How Life in Guatemala Has Taken Me Back to My Childhood

And it’s a damn good thing


For those of you who don’t know, I moved down here to Guatemala in October of 2015, alone, kinda scared and excited. I had no idea how long I was going to last here or if I’d even like it.

I’m still here, apparently I like it a lot.

Guatemala, or I should say, the little lake village I live in, Panajachel, is wonderful, full of magnificent beauty, the people are warm and friendly, the climate is perfect and it has tons of fun and quirky things.

Being down here is akin to being back in the 70’s in my wonderful city of Sudbury, Ontario, Canada. If you’re around my age or older (50 something), you’ll totally get this article. If you’re not, you’ll certainly enjoy ( I hope) the things I’m going to share with you.

“Back in my day…”

Now usually when someone starts a conversation with those words you can expect it go something like this:

..”we had to get off the couch and change the channel on the TV manually. You kids have no idea how good you have it now”.

Rest assured, this isn’t going to be anything like that. We had it good back then too. Life was amazing as a kid in the 70's.

As I observe life around me here in Guatemala I am amazed at all the similarities of the life I knew when I was a child. The other nite a friend and I were talking about some of the completely random silliness that goes on down here and we realized we were describing our own lives as children in North America.

It’s almost like life here is in some sort of time warp. It’s hard to explain but I will do my best.

Let’s go back 45 some odd years or so, to the 70’s. Do you remember any of these things?

  • riding around in the back of a pick up truck, laughing and giggling
  • seat belts were something to hit your brother or sister with, not wear for safety
  • the youngest child sat on mom’s lap in the front seat of the car
  • you played on the streets after dark and went in when you were tired or mom yelled it was bath time
  • you ate copious amounts of junk food and sugar and no one cared
  • going to the store for a small bag of chips and pop was a thing
  • you knocked on your friend’s door to come out and play
  • you drank water from the garden hose
  • peanut butter and jam sandwiches were a thing and a damn good thing.

There are a ton more crazy things we used to do back then but these are the ones that stand out in my mind the most. Then things changed. Over time. We became suffocated and protected and rules were rammed down our throats. Now I get that some rules were put in place for our safety.

The seat belt one, the car seat one, no more riding in back of pick up trucks, and other random ones. All there to protect us. I get it. Kinda.

And then suddenly you couldn’t eat this and that’s bad for you and allergies to food became rampant. It got to the point where you had to spend an hour reading the label before it went in the grocery cart.

Then life got more advanced and dangerous. Remote controls, more things to watch on TV, hand held devices, internet, technology, disease, trauma, tragedies. Stalkers, rapists, terrorists, murderers, pedophiles, drunk driving, and a slew of other things that took away our freedom and forced us to become hyper aware of our surroundings. Who what where when why.

We no longer had freedom. We no longer could relax and enjoy life without 25 rules to follow before you leave the house in the morning. Shit got real. Real scary.

But not here in Guatemala.

This is how they do it here…

  • pickup trucks transport up to 30 people from town to town
  • kids run around the streets til late at night, with no parents supervising, sometimes barefoot!
  • up to 5 people and a dog ride on one motorcycle
  • kids hang out of car windows
  • eat
  • kids let off firecrackers, at random, in the middle of the street
  • walk around the streets with open alcohol
  • no one really gives a shit about anything ever

I think there are a few rules but I’m not really sure. You’d never know it.

Life is simple here. Like it was when I was a kid. No one really judges you, no one really cares. People are just going about their lives, with little to no complaints, minding their own business, happy they are alive, have a roof over their head and have food.

Life here is simple. It’s easy. It’s free and beautiful. It’s not perfect, it comes with struggles. There are dangers. Most of them caused by the weather and road conditions. Not usually the people.

Many times still to this day I raise my eyebrow, gasp in horror and shout “omg should they be doing that?” But they do. And it’s all good.

It’s just a simple easy life here. It takes me back to the streets of my neighbourhood. Where life was simple and fun. I feel alive here. Like a child without a care in the world.

Peace and Love

xo iva xo

Self help Guru|Expat|Website: mini self help eBook series here:

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