- Aimee Hansen
Why Do I Invite You to Guatemala?
I want you to retreat with me, and one of the places I am asking you to join me in 2018 is Guatemala. I could ask you to join me anywhere. So why Guatemala? Well, there's a reason why I've so far hosted 103 women across 12 events right here on Lake Atitlan. If you spend time with me in a retreat, I hope you'll find this. I am often generous with my words. I am very rarely trite with them. So when I tell you I invite you to Lake Atitlan in Guatemala because this is a home and soul home of mine, that it has captured my heart and I want to share that same beauty with you, I don't mean it lightly. I mean it from the heart of me. I would claim to have made a foreign home so far only in London, where I spent nearly a decade, and Guatemala. Since arriving to this place in February 2012, I have returned here again and again as a base. It's not just that I live in this place, for much of each year...it's that, well... This place has come to live within me.
Myself (End On Left) & Fellow Yoga Teacher Trainees, 2012
1) LIFE CHANGE: Guatemala was NOT the plan. It was the start of a different plan, entirely. I came here for my yoga teacher training in February 2012, and my plan was to continue to travel in Central America as I had been doing in South America. But once I landed on these shores, things began changing. I thought I had plans for Guatemala. But Guatemala had plans for me. The journey I took was a different one. I didn't let this place change only the plan. I allowed it to change me. Life has only become richer, ever since.
My "Treehouse" Home, 2013-2016
Me In My Treehouse Office
2) TREEHOUSE LOVE: I fell in love with a "treehouse" that I had been to once and that appeared in my dreams while visiting family. From then on, it was where I wanted to live. When I returned in 2013, I did move into that very house for nearly four years. It was built by the author Joyce Maynard. The women's retreats, and a couple children's books, were creatively born in that sweet treehouse home.
(Fisherman on Lake Atitlan)
3) BOAT LIFE: Boat travel is how we do things here on the lake, which suits this Pisces to a tee. Boats are the most common form of public transportation. However, the fishermen in their gliding, hand-oared wooden kayukas own the dawn hour and their voices echo off the lake to be heard at great distances. The morning chatter of the fishermen is one of the dearest wake-up calls of Lake Atitlan.
(Kayaking on Lake Atitlan)
4) SWIM OR KAYAK BACK HOME: If the views are not enough, and I want to remember what it means to live on a lake, I jump in a kayak or in the water. There is nothing like being level with the water, and in its flow, to remember yourself. And to remember a connection to something greater than yourself. I used to run into a mentor while swimming. Me in the water. Him in the kayak. We'd call it fate and talk for an hour in the middle of this giant bowl of a lake.
5) GUATEMAYA: I love the local indigenous culture here - the colors, the corazones (hearts), and the character. This is Rebeca, my Spanish teacher and now a dear friend, who refers to me as her "estudiante mas chistosa" - her funniest student. I'll take that accolade any day to share smiles with this amazing woman, who has taught me so much about what it means to own our story. I never walk down the village path without learning something here, even if it's simply to slow down. Be present. Be here.
I'd love to share this patch of the world and my heart with you, and much more within the circle. Much love xo Aimee