When I first moved to San Pedro, Belize, I did not know what would come of my future. Would I come and go, like most people who experience wanderlust? Would I spend the rest of my life in the Caribbean, spearfishing my dinner and sipping drinks out of coconuts on the beach? The truth is, I had no idea.
A Very Different Way of Life
I was 26 years old with no family, no obligations, and a background in hedge fund single-family acquisitions. Upon arrival at Ambergris Caye, it was apparent to me that this place was quite different from the hustle and bustle that I had experienced in the concrete jungle of Dallas, TX. People drove by in golf carts and on dirt bikes while locals and tourists alike flip-flopped around the town taking pictures and trying street food. Iguanas and chickens raced for their lives across the busy town roads, replacing squirrels with a more colorful variation.
First Things First
The first thing I did was go down to the beach and crack open a local Belikin Beer. I awed at the crystal-clear water and teeming coral reef just a few 100 yards of the coastline. As I settled into the view, my mind began to run around the things that might come to be from this life-changing experiment. Would I become the international real estate agent that I was determined to become?, or would I become addicted to the laid-back island lifestyle and slowly disappear from the distant world that I had left behind? Would I meet the woman of my dreams and start a family?, or would I become lonely and miss my family and friends? It turns out that all of these questions would come to pass in some way or another.
I seemingly instantly began to make new friends as I settled into my Sales Executive role at a private development on the southern side of the island. I realized that many had come to San Pedro with the same passion, excitement, and questions that I had within myself. I met people from all over the world who had similar ambitions, and I learned that these people were also in search for more out of life. Many were refugees from the “rat race”, some were business people on a mission, and others were explorers who craved adventure and change. I myself could relate to both of these types of travelers, and it really made me feel at home. As time passed at work, I was unaware that my future wife and mother of my daughter was sitting just a few desks away. Laura and I shared similar philosophies about life, and she and I would talk and laugh about the world from the perspective of an expatriate. We found solace in the fact that neither of us knew what was going on “back in the 1st world”, and that neither of us cared AT ALL! It was so nice just to detach from the chaos that was seemingly prevailing throughout our home county, and even more enjoyable to be able to laugh about it!
A Big Surprise
As the months went by, Laura and I began to date seriously. What started as a friendship had evolved into a connection like no other that I had experienced before. A few years later, I would learn through a facetime call that she and I were going to be expecting a baby! Never once did I think that I would move to Belize single, meet the girl of my dreams, and start a family in another country other than my own! Like most parents know, the birth of our daughter was the most special (and stressful) moment of our lives. Our 6-week premature baby Daisy was born completely healthy, and today, at 22 months old, she enjoys long walks on the beach and dancing to loud reggae music. Our incredible babysitter Myrah has been helping us with Daisy since she was 3 months old. She and her family have become family to us all.
A New Perspective
Although we surely miss our families back in the USA, we are blessed to be only a short 2-hour flight to Florida any time we want to see each other. It is never difficult to convince people to come to visit us in Belize. What is better is that when family and friends leave this beautiful country, they return to the USA or Canada with a fresh perspective on life and new ideas about what is important. They have philosophical revelations ranging from the cost of living to instant gratification to the meaning of life. If you’re looking for a change in your life, if you’re a young family looking for a fresh start with new opportunities, or if you’re a single person looking to have a great time, Ambergris Caye might be the best place in the world to start your new life journey. And who knows? You may just receive the biggest blessings of your life.
Written By: Elliott McAllister