Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Antigua, Guatemala: On a Holiday or Just a Different Office Space?

Antigua, Guatemala. April 2016.

I had an ambitious but, I thought, realistic agenda for my month in Antigua:
  • Spanish classes for four hours every morning, Monday through Friday, for four weeks;
  • Take dance lessons; 
  • Go to live music venues in the evenings; 
  • Climb a volcano maybe; 
  • Go to Lake Atitlan for a few days; 
  • Do some remote work; and
  • Embed myself to some extent in the social circles of Guatemalans. 

My original mindset was: I am on a vacation, during which time I will also study some Spanish and do some work.

At a certain point in my stay, in order to attain a healthy perspective, I had to change my mindset to: I am working in Antigua for a month, studying Spanish in the mornings, and when I have spare time, I will do vacation-y things.

I had to change my mindset in order to let go of resentment.

My remote work was consuming much more time than I had anticipated. In one sense, it was good because billable hours = income.

Unfortunately, a moving assembly line of work-related challenges, large and small, also ate a lot of my time. Often, the challenges required that I wait for responses from people while they managed (or not) the ball that was in their court. Although waiting demanded no action on my part in any given moment, the non-action of waiting sucked a major percentage of my brain's CPUs, which dragged down all of my brain's apps. Apps devoted to my thinking about and planning and doing fun stuff.

Changing my mindset changed my expectations, and therefore made it easier to achieve serenity. And have more fun.

Antigua, Guatemala. April 2016.

I re-thought my original agenda, keeping some items on board and tossing others into the sea.

For example, instead of taking Spanish classes for all four weeks of my time in Antigua, I stopped after the third week.

I did attend one sample dance lesson, and it was fun, but the space was cramped and, really, the dances and lessons in town seemed much better equipped to work with couples than singles. Dance lessons: Tossed into the sea.

I confess that inertia kept me from live music venues at night. I could rationalize to you that my days were so full from studying, working, walking, and other activities, that I was just too whupped to also go out at night (late) for music. And this would be true. But inertia played a big role, and I don't let myself off the hook for this. I know I would have had a blast at some Antigua night clubs, making it completely worthwhile to sacrifice sleep. But inertia is always lurking about in the shallows, waiting to drag a solo traveler down into the deeps.

An acquaintance once said, "Every day is solving for x." This was true for my time in Antigua, and there came a moment in my stay that I appreciated the problem-solving challenges that came my way.

It was a fucking growth opportunity.

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