The more I’ve travelled in the past 5 years, the more I’ve wondered if I’ll ever find my perfect place as a digital nomad. That to me, is a place with incredible natural beauty, good wifi, far enough from civilization yet with a diversity of food that keeps my tastebuds salivating, culturally immersive. There is also that indescribable factor, that feeling of being there, not wanting to be elsewhere. For a restless soul like mine, that feeling is rare. I first lay eyes on Lake Atitlan in 2014, on my first trip to Guatemala. Even on a rainy evening, as my bags and I got drenched on the ferry along choppy waters, I gaped wide-eyed at the three volcanoes – San Pedro, Atitlan and Toliman – that imposingly and protectively loom over the lake. I spent a blissful week in my eagle’s nest, a solar-powered studio in San Marcos La Laguna, detached from civilization and observing life in my little Mayan village, playing basketball with Mayan boys and girls, hiking in the surrounding mountains (Also …
Airbnb has changed the way I travel. Instead of pouring hours of research into finding unique accommodations during my Central America trip, I decided to rely on Airbnb and found private islands, organic farms and artistic, off-the-grid homes in the lap of active volcanoes – all at prices I could afford!
It was almost midnight when I knocked on the door of a humble yellow house, hours after the tiny village of San Jose had tucked in. Below, lake Peten Itza glowed softly in the moonlight.
I was a bundle of nerves before I left NYC for Guatemala. I had read enough stories about how unsafe it was, hadn’t travelled solo in another country for a while, and Central America just felt like a world away. My fears were gradually alleviated when I landed here, realizing how laid back the locals are, and in some ways, how much more organized travelling here is than many developing countries I’ve been to.
In my first tryst with Latin America, I’ve found myself joyfully lost amidst the cobblestoned streets and quaint colonial houses of Antigua in Guatemala. I feel like I’m still in a dream, as I gaze out at the surrounding volcanoes while lying on a hammock from the rooftop of my bohemian apartment. I’ve had conversations entirely in broken spanish, indulged in hand-rolled corn tortillas stuffed with frijoles (black beans), sipped some of the world’s finest coffee, marvelled at the colourful traditional dresses worn by many Mayan women, and well, quite simply fallen in love.