Rat Races and Moving to Belize

Image credit: https://www.pexels.com/@dsd-143941

Image credit: https://www.pexels.com/@dsd-143941

Remember that week-long vacation I mentioned?

Done. One week in Belize with a side trip to Guatamala.

My friend and I stayed in jungle lodges and guesthouses, forded streams on foot, took a day-long caving trip, bathed in rainwater, followed residents on impromptu hikes to unknown destinations, and hopped on boats with locals. On many occasions, we felt glad our mothers didn't know what we were up to. (Sorry, Mom! But hey: I came back alive!)

I highly recommend pushing your boundaries with travel. (Don't get me wrong: I love taking time to relax and rejuvenate, too.) We learned a lot about ourselves and the places we visited.

And we learned that many Belizean locals aren't natives.

We met people from El Salvador and Guatemala who'd relocated to Belize for job opportunities and a better economy. (Interesting aside: In Belize, they have the same immigration debates we have in the States.)

And we met people from first-world countries—England, the United States, France, Canada—who'd chucked it all and moved to Belize. One couple hadn't even visited the country before relocating from England with two dogs. They purchased property in the Cayo District, fixed it up, and decided to invite tourists. Another couple visited Caye Caulker from Indiana and decided to move there to start a yoga retreat. (By the way, a hotel rooftop watching the sun set on the Caribbean Sea is the perfect place to do yoga.)

I don't know what the lives of these two couples were like before they moved to Belize. But other first-world relocaters we met had run to Belize to escape the stress of their previous lives.

Do people need to toss it all to escape the rat race?

Although it's possible to change one or three things and shift focus to decelerate and shake off pressure, a person has cultivated his current life—house, work, business and social networks, hobbies—in his most recent framework. Everyone expects a certain demeanor or activity from him. His environment encourages old habits.

It's easier to overhaul than adjust.

In many cases, addicts, criminals, and people who have lost weight relapse due to environmental factors.

People can drop pounds, addictions, and criminal activity in health spas, detox facilities, and prisons. When deemed "rehabilitated" or "set on a good path," they return to places where their friends use drugs, eat copious fast foods, and undertake illegal activities and where their routines remind them of an awesome high, the criminal thrill, and a prework stop at McDonalds for an Egg McMuffin.

Familiar environments encourage familiar lifestyles.

The rat race not a "bad habit" for everyone. Yet some people want to get off the track. So is there a way to step out of the rat race without jumping into an entirely new world? I'm not sure.

What do you think?

(And before you worry: I'm in no way needing to escape the rat race. I'm happy just where I am!)