John and Joyce McMaster
(We) are enmeshed in the cancerous discipline of security. And in the worship of security we fling our lives beneath the wheels of routine - and before we know it our lives are gone.
The years thunder by, the dreams of youth grow dim where they lie caked in dust on the shelves of patience. Before we know it, the tomb is sealed.
Sterling Hayden: "The Wanderer"
We are John and Joyce McMaster, just a couple of your average Gringo baby boomers, except we didn't buy into the "cancerous discipline of Security" that has stifled the lives and imaginations of so many of our contemporaries in the USA. Actually, we did fall for the "American Dream", for a while. But we got over it!
In 1989 we sold our businesses, houses, cars and almost everything else. We headed across the USA in a rickety old motor home. The trip was expected to take about 2 weeks but there is a lot to see between California and Florida and we were in no hurry. The trip ended up lasting over 4 months! When we finally made it to Florida, we bought a sailboat, a 40 foot Island Trader named "Mystique". We still owned a piece of property near San Pedro on Ambergris Caye in Belize, so that was our ultimate destination.
We were still in no hurry so we sailed around the Bahamas for a while. Mystique was a great boat, but she wasn't quit ready for a the major cruise we had planned. We sailed back to the USA in the spring of 1992 to correct a few deficiencies, returning to the Bahamas just in time to get slammed by Hurricane Andrew. We anchored in Hatchet Bay, on Eleuthera Island and spent a scary 15 hours riding the storm out in the Alice Town school house. Mystique was laying on her port side about 200 yards from the water when Andrew was finished with her. She was almost undamaged, but it cost the insurance company over $30,000 to put her back in the water and make her sea worthy.
After this experience Joyce lost all interest in sailing! About the same time, one of the business we sold in California went bankrupt, owing us a lot of money. Our options were to go back to California and rebuild the business or find work in the Bahamas. So in early 1993 we sailed into Fresh Creek, Andros Island and got jobs at the US Navy's Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Center. I hired on as a Ship's Assistant Engineer and Joyce took a position as a Logistics Coordinator.
We sold Mystique and our Belize property, bought a home and built what became the hugely successful Georges Point Villas in Fresh Creek.
The last thing on our minds was leaving the Bahamas, but when the new contractor at AUTEC failed to offer me an acceptable position, we put Georges Point Villas on the market. Fully expecting the year or more wait before a sale that is typical in the Bahamas, we were shocked when it sold in just 3 weeks!
June 22, 2005 we left the Bahamas for a new adventure in Central America. We arrived in Belize on July 1st, settling in Consejo Shores, Corozal District. We obtained Permanent Residency on January 22, 2006.
Our first Belize home was known as "Casa De Sueños" (Dream House). It is located on Pelican Pathway in Consejo Shores. We moved into our New Water Front Home on Dec. 1, 2007. Casa De Sueños was put on the market at a very realistic price and was quickly sold.
Building In Belize:
Our first building project was an interesting adventure. We built the house in record time without cutting any corners. There were houses under construction in Consejo Shores that were begun before we started this first project in March of 2006 that were still unfinished in June '09.
That house was sold and the new owner is extremely happy. He has done some great improvements to the grounds, adding a sea wall, buying the lots in front and building a what was supposed to be a garage but ended up a complete house.
Our second home building project took a bit longer to complete, about 7 months. It is a much larger and complex house, plus we built during the rainy season. We liked the finished house so much we we decided to sell Casa de Sueños and move in to the new house.
The house is built on a beautiful 1/2 acre water front lot on Consejo Beach Trail in Consejo Shores. It is a spectacular 3 bedroom - 3 bath house of over 3300 sq. ft. including an efficiency apartment above the a garage. We call the house "Casa Sueños Del Mar" (House of Ocean Dreams).
We repaired the retaining wall and built a stone sea wall creating a small private beach at the waterfront. Tropical Storm Arthur uncovered some deficiencies in the beach design. In July of '08 we covered the rock sea wall with concrete and poured a deeper concrete barrier on the inside of the wall.
From its Caribbean shores to its jungle interior, Belize is a unique and varied country. There are blue ocean waters with deserted beaches, inland retreats near mystical Maya ruins, spectacular waterfalls, dense rain forests, and meandering rivers.
The Bird watching is unmatched. We have seen parrots, toucans, flycatchers, and herons in their natural habitat. You can visit a jaguar preserve where you venture into the jungle in search of these elusive cats.
Belize is also a place where big brother isn't looking over your shoulder and your retirement income is not taxed.
Add to these benefits the fact that English is the primary language in Belize, the laws of the country are based on the British legal system and that property prices and the cost of living in Belize are very low. You can see why Belize has now become a hot destination for expats, retirees, and investors.