We have always enjoyed traveling and have done much of it over the course of our over 28 years together. But traveling all over this small and exotic country (along with excellent side trips to neighbors Guatemala and Mexico) brought that love of wandering back to the forefront, amplified it, and gave us the courage to do more than we could ever do before. And now that I am retired, we finally have the time to have many more travel adventures.
Ultimately, and especially after meeting some inspiring full-time nomads here, we realized that we are not ready to hang our hammock in just one place. And we missed participating regularly in two of our favorite activities besides travel, road cycling and hiking, neither of which are possible on the island of Ambergris Caye. Even travel is more difficult from an island. Although it was a dream of ours to live car-free and we've genuinely enjoyed the fun and challenge of riding our beach bikes everywhere, we miss being able to hit the open road when the desire hits. And we want to be able to take our favorite companion Paisley along with us when we travel, at least some of the time. In Belize we always have to leave her behind. Well cared for to be sure, but not where she wants to be most, with us.
So today we announce, with bittersweet feelings, that we have just sold our condo in Ambergris Caye and moved back to the United States. Because of Paisley, we aren't going to become world travelers at this time, but we do plan to do a lot of traveling in the US and some of Canada as well. We're thinking about a motorhome. There is still so much we haven't seen in our own country, especially out west, and we want to see as much of it as we can while we're still healthy and fit enough to enjoy it. But that's not to say we won't miss many things about Ambergris Caye and indeed, the entire country of Belize.
What we'll miss most:
- The most genuinely friendly people we've ever encountered. Their smiles, their "good mawnin, good mawnin"s are sincere and infectious. These Belizean locals who have so much less than most Americans are much happier, much less stressed out, and their simple lives, focused on family, church, community, seem to be the reason. Not to mention the sunshine that seems to put everyone in a better mood.
- The balmy breezes and turquoise sea -- Yes, it's hot, humid, and muggy at times, but when you're taking it easy in the shade, it's super pleasant. Shorts, t-shirts, and flip-flops are the order of the day, so it's easy to go outside. Very seldom is a jacket needed, and I think I've worn long pants about 5 times here total.
- Everything is less crowded. When we traveled to the mainland to go hiking, often we were the only people in an entire park or site. We've hiked for miles on trails where the only other living, breathing creatures we encountered were birds, insects, and maybe a fleeting glimpse of a small forest mammal. That is refreshing and so rare in the populous US.
- Fewer rules. We've climbed ruins and trails that would certainly be deemed "too dangerous" and off limits in the US.
- Our blog readers. Yes, that's you. You good folks from all over the world have been one of the biggest surprises we've experienced! We've received so many kind, supportive notes and comments, and I hope we've been able to answer some of your questions and maybe inspire some of your own dreams. Some of you have even become friends, and we've had the pleasure of meeting a few of you in person as well. We sincerely thank you for coming along for the ride with us.
At this time we are going to put this blog on hiatus and take a "blogging break". We are undecided about having a travel blog in the future as we think we want to go back to more private lives, but if we ever decide to start another public blog, we'll update this one with the link, so feel free to keep your subscription. Of the many lessons we've learned from our Belize adventure, one of the biggest is that we can never predict the future or what we'll be doing in a year or even six months!
I'll close with one of my favorite quotes and one of the wisdoms we gained from our experiences here. Once you live in a place, no matter how lovely, it is all too easy to lose that "childlike enthusiasm" that a new place inspires. We're hoping to get that enthusiastic feeling back in our future travels, wherever they may take us.
“To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.” – Bill Bryson