Everyone has a dream. If you are like most people, you may think that your dream must be postponed indefinitely until you complete the difficult tasks in life. After all, many people are conditioned to believe that life is hard. What if I told you it was all an illusion? Life is only as difficult as you make it.
Let us introduce ourselves: My name is Robin. I have been married to Rick for 33 years, and for many years we did what we needed to do. We got married, bought a house, raised two wonderful kids, watched them go to college and turn into wonderful adults, and worked and worked and worked. Don’t get me wrong, work is wonderful when it fulfills you and you can honestly say you would do your job with no pay at all. I was fortunate to be a 5th grade teacher, and I absolutely loved almost all of that job. Rick, on the other hand, was our main provider. He worked so hard for so many years, and we believe his health was compromised because of it. More on that later.
For years, we would watch those shows where happy couples are moving to exotic locations all around the world. Of course that could never be us. We were an average family making an average income and working hard. Life is supposed to be hard, after all. Those happy couples had something we didn’t, we were sure of it. While we could watch their stories and celebrate them, we could never hope to be them.
Ten years ago, we scrimped and saved and went on our first “fancy tropical vacation.” Prior to this, our big tropical event was Florida! We landed on St. Thomas and something clicked. While St. Thomas did not hold the appeal for full time living, we were hooked. We knew that one day we would find our fit. Once home, I began searching for other islands in the Caribbean to test out. We still never believed we could make an island our permanent home, but we set that intention and kept working toward that goal even when it felt like we were lying to ourselves. The next stop was intended to be Aruba. We still have not made it to Aruba. One day Rick came home with an article about this great place to visit and retire, with a huge American ex-pat population: Belize. “Where the heck is Belize?” We had to consult a map. It wasn’t long before we started planning a vacation there with our then 17 year old daughter and her friend. We rented a private condo on the outskirts of town, walked everywhere, bought food from vendors on the street and on the beach. We hopped in and out of boats that would shuttle us up and down the coast of this small island nestled just inside the reef. We went to the mainland and climbed on 2000 year old ruins. We found the Belizeans to be welcoming and kind. We found the island of Ambergris Caye to be “just right.”
Fast forward 9 years, and we are preparing for a permanent move to the island. It has been suggested to me a few times that I document the journey in a blog, so here it is. My ultimate goal is to inspire and entertain my reading audience. Ideally, you will reflect on what your dream is, and you will persevere in making it a reality.