It’s been far too long since we’ve been graced with an Expat Interview. I’ve got to get better at recruiting! We like to gather a good mix of expats to profile because we aren’t a one-size-fits-all crowd… no! We come from all walks of life, at different stages in our stories, and from all around the globe. Today we’re going to hear from April about her journey to expat life in Placencia. I’ve dubbed her our Single-White-Female expat because she’s mainly done this all on her own as her roommate has been delayed in her transition to Belize.
Who was April before her move to Belize?
I was a single gal, just living with a roommate and some bunnies and guinea pigs. Had no real familial ties, being an only child and my mother had passed in 2019. I had always known I would leave the States at some point, didn’t realize it would be possible in my 50’s.
When and Why did you decide to move to Belize?
It was an epiphany moment…it involved cocktails at The Pickled Parrot and Google…you know how when you go on vacation and say “man, I could totally live here?: Well, me drunk with Google….I found out we actually totally could!! And the journey began….
What plans and preparations did you make to transition your life from California to Placencia?
Well, since the epiphany came in Dec 2019, preparations were challenging to say the least, due to a little thing that happened called The COVID19 Pandemic. I took 4 trips down here during the pandemic (from Oct 2020-Feb 2022) to secure a rental. I had to get approvals from 2 different govt offices in Mexico to bring my guinea pig Jupiter thru. Most airlines haven’t returned to pre-COVID rules of pets flying, so we had to fly into Cancun then travel by transport down thru Mexico and thru Belize to Placencia. It was an adventure and we had already had to leave our bunnies behind so Jupiter was worth the effort and adventure. He was a perfectly behaved and mellow travel companion!!
What are the greatest advantages to living in Placencia now? (is it cost of living, lifestyle, dating?!?)
Dating…people date here??? When does that happen? Do I need to take a class or sign up for a facebook group for this?? Can you put a link to my WhatsApp in this interview for me? For me, my health has improved. I just passed a year of being here on October 15th and I’ve lost over 50lbs without trying. My Parkinson’s is being held at bay, but walking everywhere is still doable.
Mentally, I cant even quantify it. I feel like I left all my stress at the border in Santa Elena when we crossed!! I take 1/3 of the antidepressants I used to take. All those, combined with the cost of living vs. California is awesome.
What are the least desirable elements about expat life in your opinion? (especially as a woman)
I can actually say, nothing actually pops out at me that I am lacking. Since I can buy a bottle of Starbucks Frappuccino and Goldfish crackers, I can survive. Occasionally, I will literally “forget” I’m here and think “I’m gonna go get a Big Mac value meal.” Then when I realize I’m here, I say “I’m gonna go to Strange Brew and have a burger, fries, and a Landshark…and maybe an order of cheese dip!! As I always say taking in any view here, ”It doesn’t suck!!”
Do you see yourself staying in Placencia indefinitely or pursuing a new adventure somewhere else in the world or returning to California eventually?
I’ll answer the last part first….NEVER MOVING BACK!!! The US…well, read a paper. Gas is $7/gal (it was around $5 when I left a year ago!) My roomie and I looked at other neighboring places such as Roatan or Utila or someplace (not Cancun!) in Quintana Roo state of Mexico after our initial vacation here in Dec 2019. But our hearts were always bringing us back here.
What advice would you give to someone, especially another SWF, considering a similar move?
Be prepared for many to be smitten with you…for a moment. But you will make friends easier than you might in the States. You have to figure, any expats here have a very big thing in common with you—seeking a better quality of life outside our native country. And the Belizean people are such a warm and welcoming breed, its hard not feel right at home. Although I moved here with a roommate, she left back to the states a month after we got here. She was gone for 11 months…almost to the day!! So I had to create my own social network. I did have a slight advantage as I knew a few people from my multiple
trips prior to the actual move. But the expats here are welcoming with hints and drink companions both!! Its not for everybody, our friends back home still think we are batshit crazy….and although that is probably true, it has little to do with moving here!!