What I've learned in this past year....
Travel is by far one of the best teachers we should all allow ourselves to seize. I found that the world does not actually conform to all the snazzy theories we read about in books or online. The world runs on people.
Even though history teaches us that there are geo-political differences among us, I have learned that human beings all over the world are fundamentally the same.
Many friends and family who are closet to me describe my living philosophy established in a free spirit mindset. Being free-spirited means having the courage to not only follow your dreams, but to also take the time to figure out who we really are – which is arguably a very difficult and soul searching journey. It involves taking the time to unearth secret passions that maybe you didn't even know you had – and then taking the plunge to follow those passions.
This expedition has inspired me to continually live in the moment. It's easy for me to spend too much time in my own head which hinders connections with the things around me. Engaging with the people, places, and things during my time in Belize has helped me find that my reactions to those events are suddenly a lot more authentic. Being an active participant in life has allowed me to be immersed in the thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors of those around me through a deep place within me. I have realized beauty in every moment and in everyday activities. This is a conscious act that requires participation, not just observation, and the reward is a richer, fuller life. When I realize that I am a branch of every moment that I've lived through, I can say that I am "almost there". As I stop wondering how I can belong to those things I encounter daily and just live the experience, it helps me feel that I am immersed in these experiences called "life".
Don't zone out; zone in. Do things that are active, and that encourage you to look around and engage the world in that moment. I have learned to be truly thankful for whatever life brings my way. When you find yourself wishing for something you don't have, or wishing your life would be different, start your quest for your wish by being thankful for what is already in your life. This will bring you back to the present moment.
I have been quite honored to receive feedback from those who have followed me this past year to achieve a more meaningful life. Recently a friend whom I've known for over 30 years wrote this post on my Facebook page:
"Quite a while back I became very interested in a blog written by my friend Tracey Devlin. .... She is a single woman, who sold; stored, or donated almost all of her worldly possessions and moved to Belize. 'A Year in Belize' continues to fascinate me. She captures the true flavor of the country with her writings and pictures. I continue to be awestruck. I 'Belize' you will be too!"
In order to truly understand a culture, you must immerse yourself into it. This final post of my time in Belize has been delayed while I worked out the personal challenge of being robbed while I was living out my dream. This event ultimately cut my year long journey a few months shorter than what I had anticipated. The thief did not just steal personal possessions and feelings of safety, but he stole my joy. When joy is jeopardized, the magic leaves. Being away from the island for a few months has restored the magic I felt and it will live forever within me. My tan has faded but the memories I experienced living in Belize never will.
The sand, surf, tastes, smells and friends on this one-year journey will never be forgotten. I was blessed to meet people from every class of life and from the four corners of the world. I adored the pace of life in Belize. Life in this country is not necessarily the best the quality by USA standards, but the Country is trying very hard to offer new, safe, unique and expanding experiences. Learning to live without certain conveniences was challenging as well as rewarding. But I did it.
I have no regrets what-so-ever about taking this plunge and following a dream. Every experience was worth every moment of life there. I was not at all disillusioned but always amazed by daily learning experiences. I know in my heart that I shall return again someday soon.