re going through necessitates lots of trips to the market, it’s a hike and we lug it all back up the hill in our backpacks. Our Spanish is coming on quite well, nobody here speaks English. The produce market is huge and the fruit and veg is delicious. We’re trying new dishes, fried bananas and plantains, home-made guacamole every day and frijoles with everything.
We wander and explore, we’re always finding little shops, galleries and interesting hidden courtyards. There are endless craft markets and stalls and we keep discovering doorways that lead to more hidden treasures.
On weekends there is music in Central Park. Wonderful Central American musicians with flutes and pan pipes. It’s the sort of park where people just hang out, locals and tourists, to see what’s going on and pass the time quietly. The kids have their own drums and pipes bought from a friendly street vendor, they practice at home.
Every now and again we come across something totally unexpected, like our neighbours here, the emergency services guys, making their sawdust and flower carpet for a pre-Easter church procession. We hung around for a few hours, watched the art, enjoyed the carnival atmosphere, tried the foods from the street vendors and saw the somber but magnificent parade go by.
We cook another meal, maybe watch a movie and head off to bed to read or sleep.
And that’s it, that’s all we’re doing. Normal isn’t it? We’re hardly eating out and we’re not going on any sight-seeing trips. We’re not travelling. But just check out the learning. With almost zero effort, just living our lives, we are all picking up so much. This is why we travel.