For years, I dreamed about moving overseas to a tropical climate. I was drawn to the Caribbean beaches of Mexico, Panama, and Brazil…but every time I read an article about Belize, something inside me lit up.
It reminded me of my childhood in south Florida. I imagined myself swinging idly in a hammock and taking long walks along the shore. I dreamed of exploring the colorful reefs and indulging my passion for diving and underwater photography.
Last year, I took a scouting trip to Belize. As a single female traveler, I’ll admit I was a bit scared. But the minute I landed in Ambergris Caye, an island about 12 miles off Belize’s northern coast, I knew it would be my next home.
Fresh fruit and vegetable stands line every street. Trendy restaurants, cafés, and beach bars are plentiful—and you can find a live band any day of the week. I felt safe exploring the island, even at night. The locals are friendly and the expats are welcoming. In fact, it took no time at all to find the perfect rental just by word of mouth (a beautiful, fully furnished, two-bedroom villa for just $1,200—about half of what I was paying back home).
I immediately flew home to sell my business, say goodbye to my family, and pack up a few essentials. I couldn’t wait to get back to Belize and start my new life.
Ambergris Caye is a bustling island with no shortage of activities. When I feel like scuba diving, I simply walk to the dive shop next door. The world’s second-largest barrier reef sits just yards offshore. I used to save all year for a week-long scuba diving vacation. Now I can go anytime the mood strikes and it’s only $60 for a two-tank dive. I have taken hundreds of photos of eels, sharks, turtles, and graceful spotted eagle rays.
There are miles of unspoiled beaches to explore and getting around is done by golf cart, which is not only fun but inexpensive. I pay $25 for a full tank of gas, which lasts me about two weeks. Just the other day, a friend and I packed a picnic, hopped in my cart and set out to discover all the quaint local bars hidden among the palms on the north end of the island. We sipped frozen rum punch, chatted with the locals, gathered seashells, and caught a spectacular sunset on our ride home.
I was a little concerned about making new friends in a foreign country. Thankfully, I had no reason to worry. The expats here are so welcoming and we all have a lot in common. My new friends and I get together several times a week for wine tasting events, painting classes, aerial yoga, and snorkeling adventures. Next week a few of us are heading to a jungle lodge on the mainland to explore Maya ruins, climb waterfalls, and tube in rivers that wind their way through ancient caves.
My villa is conveniently located just minutes from the bustling downtown area of San Pedro. I love being able to pedal my bike into town to grab a quick lunch from one of the carts that line the street or stop by my favorite beach bar for half-price drinks at happy hour. I get a massage from a wonderful Belizean woman every week in a breezy little palapa (an open-sided straw hut) by the sea. It’s only $40 and one of the best I’ve ever had.
After making this big move, I felt compelled to help other women face their fears and live their grandest dream so I started a lifestyle coaching business aptly named “A Passionate Dream Life.” Now I hold group coaching classes online and take women on exotic transformation retreats around the world. I’m even planning to bring groups to Belize starting later this year.
Last year’s scouting trip, when I decided to make Ambergris my new home, seems like such a long time ago. My friends back home drool over every crimson sunset or underwater photo I share. I feel more relaxed and alive than I ever have and I wake up every day ready for a new adventure.
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