Many People Leave Belize?
People leave Belize? I have heard stats that say “more than 50% of expats leave after a year”, or other stats that indicate, “as many as 80% of the expats that come to Belize leave within two years”. While I guess either, or even both stats could be true, I admit I can’t find an official documented number, and I don’t truly know what that actual percentage is. What I can tell you from talking to the locals and those people who have stayed is this, they generally can remember more expats that have left than expats that have stayed.
Why do so many people leave Belize?
The answer to this question does not seem to be cut and dry. Especially since, the reasons that some people leave Belize, are the same reasons that other people want to stay. Surely people have read on the websites and blogs where we all advise people to;
- Do your research
- Visit for extended periods, not just short vacations.
- Rent, don’t buy initially.
- Curb your expectations
and so on, and so on. So why are so many people so surprised or sometimes even disappointed when life is not the same here in Belize as it was back in Canada or the US?
Which People Are Sure To Leave Belize?
You will recognize the people that are destined to fail in their pursuit of happiness in Belize. These are usually the people you hear complaining about things in general, or arguing with a clerk or official that the process is ridiculous, or saying things like “that’s not the way we do it back in Canada”. Those are usually the people that become a statistic and eventually those people leave Belize.
Principles of Paradise, IMHO.
How do you avoid becoming a statistic? Now let me say that we have only been in Belize for almost a year. So I am still in that under two year period, so I may not be the authority yet on what it takes to make it in Belize or why so many people leave Belize. I do think however that this question needs to be addressed. I don’t mean to over simplify this issue but I am betting that if you adopt these basic principles as we have, you will certainly increase your chances at being successful.
- Adapt ~ Embrace the new culture including its differences. It is not reasonable to expect to have the best of both worlds. You cannot expect a slower more laid back lifestyle today, and then be upset tomorrow that something will take three weeks to get done. If you cannot accept this you might as well get in the line when people leave Belize.
- Accept ~ Do not try to change the procedures to match what you left behind in Canada. Learn to accept the way things are done and find a way to comply, or find another solution to your problem. “That’s not the way we do it back home”, is a futile and an irrelevant argument in Belize or any other foreign country. You must be able to go with the flow, realize that you cannot change things and instead of asking why, say to yourself, as I sometimes do, “it is what it is”
- Appreciate ~ If you can truly appreciate the simple life and give up your malls, creature comforts, and other material things like your front row seats at the theater, or your professional hockey, baseball, and football tickets, and appreciate that if you are lucky, things like brilliant sunsets, colorful flowers, a smiling child, walks on the beach, meeting a friend (new or old), or maybe an occasional boat ride to the reef will become the highlight of your days. If you can appreciate the little things in life, you will have a better chance of finding happiness in Belize.
- Awareness ~ I believe awareness goes beyond doing your research or due diligence. I believe that it is important to do all of those things and to realize that the things you hear about like mañana time (island time) or gringo pricing are real and do exist.Or when you read that a construction project can cost much more than quoted, or can take much longer to complete then promised, or that the quality of healthcare, internet, and most products from appliances to toilet paper is not as good here as you may be used to, believe it and know that you are not the exception to the rule, and it is highly unlikely that you have some secret solution to absolve you of these facts.
In My Humble Opinion
IMHO the reason so many people leave Belize comes down to one common thing that encompasses all of the reasons above and many more. Yes, it is important to do all the research that is documented in the blogs and on the websites like this. It is not only important to ask yourself, why Belize? It is just as important to ask, why not Belize? But, the most important thing to research first, is yourself. Know yourself and be aware of who you are, know what you need to be happy while keeping in mind that happiness is found within who you are, and not where you go. If you will have a hard time with any or all of principles 1, 2, and/or 3, you may have a hard time finding happiness in Belize, and may eventually find yourself on that flight out when people leave Belize.
Here is another great article on this topic from Robert J. Hawkins on his blog Bound for Belize. Follow Robert too, he is another great source on day to day life in Belize and, the “unbelizeable truth”.
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