OK guys, we’ve got a ton of pictures in this post, and here’s why!
Back in October John Luke and I announced we would be traveling to Guatemala in January and were inviting our followers to come with us! Well, this was that trip and it was amazing! We had never done anything like this before, so it was a totally new concept for us. I want to give you guys a good idea of how our week was because we hope to take more of these “Group Adventures” in the future and hope you will come with us! So if this is news to you, or just to explain a little more, we partnered up with a company called “Influence Trips.” They coordinated the details of the trip for us, and the we posted on Instagram inviting up to 50 people to come to Guatemala with us for a week. While we were there we toured and enjoyed the country, and also got to take part in a service day at a school there (I am hoping to get some more pictures from that day if you want to check back, unfortunately that camera is currently lost by the airline!)
First off, I cannot even put into words how incredible this week was. If you’ve ever been to summer camp, thats kind of what it felt like- summer camp, but abroad. We had two men who came on our trip last minute and they were SO fun to have, but everyone else was 15-24 and came by themselves. None of them knew each other prior to the trip and you would have thought they’d all known each other for years! In fact, there were about 5 of them who arrived the day before us and when we got there they were all laughing and joking around with each other that I thought they were a group of friends who came together- but NO! They had all just met the day before. It was absolutely incredible to see how everyone bonded throughout the week and became friends. 3 of them actually got matching tattoos while we were there, how cool is that?! They were all so lovely to be around and just a ton of fun! Yet also kind and I had so many great conversations with them. It was so cool to hear from them and learn from them.
(if you are new to my blog and are wondering why theres a million pictures of a little blonde boy, thats my brother who we’re obsessed with haha)
So here’s a recap of our week!
Saturday & Sunday
We flew into Guatemala City on Saturday. Then we chartered a plane from Guatemala City to Retalhuleu, or Reu as we called it for short. We stayed at Takalik Maya Lodge. Everyone had fun trying out the swing while we stayed there! The first day we visited DAR School where we helped with some projects going on. The students were on break and it was Sunday but so many of them came to see us and it was so sweet! We broke into several groups- some painted, some hung t.v.s, some worked on landscape. Then we played games and visited some of the homes of the students. It was an incredible day of service. I think my favorite part of that day was when broke for lunch and we all sat around, at least 50 of us altogether- our crew and the locals, and everyone was sitting around trying to talk to each other. I say “trying” because we did have a bit of a language barrier with half of us speaking English and half speaking Spanish. It was so sweet because even though we would get frustrated with ourselves because we wanted to understand one another, everyone would just laugh and we’d just keep trying! Lots of hand motions and some google translator! Gosh if theres one thing you learn when you travel to a country who speaks another language, a smile is universal and and says so much.
Takalik Lodge is right next to an archaeological site, so we got to go and see that the first day. After that we had lunch and then we loaded up on the bus and headed for Lake Atitlán.
Lake Atitlán was incredible. Absolutely beautiful! We woke up and headed out on a boat to get to another one of the towns that sits on the edge of the lake. We went to a town that is known for textiles and got to see how those are made. It was SO neat. We played ERS, a card game, all throughout the trip and I think a highlight for me was playing it on the boat ride back haha! We got back to the town we were staying in as the sun was starting to go down and it was absolutely beautiful! We stopped and gazed at the lake and took pictures together 🙂
Tuesday evening we drove from the Lake to Antigua, so Wednesday morning we woke up in the beautiful Antigua. This was maybe my favorite day from the whole trip. We had been on the move taking in all the towns and sites, so it was fun to have the day to wander around the city. We spent a little time at the spa at the hotel that morning and me and John Luke even got in a little tennis game haha. Definitely a favorite moment was sitting in the park in the middle of Antigua and our group passing around some bread from a nearby bakery. That night we walked up to the cross that overlooks Antigua as the sun was beginning to set.
Thursday morning we took a plane to Tikal. There are all these ancient Mayan temples there and it was so insanely beautiful!!! Howler monkeys were all around and if you’ve never heard a howler monkey before (I hadn’t before this), it sounds like a dinosaur from Jurassic World! SO loud and honestly creepy haha, but cool to hear!
Friday morning we did a sunrise hike. Well we did an early sunrise hike and a late sunrise hike and I opted for the later one lol. It was one of the most beautiful and peaceful things I have ever seen. Up on the temple was where John Luke and I found out that John Luke’s sister Rebecca had baby Zane! We only got service when we made it to the top of the temple and all of a sudden a ton of texts came pouring in with pictures of our new nephew. One of the best moments. After our hike we flew back into Guatemala City where we surprised our group with helicopter rides! We literally flew right next to a volcano and could see the lava pouring out- so crazy!! Teagon just kept saying in his headset “HOT LAVA HOT LAVA!” and told my mom “I didn’t know that stuff was real!”
It was such an amazing week and I feel so blessed that we had so many people want to come travel with us. I seriously miss them already!!
2 things to be on the lookout for:
1. I am trying to put together a video to give even more of a look at what we did! Hopefully I’ll have that up on our YouTube soon.
2. We are hoping to do another group adventure next year and we would LOVE to have you come with us!