12 Things the World Can Learn From Belize
Can a small nation impart values and set examples so valuable, it can serve as a model for the rest of the world? You bet. Especially a nation like Belize. This jewel in the Central American crown offers visitors, ex-pats and residents a way of life that’s unparalleled, so it’s easy to bridge the gap between philosophy and lifestyle by matching the words of sages, legends and poets with this nation’s sensibilities.
1. Don’t be afraid to be adventurous by moving to a new nation and making it your home. Philosopher Henry David Thoreau says not to worry about building castles in the air because we are all capable of putting foundations under them—inspiration enough to put down roots in a new condo, build a small house or simply vacation in Belize to discover what ‘the good life’ really means.
2. Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see.” That philosophy, the essence of spirituality, is celebrated throughout Belize where entrepreneurs, retirees and families use the nation’s wealth of natural resources and sensible governance to live thoughtful, productive and purpose-filled lives in a society that invites contributions from people of all walks of life.
3. Go “where you are celebrated, not tolerated,” advises a wise but anonymous sage. Diversity in Belize life is worthy of United Nations recognition. All strata of society co-exists in this lovely nation where you would have to search long and hard for discrimination because no fewer than eight predominant ethnic groups (residents and visitors) have discovered the secret of living in harmony.
4. Eric Butterworth’s suggestion, “Don’t go through life, grow through life”could be Belize’s motto, serving as a salute to the growing community of retirees who admit that it took very little adjustment to settle into the Belize lifestyle and explore new adventures. Retirees aren’t hesitant to enthuse that the western adage, “You’re too old to learn new tricks,” simply does not apply to life in a country founded on healthy growth.
5. Warren Buffett said, if people don’t plant trees, there would be no shade. Preserving this nation’s natural heritage is a mission the Belize government doesn’t take lightly. Examine ecological wonders sprawling across the land and understand the true covenant that exists between Mother Nature, the government and the people: from caves and waves to a tropical rainforest, ecology in Belize is a monument to ethical responsibility.
6. “Be like the turtle; at ease in your own shell.” Bill Copeland authored the quote, but Belize can take credit for nurturing wildlife and treating all species within its borders with reverence and care. Hundreds of species of wildlife roam the nation, from exotic foxes, armadillos, tapirs, crocodiles and paca to white tail deer, bats and squirrels. There are more than 200 types of bird. Noah would be delighted by life lessons Belize teaches!
7. Hosea Ballou believes that tears of joy, like summer rain, are always pierced by sunbeams. His words exemplify the remarkable weather Belizeans enjoy. No tears when power bills arrive, either, since this nation’s moderate climate and extensive shoreline invite people to discover what it’s like to live without heating and cooling bills that crash and burn household budgets.
8. Throw your dreams into space like a kite? Yes, says author Anais Nin, who writes that metaphorical kites can return to earth with a new life, even a new country. It’s no secret that people immigrate to Belize because taxes are low, crime is low and the standard of living is high, but not everyone knows that this nation represents second chances, which may be why so many people settle there.
9. Julia Child said that cooking, like love, requires wild abandon. There’s nothing tame or conservative about foods, wines and emerging culinary traditions emanating from Belize as the nation bursts with small and large business start-ups devoted to the land’s unique culinary traditions. From vineyards and breweries to world-class restaurants, a unique school of cooking is emerging that’s as rich and colorful as Belizean culture.
10. We are doomed to repeat history if we don’t learn from it, said George Santayana, and Belize isn’t about to compromise its Maya ruins, dating back to 350 BC. Some governments have allowed priceless, irreplaceable treasures to be lost, destroyed or stolen, but this nation’s mandate—to preserve and protect this rich cultural history—says much about a country that understands some things can be lost forever if they’re not safeguarded.
11. When we realize how good things are, joy happens. That Marianne Williamson quote is an ideal homage to Belize where joy is a direct result of peace, tranquility and good health enjoyed by its people. From the language—English—to a stable currency and sensible resettlement options, even real estate laws give those wishing to relocate options: tourist card, Qualified Retired Person Program or permanent resident.
12. George Bernard Shaw said, we don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing! There’s no danger of that in Belize where play is an everyday expectation, 365 days a year. Indigenous crafts, snorkeling, sailing, excavating, reading, cooking, exploring and socializing are just the beginning. Play? The word was coined in Belize!