6 years ago this week I started a blog without much of a plan. I had moved to Ambergris Caye 4 years before – managed a bar for 3 and a half of those years – and was ready to get out and experience Belize. I’d barely been off this rock…
Note to all of those who dream of managing a beach bar on a Caribbean island – SPOILER ALERT: Running a bar on a Caribbean island, even with a gorgeous view of the ocean, is in no way relaxation. The phrase “I’m going to retire in Belize and buy a bar” is oxymoronic. Owning a tavern is taking on a full time job that probably has more hours and headaches then the one you had back in your home city or town. Inventory, employee management (and all that comes with that in the restaurant/bar business), LONG HOURS, extreme vigilance, intense competition, a new and probably foreign bureaucracy…you get the picture.
You are not just sitting around talking to customers and sipping rum punch. And you certainly are not by your pool all day, only returning at the end of the week to pick up a pile of money.
I wanted to explore this awesome country, take some pictures and write a diary. I really had no idea that so many people would tune in. I’ve had months with over 100,000 different readers from all over the world. Now that’s pretty crazy.
My life has changed immensely. I’ve moved from San Pedro town to 7 miles north Ambergris Caye – an area I used to consider “the bush” or “out in the sticks” and sometimes still do. I went from being single for years to having a boyfriend that I love. I went from being a crazy cat lady to being obsessed with my dog.
Isn’t Elsie glorious?
And – craziest change ever for someone who lived and worked in NYC – my whole outlook on life has changed. I try to focus on the positive…and actually find that makes me happier.
Seeing this amazing country from lots of different angles, trying tons of new things and meeting incredibly generous people from all different walks of life had that effect on me.
And this morning I got reminiscing about some of the things this blog has allowed me to do, places it has allowed me to stay, people it allowed me to meet. And here are some of my favorites in no particular order.
- Winning a Trip to Kerala, India to BLOG 12 Things I Did Not Expect At All in Kerala, India– A Belize blogger enters a contest to write about INDIA and is chosen, along with 29 other bloggers, from 1000 applicants.
In February/March of last year…it was a dream…my dream. INDIA!
- Staying at Gorgeous Resorts All Over the Country – I am SO grateful to have stayed at some of the most beautiful resorts in the country. From Hidden Valley Inn in the Mountain Pine Ridge to Francis Ford Coppola’s Turtle Inn, just this week!!! in Placencia to Chaa Creek in Cayo to a bunch on this very island. It’s been awesome and something that I never could have done on my own.
- Traveling the Country in Helicopter, Plane and Bus
- Going Back Stage at Concerts – All access passes at SEAN PAUL in Belize City and the Belikin Bash with Supa G– too crazy!
- Go to Festivals all Over – Mango Festival, Three Lobsterfests, Chocolate Festival. Barbecue Fest at Estel’s (YES, I’m upgrading it to a full blown festival) – I’m even going to be a Lobster judge at this weekend’s San Pedro Lobsterfest. Tasting over 20 Lobster dishes and not passing out is a feat in itself.
- Travel To Roatan, Honduras and Merida, Mexico and Guatemala, All From Belize
- Meeting Incredible People – Zoe and Paul who started and run to rehabilitate manatees and monkeys, Sharon, the founder, and Jamal at the world’s best zoo, Miss Emma, a tiny Phillippino woman in Southern Belize recreating the garden of Eden, Mick and Lucy who made Chaa Creek and now host kids from all over the country for summer camp, Kate and Ian who started Hickatee and ran the world’s largest commercial butterfly farm, HRH Prince Harry who let me touch his hand in Belmopan, Roni and the Scarlet Six who protect our wild scarlet macaws with their own lives, Clara Lee at the Hopkins Humane Society (why I am now smitten with a dog), Chef Sean Kuylen and Chef Jennie Staines, making Belizean food something the world should pay attention to, Miss Elvi who started Elvi’s Kitchen over 40 years ago…and so many artists and guides and people that love the crap out of this country and are so proud to show it off.
- Make Enough Money to Keep Doing It – Forget India, this may be the craziest part. I will never ever get rich doing it…I know that. But I didn’t move to Belize to get rich. Blue Water Grill was the very first business that asked me if they could advertise – they actually just wanted to sponsor me and help me make it a business. SO incredibly generous – and I will be forever grateful.
Ha. Now that I re-read this it sounds like my pretend Oscar speech. But I’m crazy grateful…for this huge and unexpected turn in my life. And for taking only about 40 years to find out that you really SHOULD do what makes you happy.
Someone should write a book about it – I think I’d called my short memoir “Blundering Towards Happiness” or perhaps “You Need to Try a Few Termites To Find Your True Happiness”.
I’m still trying them each time they are offered.