2022 was a really tough year for me. It would be my first full year living in Belize after taking two years to bike here from Canada. Arriving here in Belize I would end up facing challenges that I could never have had to imagine. I had a sense that my first year would be a real challenge but nothing could have prepared me for 2022. Most of my challenges revolved around intentional deceit, lying, and theft from people here in this country. Combined with the lifestyle challenges of living in a tropical developing country and my extreme isolation of being completely on my own through all of these challenges made for a very tough year. You can read all about my first year HERE.
Coming into my fifth month of the year 2023 I wanted to take a moment to articulate where I am at mentally and what I have been working on and other relevant details. As anticipated this year has been much better even though last year’s challenges continue to follow me and almost none of the priorities for 2022 have yet to be accomplished. That is except for my internet connection. At the time of writing this, I have been waiting on or working on a proper internet connection for over 17 months. In early February an internet company attempted to hook me up. After multiple attempts to connect me, it was determined the only way I was going to get an internet connection was to install my own tower because of the surrounding high tree canopy. Even the process of getting a tower and having it installed would prove itself to be challenging in only a way that it could be here in Belize. The tower installation would ultimately take 55 days but the fact that you are reading this post verifies that I am now connected to the World Wide Web. That being said because at the time of writing this post, I am without internet my frame of mind is one of a person who has been without internet for over 17 months. [This last paragraph was edited after the fact for the purposes of this post. This is an April 30, 2023 update but I finally got my internet connection on June 2, 2023. See below for a link to that blog post.]
Mentally I am doing much better this year compared to last year. While none of my challenges have been solved and many of the challenges are not going away anytime soon, I am “releasing” these situations in an effort not to be stressed out by them. Last year insomnia was a real challenge. So far this year I have been sleeping much better. While I am not lonely being by myself in the jungle; last year with everything on my shoulders and having no one to help carry the burden the extreme isolation that I experienced was not healthy. That being said, I have adapted quite well to my isolation and find myself embracing my isolation. I get just enough interactions from the village and the occasional bike tour guest that life is good as an isolated person.
Coming into May we have had only one rainfall since the end of January. Last year from the end of May until January we had too much rain and then bang, no rain except for one rain shower in the last three months. Last year’s rainy season and this year’s dry season have been tough on all my seedling trees and planting.
These last few months I have been busy with two main focuses. I have been very busy painting the greenhouse, the apartment, and the internet tower. I also rebuilt a section of my rear house deck. Last year I pulled some boards off my deck in an attempt to investigate the unusual sinking of deck boards. This “investigation” revealed a premature rotting deck. My solution would be to replace the rotting deck with a concrete deck. I would also decide to eliminate a good-sized section of the rear deck permanently as its absence would not affect the aesthetics of the house. A sudden decision earlier this year was finally made to focus on replacing this deck. Having removed the rotting deck, the underneath part of my house is now exposed and all my possessions under the house are now vulnerable. Also, my contract helper is also a fairly old fellow. It’s only a matter of time before he is unable to help me anymore. And he is one of the very few people I enjoy working with, who is honest and fair with me. Rebuilding a deck out of concrete would be a large project and it is still a work in progress.
Besides painting, the only major development on the greenhouse is installing a 15-foot-high water tower. I should have been focused on putting in the floor of the greenhouse but as things stand, I am already overworked. The floor will become a near future priority.
I would describe life overall as good. Good as long as my people interactions are minimal. Life really can’t get any better than working outside in the jungle amongst all the flora and fauna. Though I could use a small break. It’s been over two months since I have done any writing for my book about my bike ride to get to Belize. And that being said many “issues” are percolating under the surface. It is those issues that I find to be the driving force to write this post. For me writing things out gives me clarity.
It’s all I can do to keep on top of my day-to-day work. My days are full! I am now three and a half years unemployed. The fact that you are reading this means I now have an internet connection. An internet connection demands that I must get an online job if I am to stay in Belize any longer. How am I supposed to have a job (that I will probably hate) and have time to maintain a farm?
Ambitions and Dreams for Belize
Before my arrival home in Belize on November 25, 2021, I had dreams and ambitions for my life in Belize. I want to raise and plant mahogany seedling trees for the reforestation of rainforests and jungles. This is why I started building a greenhouse. As a result of my challenges of last year, I now have no interest in interacting with people here. I have no desire or ambition to create, start, or build anything that puts me in contact with people here. I basically just want to be left alone. Makes you wonder why I continue to work on my greenhouse. But I enjoy it. While I have no future ambitions here in Belize, I enjoy getting up every morning to work on my property. That all being said I have no idea how to move forward with any ambitions here as it’s all I can do to keep up with the day-to-day. And then to add an internet job on top of that?
A new dream and goal
I am wired for a dream or a goal. The lack of a dream or goal here in Belize was having a negative effect on me. I have also come to realize how much I miss living and bike touring on the road. In early January I decided that I wanted to work towards (on top of everything else) living on my bike in 2028 when I turn 55. My possible plan would be to live on my bike permanently as long as humanly possible. I am currently in no position to get back on my bike and I also feel like I should not abandon my life here in Belize prematurely. After all, I have invested too much to walk away just because life is a little on the tough side right now. But I fear that after five years if things are not going in a good direction, then maybe I need to change course. Of course, I am no longer young and will only be older in five years. What happens when I am too old to live on a bike? I certainly could not afford to live in Canada. I can’t afford to live in Canada now! This weighs heavily on my mind. On top of all that I find it hard to imagine a financial situation that would allow me to afford to go back to living on my bike. But a guy can dream, can’t he?
On the bike ride, I often felt like I was living a selfish lifestyle. Living a great life of travel while so much challenge and brokenness exists in the world. I often feel that now. Living a great life all isolated in the jungle having no desire to interact with people. I do not know how to reconcile this selfishness with the fact that the world has taught me through experience to stay away and avoid people (at all costs). I did enjoy my regular interactions with locals while I bike toured and I miss those interactions. I have come to realize that the interactions that result from bike touring truly bring out the best in people. Bike touring is 100% the best way to travel. No one can convince me otherwise. I am not sure if it’s a result of my upbringing or societal pressures but I often feel like my bike ride and living isolated in the jungle is creating a very selfish person inside me. And I don’t know how to reconcile that. I also know that a traditional lifestyle in Canada would literally kill me. Traditional living in Canada would suck the life out of my soul daily. In the jungle, I get that life back. I don’t know how people live traditional lives.
And there it is
I sleep much better than last year. Because you are reading this, I now have internet. I can’t keep up with my workload and the fact that you can now read this post means that I am freaking out over my workload. I am frustrated when I attempt to visualize my future and purpose. But if I got outside today, it was probably a good day.