I’ve never seen the travel-inspired movie “Eat, Pray, Love” but I can say the last quarter of our lives has involved a whole lot of eating, praying, and loving. As we’ve traveled from one Latin American country to another, we’ve had to create a new routine. A routine that’s made life on the road one big adjustment.
It’s no surprise being in nonstop vacation mode leads to eating a lot of very good food. We’ve had our fair share of delicious eats over the past three months and how could we not when visiting flavor-packed destinations such as Puerto Rico, Mexico, and now Guatemala.
However, vacations are often all about over-indulging and we can’t quite do that all day, everyday. What we are experiencing abroad is a lifestyle. We are living not vacationing everyday of our lives. So while we’ve truly indulged in international cuisine, we’ve also eaten many home-cooked meals and kept meals simple and healthy. Last week, my favorite go-to meal was smoothies, delicious fresh fruits, and grilled veggies/meats. I wish I could say most meals we eat are healthy, but what’s the fun in that?!? Tonight we arrived in a major city for the first time in over a month and ended up having fast food nuggets and pizza for dinner. Not the cuisine of choice in the movie “Eat, Pray, Love” but a yummy option nonetheless; and a fact that reminds us, it’s all about balance!
My husband and I have taken inventory on our travels and often scale different facets (quality time, prayer, health, etc.) between 1 and 10. There are some areas we consider a 6 and others a 7. However, when it comes to faith, prayer, and devotion we’re trending at a solid 9. I feel this is an area of consistency that has grounded us in our travels and kept us in a state of constant gratitude.
Since arriving abroad, weekly church visits are standard. We don’t miss weekly mass and I am so proud of our commitment to giving at minimum 1 hour to our faith. We definitely spend more than an hour connected to our beliefs through meditation and plenty of family prayer time, but we also know that if all else feels not enough, we get one hour a week to pause and give thanks. Church is for the most part always in Spanish and while the kids at first felt lost and “borreeedd” they quickly grew to understand missing weekly mass wasn’t an option and required our full focus and appreciation.
This adventure, in and of itself, entails a whole lot of faith and what better way to light the path then by staying connected to our religious core.
I couldn’t imagine living this journey without my husband and our beautiful children. The love we share and nurture everyday makes everything about our lives flow effortlessly from new city to new city. Love is also what keeps us looking forward to the day we return “home.”
Every single one of us misses a piece of home and that usually includes everyone (not what) we’ve left behind. Noah cries because he misses his abuelita and Isaiah because he misses his friends. Sofia misses school, her old room, and our family dog (thank God for social media that allows us to “stalk” her new family and see her oh so happy).
Diego and I miss our amazing families (relatives and work colleagues alike). We are relationship people deep down, so being abroad has meant sacrificing being with those we love and we love a lot of people. We will miss a lot in the next year: birthday parties and graduations, babies being born, and the always fun Quevedo family barbecues. While we use technology to stay connected to our circle, we have also clung to one another for our greatest source of fulfillment.
Today, we are closer than ever as a unit of five. The kids get to spend every waking moment with their immediate family, and though we sometimes bicker, we also get to love all over each other, All. The. Time. The hubby and I have our periodic date nights (kids and us too).
We’re spending more time than ever before enjoying the little things: breakfast together every morning, exciting day-trips, quiet evenings of reflection, and plenty of down time traveling by plane, boat, or automobile. There was no guarantee we wouldn’t drive eachother bonkers spending so much time together, and though we sometimes do, we are actually bickering a lot less in our new routine – a routine that though might seem all sunshine and hammocks – still involves daily school schedules and household chores.
In the end, there’s one thing that’s for certain when it comes to long-term travel, through it all you’ll fall in love more deeply with those you miss, those you have close, and the entire world around you.
Photos: Lake Atitlán, Guatemala Sept. 2017.