The decision has been made. You’re moving to Belize, spending your golden years in an aquamarine and golden paradise. You visited – once, twice, or a dozen times – and just could not shake the sense that you had stepped back in time. Everywhere you looked you could see the handiwork of the Maya and after a while, began to feel as though you were living in both the past and the present. Haunted by what life might be like in Belize, you have committed to becoming part of that timeless slice of the world.
Sure, there are practical issues to which you must attend. You may need to check out real estate in Belize, figure out which area appeals to you most, find a doctor you trust, and allow the folks back home to throw you a bon voyage party. Like any move, you’ll be making a list (and checking it several times).
While it may not feel like an immediate priority, you will eventually want to create a plan for making new friends on your new island home. Ask any expat and you will likely hear that a vibrant social life is one of the perks they enjoy most while living in their home away from home.
Be Open with your Realtor
Your Realtor is more than the person who will show you houses for sale. Your Realtor is also your first link to your new home. The person best able to help you find your place in your new community. Be honest about what you’re hoping to find in Belize. If you would prefer a low-key life with a few close acquaintances, that desire may impact the neighborhoods you are shown. If, however, you dream of a vibrant social life with dozens of new friends to call your own, let your Realtor know. He or she can give you the inside scoop on the best gathering spots, social groups, and ways to network. Your Realtor will also let you know about local traditions. Such as whether it is customary to introduce yourself to your new neighbors.
Utilize Expatriate Groups
A quick online check indicates dozens of online groups, dedicated to making the Belizean expatriate experience more pleasant. These folks know what life is going to be like once you have unpacked your bags. Most expatriates are more than happy to share their hard-earned experience. After all, they were newbies at one time too. There is something quite satisfying about passing knowledge onto the next group of settlers. Most towns boast their own expatriate meetings, offering you a chance to meet people from all over the globe.
Focus on the Things you Enjoy
Do you enjoy music, art museums, or learning new languages? No matter what tickles your brain, take part in those activities once you have settled into your new home. It doesn’t matter if you relocate to New York, Los Angeles, Topeka, or Belize. Making friends is easiest to do while pursuing your own passions. Once you’re comfortable, find out about volunteer opportunities. There is nothing like volunteering when it comes time to plant roots in the community.
The truth is, you have embarked on the experience of a lifetime. A little pre-planning can help you find a niche to call your own.