Domini Hedderman

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Swapping Stress in L.A. for Freedom in Belize

Alfredo and Yvonne Villoria were just another fast-paced, career-minded couple in Los Angeles. But money-making wasn’t enough. “We felt that something was missing,” says Yvonne. “In 1976, we decided that 1980 was the cut-off year. In 1980, we would leave the United States. All we were doing was chasing the dollar. We wanted more. We thought there had to be more to life than just working and owning things.

New Jersey Couple Find Health and Freedom in Placencia, Belize

New Jersey Couple Find Health and Freedom in Placencia, Belize

At 50 years old, Eugene Upham was too young for retirement. But he was too old for second chances—or so people said. Then Eugene had a heart attack. Though he survived, the part of him that listened to those voices didn’t. As Eugene was recovering, New Jersey was blanketed in several feet of snow. And, as his wife Lynne says, “We knew we had to reevaluate our life.”

belize toledo

No Stress, No Regrets—Living off the Land in Belize

Alfredo and Yvonne Villoria were just another fast-paced, career-minded couple in Los Angeles. But money-making wasn’t enough. “We felt that something was missing,” says Yvonne.

Atenas lies in the lush Central Valley region of Costa Rica . © billberryphotography

How to Fund a Part-Time Life in Costa Rica

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.

Atenas lies in the lush Central Valley region of Costa Rica . © billberryphotography

How to Fund a Part-Time Life in Costa Rica

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.

The Relaxed Freedom of Life in Belize

Living on a hillside in San Ignacio, Belize, just a short car ride away from the Guatemalan border, Michael and Amanda Cyphers have finally found the simplicity they looked for so long. “I wake up every day and think, ‘What do I do with all this freedom?’” says Amanda. “At home, we had to do, we had to perform. We had bills to pay, places to go, schedules to keep. So much so that we were up at night worrying about how to get it all done.”

punta-gorda2

A 6-Month Escape to Belize

Life was good in the States. We had a big house, two cars, and a community of friends in our Pennsylvania hometown. We had meaningful work and our weeks rushed by in a whirlwind of activity for both us and our children. We espoused the American view of “work hard, play hard.” But something was missing. The lifestyle we were living was too stressful, too busy, too unhealthy, and too expensive.

ASixMonthEscape

A Six-Month Family Escape in Belize

Life was good in the States. We had a big house, two cars, and a community of friends in our Pennsylvania hometown. But something was missing. The lifestyle we were living was too stressful, too busy, too unhealthy, and too expensive. We found ourselves accumulating—and worrying about unnecessary stuff.

Work on a Caribbean Island?

Working in the Caribbean

Since moving to Belize full-time in 2012, empty nesters Christine Cotten and her husband Tom ease into their day. Morning time for them on Ambergris Caye starts with a coffee on the pier in front of their beachfront condo, watching the sun rise, golden and glowing, in a purple sky.

How to Retire at 41

How to Retire at 41 to Costa Rica

Their vacations in tropical places left Denice and Robert Key wishing for more out of life and thinking, “What if…?” The couple had traveled throughout the Caribbean and Mexico when they were younger, and they could never quite escape the itch to retire early and move to a warm, exotic destination—something completely different from their Colorado home.

Freedom and Joy of Life in Belize

Freedom and Joy of Life in Belize

Michael and Amanda Cyphers retired early partly to give their 14-year-old son, Colin, a better way of life, away from the hustle-bustle of their Las Vegas suburban home. They find they have more quality family time now in Belize. “I have more time with my husband and son, because I’m away from the 101 things, the 3,800-square-foot house, the cars, everything we had.” We live a humble life here.

Doran and Kim have a better lifestyle in Placencia, Belize than they could ever wish for in the States—at a fraction of the cost.

Affordable-Living by the Beach in Placencia, Belize

“In 2004 we’d looked at property in Belize and decided to let the euphoria settle down while we really thought it out. But then a day came when it took me two hours to go 60 miles on the Florida Turnpike and cost me $13 in tolls. That was the final straw. I had it. That was the turning point. I called Kim and told her to contact the real estate agent.”

