- Name: Drew Travers
- Occupation: Retired
- Current Location: Placencia, Belize
- Originally From: US
- Expat Locations: Belize
- Website: http://traversbelize.blogspot.com/
- Twitter: belizedrew
How did you become an expat, and why?
In the spring of 2001, I spent 4 months on sabbatical leave working as a volunteer in a clinic in Punta Gorda, Belize. Every 7 years of my faculty appointment at Maine-Dartmouth Family Medicine Residency Program qualified me for this paid leave to do service work/teaching.
I had been to Belize very briefly in 1985, on my way to do relief work in El Salvador after a big earthquake. Since then I had always wanted to go back to Belize and really explore it… and this was the perfect opportunity. During my 4 months working in the Hillside Clinic in Punta Gorda, I had weekends free to travel around and check out this small Central American country.
Although we had no intention of doing ANYTHING of the sort, we ended up buying property on the Placencia Peninsula. For 3 years, we came down to our beach every few months and stayed in Cabanas we had built. These cabanas soon took on a “life of their own,” and we started renting them out to friends & co-workers. So, The Maine Stay was born and has even expanded. Our beach cabana rental business is booming. And the Placencia Peninsula is exploding with development. There were no condos and very few “high end” homes when we first came here… now there are more than 1000!
I officially “retired” mid 2004 and have been here full time since. Karen came down full time late in 2004 and although retired from full-time work, continues her part-time consulting in health care. The wonders of high speed internet communications! We sold our home in Wiscasset to our daughter, Kristen and her husband (and one of our 2 grandsons, Tate). So the family “homestead” in Maine continues in its third generation.
The lagoon land (that happened to come along with the purchase of our 400 feet of beach front) has become Kokomo… our 7 acre gated community with 28 lots, marina and canal. These are selling well and new construction is ongoing. The beach cabanas “almost” take care of themselves, but it has been a very large expenditure in energy, time and money to get the Kokomo community developed. We just thought we were “retired!”
There are tons of photo links to give you a real “flavor” of what we are doing. Belize is our home now, and, despite the normal “ups and downs” of doing something like this, we don’t regret a minute of it.
Where else have you been an expat?
Only in Belize.
Best piece of expat advice you’ve received?
Most of what you are told about how something needs to be done, has to be taken with a grain of salt… that’s a paraphrase from numerous conversations and has proven to be true for us.
Best piece of expat advice you’d give?
I doubt there is an expat anywhere who hasn’t been told that they need to plan more money than they think they will need. And, for the most part, this is probably true… but should not be a source of discouragement. With patience and discipline, our attitudes about how we live change and adjust. There are many things you think you will need that you won’t and some things you’ll want that you never expected!
Favorite expat related web sites?
Are you planning or dreaming of a move? Are you going home instead? Where to and why?
Can’t quite imagine going somewhere else now… but we probably should at least dream more about it!
Tell us more about what you do in your location?
Between our Cabana rental business and our land development and sales, it really doesn’t always seem like “retirement.” But, I also doubt we would be happier if we were less “busy.” The days are filled with projects… landscaping, marina development, cabana improvements, web marketing, accounting… and more!
Would you recommend your current location to other expats?
The Placencia Peninsula is the perfect combination of tropical and ocean paradise… still a third world country, but making the transition. Not too remote, reliable services and improving infrastructure.
What is the expat community like where you are?
Loose knit… friendly and quite active in the community. Lots of effort being put toward sustainable ecologically sound development.
Anything you’d like to add?
Clearly, expat life is not for everyone. But it’s probably much more “doable” in an area like the Placencia Peninsula.
Thank you, Drew for participating in our Expat Spotlight! We wish you success and happiness in your current location, and wherever your dreams and business endeavors take you.