We Restarted Our Lives in Belize

Veronique McKenzie didn’t exactly choose to make her home in Belize…more like, Belize chose her.

In her former life, Veronique was working in sales, marketing, and advertising, splitting her time between Chicago, New York and Los Angeles. Her job gave her the opportunity for plenty of travel…but as the years progressed, she knew she needed to make a change. She considered moving to Marseilles in France where she is originally from…but before she did that, she decided to take a vacation.

That vacation brought her to Belize…and to her new life. She fell in love with the beauty of Belize and the warmth of its people. She left Belize after her vacation…but the tiny country never left her mind.

It felt like fate was calling her back to Belize…a feeling that was proven right on her return. Within weeks of returning to Belize for an extended stay, she met her husband Lance. Though the pair had been practically neighbors in LA, it took that trip to Belize for them to meet.

The couple now live with their two daughters in Placencia, a small but very popular seaside town turned tourist destination. Often referred to as the “barefoot village,” Placencia is truly a place where you can kick off your shoes and just relax.

It’s easy to see what’s drawing vacationers and expats alike to this laid-back town. It boasts 16 miles of clean sandy beaches facing out onto warm Caribbean waters…20 dive spots to explore Belize’s world-famous, sea-life filled barrier reef…mangrove forests and a stunning freshwater lagoon…and views of the Maya mountain chain.

And though the residents of Placencia—both local and expat—are keen to hold onto the small-town feeling of the place, that doesn’t mean it’s under-developed. There are a host of amenities on your doorstop here: a smattering of boutique hotels by the beach…bars serving cocktails…upscale restaurants offering gourmet meals from around the world—Chinese, Thai and Japanese to name a few…modern grocery stores…and more.

But though they’re more relaxed these days, Lance and Veronique haven’t completely slowed down. Today they own Caribbean Tour and Travel—one of the first certified tourism businesses in Placencia, Belize.

They may be still working—but even that feels easier in Belize.

“The stress of running a business could be depressing for some people,” explains Veronique. “But, for me, being depressed is impossible in all of this sunshine.”

And though Veronique’s love of Belize shines through, she advises anyone who is thinking of making the move to research all that it has to offer. “People often visit a country on vacation and fall in love with its beauty,” she says. “But, it takes time to really understand a country and it isn’t just about beauty.”

Of course, if you feel an irresistible draw to Belize, Veronique isn’t going to argue with you. As she discovered for herself, it might just be your destiny.

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