Everyone has a different timeline, a unique story of why they decided to move to Belize and how their move went down.
Our first time traveling to Belize was filled with firsts and a life changing vacation in may ways. It was our first trip together outside the country, a great test of our relationship and marked Paul’s first tropical travel experience. Equally as important, it was a potential dealbreaker for me and for the first time I was not afraid to say it.
I had long known at some point in my life I was determined to live at least six months of the year in the tropics but would prefer go full out year round. Of course I did not know Ambergris would be the place, but I knew from a young age I was a beach girl and was confident in laying it out on the table. Read how my childhood family vacations shaped my desire for a tropical move in my 2009 Christmas in the Tropics post.
It was Love at first sight with the friendly people, golf carts, walking everywhere, laying in hammocks reading books, swimming weather in January and the colorful island vibe. I remember by the end of our trip not wanting to go home so bad that I started to get a sore throat. My body was literally rebelling against the act of going back to winter in Canada.
Boy was I happy when we got held up in a long Texas customs line and missed our plane. The airlines deemed it bad weather and we cashed in on a night at the Holiday Inn and food vouchers. Sitting in our hotel Restaurant with a big ass baked potato and a giant steak in front of me I was in much better spirits. Feeling grateful the travel Gods had to postpone our trip back cold temperatures and snow for another night.
It took us two years from the time we decided [which was days into our 3 week Ambergris Caye vacation] to the time we moved here.
We were working towards getting everything in order to make our move, and one day I told Paul we have to set the date. We are never going to be any more ready than we are right now. So we checked out the calendar and decided that 6 months down the road first week of Jan 2006 was the time to spread our wings and fly south to our new home. We went to the travel agent right away and booked out tickets. I still remember walking around carrying my old school photo album with Belize pictures in it to help me keep my eye on the prize 🙂
This past January marked our 6 year anniversary of being on the island. While I have no regrets in the way we ended up here, I will say do your due diligence before you move. Even though we dove right in with our hearts after one three week vacation, I always recommend people do a good scouting trip or two and really think carefully about their decision.
It is to easy to get swept up in the charm of San Pedro and island Life, As a result people do not always take the blinders off and really think clearly in making decisions about living in Belize.
As charming as it is, it can be tough living here there is no doubt about it. The island is small, not everyone will play nicely in the sand box and many of us end up feeling overworked, overcomitted and often underpaid. But when push comes to shove we manage to make it work because we love living on a tropical island in the Caribbean.
Is Belize Safe, island safety and crime management are three areas to consider, theese topics coming up more often on travel sites, message boards and facebook. Crime happens world wide and that includes Belize. It is stronger here at certain times of the year like Christmas and low season. Unfortunately I just got the news yesterday that 2 people we know had thefts recently one a few streets away from us.
Does not make me want to live here any less? Right now my answer is no. I have been robbed in Toronto, Canada as well as San Pedro Belize and it sucked the same both times.
I keep my attention focused on all the good things people are doing to make the island safe, hoping known issues and weak areas that need to be addressed , will get more attention and well executed solutions to correct the problems. I am sure a few of you are thinking that sounds a bit Pollyanna or slim chance, it has always been this way and will stay the same. I say why not hope for the best in the place I have chosen to live right now and do what I can to help support the people trying to make positive changes around me.
I felt the sting just as bad waking up one morning to find my beloved blue beach cruiser was stolen from our apartment bike rack in San Pedro, as when I came out of work at a local high school in downtown Toronto to find the front tire of my Rocky Mountain bike gone. Bike theft is a common thing worldwide.
My unfortunate experience with people taking things that do not belong to them goes deeper than that. For San Pedro crime add in barbecue sized propane tank being taken from our yard when we lived at the big green house. For Toronto theft add a break in to Paul’s car which was in the parking lot behind our house and someone’s sticky fingers took what ever was laying around.
Aside from crime in Belize people planning a move here often wonder about what they will miss. I can say for sure those of us that live here all have our favorite cravings from various places and there are also things we are glad to have traded in.
Dr Al always jokes with me about the pain giving up Horton’s and other delicious things, he even taunts me with pictures of timbits and other mouthwatering foods. If you are not familiar with the well known coffee shop and fast food place, they are everywhere in Canada. I would go as far as saying, it wouldn’t be a trip to Canada without stopping at a Tim Horton’s. Horton’s is worth stopping for, not only do they have good coffee, tasty treats and savory snacks, Tim Horton’s is a socially responsible company participating in environmental events, camp day and other great kids programs.
I will leave you with a fast food Picture story – Sometimes I miss:
I do not really miss
Another way I think we come out on top