Who is Forrest Jones?
I was excited when Forrest agreed to do a spotlight. He is a very interesting person and I knew what he had to say would be good reading and was looking forward to learning more about him. Feel free to leave comment for Forrest and say hi.
What’s your claim to fame?
Being able to listen to both sides of an argument and usually remaining much more attached to the people arguing both sides than to the the argument of one side or the other!
Where were you born?
I’m a generation 4th Californian. My great grandparents were pioneers, which places them in California in the 1850’s, just after the Gold Rush. I was born in San Francisco in 1943. By the time I was 8 we were living outside of New York City. That’s where I grew up. Dad’s job was teaching the East what to do with the redwood lumber the family’s mill produced, so his job and vacationing with grandparents, aunts & uncles, and cousins, brought us back to California almost every summer. Like me, my younger sister Mimi chose California when grown up, but my older sister Lynn is a true New Yorker and stayed there. Both are married with dynamite families; I’m divorced with 2 dynamite sons. The oldest is married and has provided me with a bright and stunning daughter-in-law and an outrageously cute granddaughter, Zoe, now three. Both of Zoe’s parents have interesting work in film production. My youngest son is currently getting paid to get his Ph.D. in structural engineering, and loving that.
Stuff about success & what I think makes it happen.
I had a store in San Francisco for 35 years. It started out as a very pure gourmet kitchenware store, when there were hardly any others, and evolved into a very eclectic general store. It became full of housewares, things you ‘need,’ and whatever else we thought was irresistible, imaginative, looked more expensive than it was, or all of the above. You never knew what you’d find there. lt’s success hinged on word of mouth. The thing we most frequently overheard people saying as they walked in was ‘uh oh; this store is dangerous.’ We had fun making it so, and I think that showed; but I’ve always considered success to be the result of hard work and common sense.
Coming to Belize.
In February, 2003, knowing virtually nada about Belize, I came to San Pedro to join a childhood friend from N.Y. and 3 other old fogeys, 2 of whose skipper’s licenses had allowed us to charter one of TMM’s big catamarans and go Caye hopping all by ourselves for 2 weeks. Loved it. I hate cold water, but never had a choice, where I lived. I had always loved the tropics, but living instead of just vacationing in them had been the stuff of dreams, not reality. So when the friend who got me to Belize started looking at property with the idea of an eventual offshore corporation for his successful shipping business, I pointed out the vaulted mahogany ceilings visible in the second story condo at the very northeast beachfront corner of the Belize Yacht Club’s beautifully gardened property and said, ‘that up there looks really nice; why don’t you get that?’ Not that it was for sale or anything, but it also had a great view and a virtually constant and unimpeded breeze, good for keeping cool and for keeping mosquitoes away, too, when necessary.
San Francisco’s summer was as cold and foggy in 2003 as it is this year. Home on a day off and bored, I googled ‘Real Estate, Ambergris Caye,’ and guess what was for sale? God is not making any more Caribbean beachfront, and yet the price was less than what you’d pay to buy a place to park your car in San Francisco. I love snorkeling, and I especially love sailing – small boats in particular – but never had enough opportunities. Here I could get my own Hobie Cat and park it right outside.
I may be a bit obtuse but it did dawn on me, right there and then, to get the place and do just that. So I did. It was for vacations at first, but then I was diagnosed with lung cancer, late in 2005. Thought I was a gonner for sure, but I became and remain one of the exceedingly lucky ones who is now cancer free. The half-year-long ‘cure’ experience had me pondering the shortness of life and determined to do other fun things, besides the store. Living on Ambergris Caye and doing everything there is to do here was at the top of the list. So I retired here in 2007.
What do you like most about living here?
The life style! Life Style is a factor of climate, scenery, people, pace, and things to do, but not necessarily in that order. I love warm weather, and I can get to where I hardly notice the humidity, particularly when the trade winds feel like a body massage, which is a lot of the time. I love the rustic charm of the place, and the tropical flora and warm crystal waters are stunning. The people are known for friendliness, and for one’s intimate social circle, the community to choose from is full of charismatic, creative, energetic, and interesting people from a variety of cultures. The pace of life here implores you to just relax. So, besides swimming, sailing, snorkeling, socializing, and occasional adventures off-island, I love my hammock! Just gently swinging in this soft breeze with the view of the reef from my balcony is as sublime as it gets.
One book or movie you recommend everyone should read or watch?
Book: John Fowles’ The Magus. Movie: The Gods Must Be Crazy.
Three things / places you would recommend people see, do, or eat when they come to Belize.
Well now, you can’t possibly narrow them down to 3! Must See at least one of the Mayan ruins. Must go snorkeling or diving. Must go to the Belize Zoo. On Ambergris Caye, must eat at Rojo Lounge, Wild Mango’s, and must go to Estelle’s for Charles’ BBQ ribs on Sunday!
If you could be doing anything right now what would it be?
What I’m doing right now. Any present moment is precious. I really like staying in the present, paying attention to the present moment; not living in the past or ignoring the ‘right now’ to get to something you think will be better in the future.