In this episode of the Families Embracing Diversity podcast, Elizabeth Morrill from Simple, Tender, Joyful shares how she made the difficult decision to give up the “American Dream” and move to Guatemala for a simple, more joyful life alongside her family. She discovered how to align life with values and vows to never go back. If you’d like to align your life with your values as Elizabeth did, click here for the free worksheet. 

If you don’t have time to listen right now, here are some of the highlights:

Background Story

  • A former ER Nurse turned writer, blogger and homeschool mom
  • The wife of a foreign service officer on her 3rd overseas tour. She has lived in Bosnia, Colombia and is now in Guatemala.
  • The combination of the night shift and daycare drama led her to reevaluate their “dream life” in Boston.
  • They decided to intentionally request an overseas placement in order to align life with values.
Elizabeth from Simple Tender Joyful chose to live differently and align her life with her values instead of just following society's view of success.

Tips for Living Abroad

When living abroad, it’s OK to conserve some simple pleasures from home (foods, products, decorations, etc.). Conserving some familiarity is a form of self-care and can help reenergize you to embrace the adventures that await outside your four walls.

Spending 10 years struggling to learn Spanish has taught Elizabeth that language ability is not a sign of intelligence. Learning a language is hard! It’s OK to take your time.

What is Life Like in Guatemala?

  • Running water is not a guarantee.
  • Water is not potable, even in the nicest parts of the capital city.
  • Poverty is a prominent problem.
  • Guatemala has the most welcoming, kind people Elizabeth has met to date.
  • Not everyone speaks Spanish. In fact, there are 25 official languages in Guatemala.
  • If you’d like to learn more about Guatemala with your children, check out these Facts about Guatemala for Kids

What Life in Guatemala is Teaching her Kids

  • We are part of a larger world.
  • There is no need to be afraid of people who don’t look like you.

How to Align Your Life with Your Values

A big part of their decision to move to Guatemala was to be able to live a life that was in alignment with their family values. Here is how they figured out what those were:

To define Family Values they asked themselves:

  • What is most important to us? (i.e. travel, religion, nature, etc.)
  • Which activities do we look forward to the most?
  • What makes us feel most like us?
  • What is our idea of an ideal day? (restrictions (such as money, time, location) aside)

These answers helped define their family culture.

If you’d like to align your life with your values, download this free worksheet to get your thoughts down on paper.

Elizabeth from Simple Tender Joyful teaches us  how to live your best life by aligning your life with your values

Since Elizabeth is homeschooling, they also created an Educational Manifesto by asking themselves what kinds of things (ideas, values) do we want our children to learn before they leave our home.

Now that they have clearly defined family values, they are able to make informed decisions to live a life that aligns with their values.

If you’d like to see how other families, just like yours are embracing diversity in their everyday lives, check out these great interviews:

Naa Ardua has lived across three continents.

Susan and her family are experts in long term family travel.

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