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.

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.

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.”

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...