S2-EP14: J-R & Alasdair on Living the Dream (or Winging It) in Guatemala

Apr 10, 2020


Debbie brings back J-R and Alasdair, a young couple who have deliberately stepped off the beaten path and who recently moved from France to beautiful Lake Atitlan in Guatemala’s highlands. With the lake in view, birds chirping and flowering bushes everywhere, it looks like they are Living the Dream. But are they? Debbie was compelled to ask them… certainly this is her idea of a dream life. The answer is yes and no. Like everything, it’s more complicated than it looks.



This week on the show, Debbie brings back Julie-Roxane Krikorian and Alasdair Plambeck. Last time they were on, this young couple was living in a tiny caravan in southwest France. A few months ago, they decided to ditch that life and move to Guatemala. J-R, as Debbie calls her, is the producer for this podcast. Both she and her husband are entrepreneurs doing location-independent work as podcasters, life coaches, and retreat leaders. Their podcast is named, aptly, Far Out: Adventures in Unconventional Living.

The couple now live in a rental house perched above Lake Atitlan, said to be one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. They would seem to be Living The Dream, if that means running away to a warm beautiful place, away from city traffic and desk jobs, where life is simpler and quieter and more problem-free. It’s certainly one of Debbie’s dreams. So she felt compelled to bring them back on the show to ask, “Are you really living the dream?”

Together the three of them discuss how J-R and Alasdair chose Guatemala, how they modeled a financial scenario that would work for them (they live frugally), and what their daily lives are really like. Debbie and Alasdair joke about Debbie’s misattributing “Wherever You Go, There You Are” to Winnie the Pooh. It was said by meditation and mindfulness teacher Jon Kabat-Zinn – the point being that your problems tend to follow you wherever you go.

She picks their brains about the difference between reinventing yourself at 30 or at 60. Which is more difficult? Which is braver? J-R ultimately explains that they are “creating a life forward” and dreaming up their lives as they go. “Winging it,” she admits.

This show was recorded before the Coronavirus had spread to Guatemala so the pandemic is only mentioned in passing.

What they talk about:

  • How J-R and Alasdair somewhat randomly made the decision to move from France to Guatemala
  • An Airbnb tip they used to find Lake Atitlan
  • How they prepared financially (they live on about US $1,000 a month)
  • How reinvention is different in your early thirties compared with later in life
  • Creating a life looking forward instead of looking backwards
  • The unpredictability and uncertainty of being digital nomads
  • J-R and Alasdair’s favorite moments of the day on the lake
  • Tips for living your dream: remove things, go minimal, and figure out what your values are


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