Today I’m leaving North Carolina to live in Belize for three months. More specifically, on Belize’s largest atoll, Ambergris Caye. I’m not totally certain what to expect, but I’m super excited. And nervous—of course nervous. Leaving the familiarities of home is never easy, but it’s worth it!
First thing first, I double check my travel itinerary and shove my extra stock of creature comforts into my bag. I like to pack a few extra toiletries and food items that I know from experience I can’t always find while I’m traveling. Things like organic toothpaste, my particular brand of face wash, and, most importantly, a few bars of my favorite chocolate.
After that, it’s out the door and off to the airport. Thankfully, flights to Belize are short, so I arrive in no time. I took a quick nap and, before I knew it, we were ready to land. I looked down from the window just in time to catch a glimpse of the most brilliantly blue water, fine white sand, and lush green jungle. My heart is racing.
As the plane touches down, my fellow passengers and I climb down the steps directly onto the tarmac, blinking into the dazzling daylight. Smiling faces point us in the right direction and we walk inside under a colorful sign welcoming us to the country.
Getting through customs goes a bit slowly—as things in developing countries often do—but there are no issues as officials stamp my passport for my stay. Knowing imported goods can get expensive in other countries, I swing by duty free before jumping on a small prop plane from Belize City over to the island.
San Pedro is bustling! I immediately take to the town. I love the mix of cars, golf carts, bicycles, and pedestrians that fill the streets, and I’m enchanted by the diversity that the island offers. Although English is the nation’s established language, I can also hear people speaking Spanish with a small mix off creole.
A cheap $5 USD cab ride delivers me to my new digs—the Grand Baymen Gardens. They’re gorgeous. Set back off the street, the space is very quiet and I’m able to get an apartment facing the sunset, as well as the airstrip. I can’t wait to make use of the resort’s pool and, hopefully, the gym as well.
I quickly unpack and get straight down to my first order of business—finding some food. I love to cook, so I head to the nearest grocery store to see what’s available on the island. I’m delighted to find that there are some very delicious options, and I grab the necessities like goat cheese and Greek olives before heading into town to take care of my next task...buying a bike.
I want to explore this little piece of paradise and I’m counting on the breeze from a bicycle to keep me cool while I do it. Luckily, every hardware store in town sells almost the same product, and I have no trouble picking out a pink beach cruiser. The clerk helps me attach my new basket (where else would I carry my goat cheese and olives?) and I’m out the door. Tomorrow we’ll see where these wheels can take me.