Clever Incomes Mean More Leisure Time in Belize

Diana Snyder first visited Belize as an anthropology student.

“My first thought as I exited the plane was that someday I would live in a place as beautiful as this,” she says.

Today she does. Her home is on Ambergris Caye—the country’s largest island, set amid the blue Caribbean waters.

“I don’t know which I value more—the slower pace of life or the spectacular beauty of living on a tropical island,” says Diana, who spends about two hours a day running her online business…and the rest having fun.

“I wake up every morning after eight full hours of sleep to the sound of booming surf and birdsong. My first thought is of coffee, instead of email.

“My day starts with yoga, followed by coffee with friends, then a couple of hours on the laptop. Afternoons are for gardening, going into town, managing a vacation rental apartment I added last year, diving, fishing, sailing, or biking up the beach.

“The north coast is beautiful and moves at about half the speed of my former life. I like that I have to work with what is available in the grocery stores, plan my laundry by the weather, and take root cuttings for my garden instead of going to Home Depot.”

Nightlife in the island’s capital, San Pedro, is casual and fun, with rotating venues for live music, dancing, karaoke, trivia, and more restaurants than you can count.

Back in the U.S., Diana had too much on her plate. She craved a slower pace.

“I ran two businesses and a rental property, traveled constantly for work, shoveled snow half the year, and spent as much time as possible commuting to the ocean the other half,” she says.

“My businesses were exciting, but exhausting. I knew something had to give. I wasn’t looking to retire. I just wanted to rebalance my priorities. After a year of commuting, I sold my U.S. property, and weaned myself off of the workaholic treadmill.”

Before long Diana had transitioned into Ambergris Caye’s enviable island lifestyle. She retained one business, publishing and running courses and tutorials online.

These days she puts in about 10 hours per week. The reduction in work hours has allowed her to achieve a healthy, satisfying work-life balance. She has a decent stream of income she can rely on until she collects Social Security.

“I would not trade the beautiful Belize Barrier Reef, or my interesting friends and warmhearted neighbors, for anything,” says Diana. “I have an incomparable view of crashing waves every morning, from the beach. Snorkeling yesterday, I spent half an hour just watching four lionfish hunt.”

She can now find joy in simple pleasures, such as walking barefoot down the beach to shop at a store, or at a friend’s.

Diana realizes how fortunate she is. “I’m very grateful to have found such a flexible way to earn a living. At one time, I ran my business from a sailboat. I have never regretted the decision to downsize and move my business to Ambergris Caye.”

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