Marry Yourself First


Marry Yourself First
My Marriage to Myself in Guatemala

My solo trip to Guatemala was my first solo trip. I had left my corporate job and was working on my own. I decided to take almost four weeks and journey to Guatemala to find myself after the end of a relationship.  Solo travel after the end of a relationship turned out to be a pattern: I would go and find myself after a relationship ended.  A perfect way to move on and enjoy life fully again! Traveling solo for me is extremely therapeutic.  I’ve met so many amazing men and women, and I’ve seen so many things I would have never seen had I just taken a tour.  Usually on these trips, I would show up with no big plan in mind.  I would “go with the wind,” which felt like the most freedom I had ever had in my life.

During my first solo trip in Guatemala, I was grieving the loss of a recent relationship that was as close to abusive as I have ever experienced. The really good news is that as soon as I knew there was abuse potentially going to happen, I made a decision in that moment that this person was not for me.  I truly had asked the Universe to send me a sign if I should or should not stay with him: Just days later the prelude to abuse occurred.  I was actually fearful of this man, so ending the relationship took a bit of time but was a very healthy step for me.


I was free, and the land was so rich in Guatemala. During this trip, I was staying at a wonderful hostel location in San Marcos near Lake Atitlan, my favorite place in Guatemala, where I had fun and met a lot of people.  There was a stone sauna, and we would all do a sweat together in a stone house and bond with everyone.  Some people did not wear clothes.   I loved that the level of inhibition is so different and much lower in other countries.

I connected with a very important teacher in Guatemala.  Hugh, a man from Australia, and I made an instant connection. It was like I had known him forever—and he was certainly a teacher for me. The small town of San Marco was having a fair, and there was a ferris wheel we decided to ride.  We were stuck at the top for awhile, and his friend yelled up to us, “That is how gringos die!” Yes, that ferris wheel was truly beyond old.  I remember yelling to the operator “mas dispacio” (go slower).  I was afraid. But when you travel solo, you really don’t focus on fear as much.  That is part of the freedom.

This article was originally published at . Reprinted with permission.
Article contributed by
Advanced Member

Shannon Rios Paulsen

Life Coach

Shannon R Rios Paulsen MS LMFT is an international life and business coach who partners with individuals to bring them to the next level in life and work.  She can be reached at 720.515.3212.   Her new book - In Love With Me:  7 Strategies for Successful Partnerships, Parenting and Performance will be released Spring of 2014.  



Location: Edgewater, CO
Credentials: LMFT
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