TheRelaxedFreedom

The Relaxed Freedom of Life in Belize

Living on a hillside in San Ignacio, Belize, just a short car ride away from the Guatemalan border, Michael and Amanda Cyphers have finally found the simplicity they looked for so long. “I wake up every day and think, ‘What do I do with all this freedom?’” says Amanda. “At home, we had to do, we had to perform. We had bills to pay, places to go, schedules to keep. So much so that we were up at night worrying about how to get it all done.”

Open a Beach Bar in Belize

Open a Beach Bar in Belize

Tired of the risks and weary of working for someone else, Craig dreamed of opening his own beach bar. “I was sick of jumping out of bed each day to an alarm clock and fighting the crazy traffic. And each year, when the weather began to turn in the fall, I found myself wishing for the warmth of a tropical climate,” Craig says. So when a friend suggested he look into Belize, he did exactly that. “My friend had heard it was a great place to make a fresh start…”

OpeningABeachBar

Opening a Beach Bar in Belize

After 25 years as a union glazier, Craig Pearlman was ready for a change. “I installed windows in commercial buildings, sometimes as high as 42 stories up,” says the 47-year-old New Jersey native. “We worked right on the window ledge of high-rises in Jersey City and Hoboken. I almost fell a couple of times. That scared the hell out of me.”

punta gorda

The Simple Life in Belize

Five hours of driving on paved highways with jaw-dropping views of mountains and farmland brought us from the international airport in Belize City to our destination: Monkey River Village in the Toledo District, the southernmost area of Belize. We parked our truck and hopped on a boat taxi for the five-minute ride to our new but temporary home, a two-story Caribbean-style home…

Off the Grid and Loving It in Belize

Off the Grid and Loving It in Belize

When my husband and I first started dreaming about taking a six-month “family sabbatical” with our four young kids somewhere in Central America, we’d considered Costa Rica and Panama as well as Belize. But then I met a British couple who lived in southern Belize. We stayed in touch and they often gave me advice about our unfolding plans.

A Family Retreat in Costa Rica

A Family Retreat in Costa Rica

The land was narrow in front. There was a river, a real river, but no bridge. Then we started to notice the gorgeous trees. We put a ladder over the river and climbed over. As we walked deeper in, the views started opening up. I could see volcanoes in the distance. I knew this was the land I had seen in my mind.”

The Best Cure for Stress: Open a B&B in Panama

The Best Cure for Stress: Open a B&B in Panama

After a trip to Costa Rica in 2003, Isabelle and Robert knew they wanted to move permanently to somewhere in Central America. “We missed living in nature, surrounded by nature,” Robert explains. “Central America seemed to have the natural lifestyle we were looking for.” They explored Costa Rica and considered Nicaragua. But it was after a visit to Panama that they fell in love.

Pedasí, Panama “We Can’t Imagine a Better Way of Life”

Pedasí, Panama: “We Can’t Imagine a Better Way of Life”

“We worked harder for less,” says Robert. “We thought we could do better, have time for ourselves, and enjoy a better quality and a more natural way of life.” After a trip to Costa Rica in 2003, they knew they wanted to move permanently to somewhere in Central America. “We missed living in nature, surrounded by nature,” Robert explains. “Central America seemed to have the natural lifestyle we were looking for.”

How to Retire at 41

How to Retire at 41

“We did a lot of research on which country was the best fit for us. We narrowed it down to Costa Rica, Belize, Uruguay, and Ecuador. All seemed to have something we were looking for. In the end, Costa Rica won out, at least for now, because it’s a fairly easy flight back to the U.S., the cost of living is still reasonable, and the locals—called Ticos—are very accepting.”

Less Stress, More Adventure Living Well in Costa Rica

Less Stress, More Adventure: Living Well in Costa Rica

Their vacations in tropical places left Denice and Robert Key wishing for more out of life and thinking, “What if…?” The couple had traveled throughout the Caribbean and Mexico when they were younger, and they could never quite escape the itch to retire early and move to a warm, exotic destination—something completely different from their Colorado home.

Why We Moved to Belize

“Why We Moved to Belize”

Ever since settling in the Toledo district of the country in 2005, Chris and his wife Sue have been surrounded by a tropical wonderland of flowers, trees and animals. Life is simpler in Belize. Unobtrusive government, healthy food, a friendly, laid-back population, and a cheap standard of living make life easier all-around, says Chris.

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