A Child’s Perspective on Semana Santa: Collaborative Project in Antigua, Guatemala

Some of the kids were visibly nervous at the beginning. Antigua, Guatemala -- Karina Noriega
Karina, April and Alex document the childrens' stories during a collaborative project in Antigua, Guatemala. Photo by Kerstin Sabene

Karina, April and Alex document the childrens’ stories during a collaborative project in Antigua, Guatemala. Photo by Kerstin Sabene

The idea behind embarking on this journey around the world had always been that the world is full opportunity. To find it though, we must be completely open to it. I don’t mean searching through a job site. I mean doing what you are passionate about. For April and I, it is travelling, writing, filming, learning and experiencing local culture. Since our arrival in Antigua, Guatemala we have found so much support for our work featuring local places, people and events. We’ve already had our articles shared on huge social media platforms, been on television and networked with amazing people who respect and admire our choice to put our faith in the universe. Most recently, April and I were invited to partake in a collaborative project creating a traditional alfombra with local school children from Escuela Luis Mena. The project, a yearly tradition sponsored by George’s Travel Club, is intended to educate and encourage participation of children. It also gave us an opportunity to learn a new perspective on the activity, normally a labour of devotion, gratitude and penitence. (More on the cultural understanding of alfombras here.) We teamed up with talented videographer Alex Jones for a new channel called Antigua Cultural. The mini-documentary will feature a complete birth to death time-lapse video of this temporary work of art by the children, through the moment where the single anda Santa Ines procession carries Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary over the alfombra offering. We also had the opportunity to interview the children and their teacher, Alejandro, about the meaning of their project and get first-hand insight into how their young minds attribute significance to this beautiful tradition.

Sponsor George Sansoucy with Teacher Alejandro and his students. Antigua, Guatemala -- April Beresford

Sponsor George Sansoucy with Teacher Alejandro and his students. Antigua, Guatemala — April Beresford

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No Pants Subway Ride – The Film

Undoubtedly, this became the most popular YouTube film of the year for ThirteenSquared. I particularly love the song chosen and the ensuing comments by – meacomefeyou – will always be a source of comedy relief 😛 (Go to the YouTube to view the comments)

Check out the article I wrote about why I had to follow through with this challenge, and lessons learned.


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Tropical New Years – Chulamar, Escuintla, Guatemala

A new film for www.karinasextraordinarylife.com

As we set the stage for a perfect New Year’s celebration (crystal blue waters, black volcanic sand beach scattered with coconut trees), we are reminded that no explorer’s adventure is complete without a worthy a perilous battle against a worthy adversary. Witness a stubborn ‘Gringa’ face her opponent head on and the passionate rage that ensues when she loses the fight. Wait for the final moment when our two heroines ride towards the sunset, in style, hoping that next year will be filled with even more adventure than the last.

A film by April Beresford


Find out how this impromptu New Year’s celebration came to be and check out some more pics –> Lighting up 2015


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Mercado Tradicional – Guatemala

This week’s film spotlights our experience at a local market.
Come explore Guatemala City’s traditional mercado, “La Villa” and travel like a local.

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Yellowstone National Park – A Film

Yellowstone National Park, USA - Karina Noriega

There are few places in the world that consistently score very high on everyone’s ‘must see’ list. This kind of hype can create slippery slopes of disappointment when the site doesn’t live up to the craze. Thankfully, this is in no way applicable to the splendor of Yellowstone National Park. This extraordinary place is beyond the words and photographs you may have seen before. It has easily shot to the top of my list of truthfully shocking and impressive natural wonders.

Proclaimed the very first national park in the world, this enormous geographical phenomenon in the Northwestern area of the United States protects remarkable natural and geothermal features as well as abundant wildlife. It is a fully living ecosystem in full colour resplendence that bubbles and explodes.

It is an experience for all your senses.

Beyond the alien landscape shooting smoke stack and high pressured geysers into the sky, Yellowstone needs to be heard. The powers of the earth working here bubble gently. Others explode like a jetliner. The rumbling resonates in your chest and at your feet. The scents of the forests and the sulfuric emissions continually remind you of the versatility of this planet. Despite the temptations of thick curdling mud pots, crystal clear ponds, and rainbow colored streams, please do resist the urge to test the waters. At more than 200 degrees Fahrenheit, it could the last thing you ever feel.

~ An Extraordinary Story by Karina Noriega ~

Without further ado, our extraordinary film! 🙂

*Travel Tips

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Road Kill

April made me a hilarious road kill compilation to cheer me up. I get way too sad when I see wildlife discarded as highway junk on the side of the road.

The clip is so funny I had to share with everyone 🙂

Want to see some real live wildlife encounters? Check this one out:


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Wild Encounters – Encounters in California, USA

Fern Canyon, Redwood State Park, California, USA - Karina Noriega

There’s this game that we play. It started on our very first road trip when we drove across Canada. 10,000km is a long way you see. *(We are at 20,000km across and back in the U.S!) So the way it goes is that every time you see an animal crossing sign you have to put up one of the corresponding charades signs that we made up. It’s our superstitious way of protecting ourselves (& the wildlife)- our explanation is that as long as we always do it then we eliminate the chance of a collision. It’s really just a silly game, like all the other stupid things we do when engaging on these long distance adventures and so far, it has worked like a charm.
Not for a second has it taken away from our wildlife viewing experience though. Without ever leaving the safety of our Tank, we have seen:

Elk Target, Redwood State Park, California, USA - Karina Noriega

Elk Target, Redwood State Park, California, USA – Karina Noriega

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Summary of Our Journey Across The USA – (World Nomads Scholarship Entry)

Monument Valley, Arizona/Utah, USA - Karina Noriega

The contest deadline has come and gone. Our submission is now being reviewed by the travel journalism experts at World Nomads. We are going up against hundreds (if not thousands) aspiring filmmakers from around the whole globe.

The pressure has now shifted to the judges and mentors who can select only a single submission for one of the best prizes out there: A chance to attend, film and share Mexico’s cultural mega-festival, Dia de los Muertos. More than a chance to travel, this is the learning opportunity of a lifetime. April and I are beyond eager to receive mentoring and feedback by seasoned travel journalists. Plus, I have not so secretly always wanted to experience this event.

So let’s make the decision a little easier for the World Nomads panel. Please show us your support by clicking like, leaving your comments and sharing the video (preferably through the blog -> https://karinasextraordinarylife.com/2014/09/22/world-nomads-film-scholarship-entry <- Use This Link)

Don’t forget to read up on why we believe we should win and what it means to us. (On the YouTube comments sections)

~ An Extraordinary Story by Karina Noriega ~

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New York City SightSeeing – A Film

Hands down, brand-new favourite film by April! Longer than previous videos but absolutely packed with high energy clips from our 2 weeks of adventuring and trouble-making (all for only dollars a day of course) throughout the boroughs of New York City. So many good moments: Top of the Rock, the NY Subway, Times Square, eating cheap Chinatown pork buns at Tiffany’s 😛 and so much more.

~ An Extraordinary Story by Karina Noriega ~

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