Flying always makes me feel a bit like Indiana Jones heading off for adventure... And Belize is definitely one of my favorite countries for adventure.
First off, there is a HUGE difference between being on vacation and living abroad. That image you have of sitting around on a beach chair all day with a coconut drink in your hand at a luxurious resort?
There are places in the world where artists seem to congregate and San Miguel de Allende in Mexico's colonial highlands is one of them. They began arriving here in the late 1940s thanks to the establishment of two art schools, Instituto Allende and the Escuela de Bellas Artes, which drew, in particular, former American soldiers who were funded to study abroad on the G.I. Bill.
It may sound strange at first -- aren't most expats who move abroad retirees? Don't they have pensions and Social Security and savings to live on? Aren't their lives overseas already 'funded'?
Moving to a foreign country is a lot like raising children. It's harder than you think it's going to be, and better than you can imagine!
When we first started visiting Belize's Placencia peninsula more than two decades ago, small towns here were no more than sleepy fishing villages. The only tourists were serious divers and fishermen. Today, things have changed.
Every couple of weeks the thought strikes us... the Internet has changed everything, including the expat experience. It struck us again just last night as we were sitting at home watching the World Series.
Perhaps you like the idea of stretching your retirement dollars as far as possible (who doesn't?) and reducing your cost of living and of health care, while at the same time enriching and enhancing your quality of life, but you're not up for learning a new language or putting up with the day-to-day challenges and frustrations of life in the developing world. Fair enough.
Over the years Barry and Claudia Leon lived happily all over the States. They both had full and varied careers in psychology, college teaching, business, and biology. But after retiring to their 56-acre ranch in Texas, the couple decided they wanted to add another place to their long list of residences.
'Are you going home, or leaving home?' she asked, as she sat down in the seat next to me. My mind was miles away, (about 11,000 to be exact) studying the outline of the Wasatch Mountains from the view of the airplane window. Spanning almost 160 miles, they are the western most tip of the greater Rocky Mountains, and have served as the background scenery to most of the events in my life.
It's certainly still possible to find a place to eat overseas that will make you sick, but over the past dozen years of living in and traveling around Latin America, we've found that many of the stomach problems expats get come from two common sources that have nothing to do with poor food preparation or foul water.
Going abroad sometimes comes as a response to a personal shakeup: the end of a relationship, a financial loss, or the passing of a loved one. Getting out of Dodge, at least for a while, can provide the opportunity to gain a fresh perspective and explore your options.
No matter who we are or where we come from or why we moved in the first place, there is something about Thanksgiving that--somehow, somewhere--brings us together. Even Canadians, Europeans, and locals.
Expats have settled all over Belize, but one spot is starting to earn lots of attention lately... Corozal, the northernmost of Belize's six districts.
Isabelle and Robert Shahverdians lived and breathed stress and chaos in Los Angeles. Their lives were filled with long work days and long commutes, all to pay for life in the fast lane.
Millions of us have already chosen to move abroad. I submit that more Americans would be better off acting with the same get-up-and-go. All change is for the better.