I Didnâ€™t Expect to Fall in Love With Belize
I didnâ€™t expect to fall in love with Belize
By Rhiannon Fionn-Bowman – The World Trade
Before I scheduled a Western Caribbean cruise in 2003, I had never even heard of Belize. Thatâ€™s a stunning admission today since I canâ€™t get the country off my mind. I was only there for a day, but in the years since
Iâ€™ve become a Belize-information junkie. I hope to return for a week this year and, maybe â€“ if the puzzle pieces fall together right, again in 2012 â€¦ potentially for good.
When people ask me why I feel so connected to Belize, I talk about the warm people, the fact that nearly half of the countryâ€™s land is conserved and, of course, the Mayan ruins. In my mind, the pace there is slower than the near frantic pace I keep in the States as a busy freelance journalist. I love that the countryâ€™s landscape includes both mountains and beaches. I love that so many nationalities and cultures are represented in the peopleâ€™s faces. I love the focus on eco-tourism.
What I donâ€™t say is that I long for the sounds of the jungle and daydream about wandering the ruins and eating beans and rice â€“ things that probably seem silly to those whoâ€™ve grown used to the finer details of daily life in Belize.
Sometimes I wonder if Iâ€™m fooling myself, if all of my daydreaming has turned the country I know mostly on paper into some unattainable magical paradise. And, every once and a while Iâ€™ll run into someone who has also visited, someone who definitely doesnâ€™t feel the same pull I do. All I can respond with is, â€œIt felt like home and Iâ€™ve got to go back.â€
Thatâ€™s the truth. Iâ€™m compelled to return and wonâ€™t be satisfied until I do. At the same time, Iâ€™m giving myself a chance to change my mind. When I return for a week later this year I plan to take in as much of the country as I can, to stay off the beaten path and to visit with as many locals as possible. I want to learn about the real Belize, not the PR-spin version. And, I want every detail â€“ good and bad.
In my gut, though, I know I wonâ€™t be dissuaded from my plans to move there, whether in 2012 or later, because I already know deep in my soul that Belize is my home.