Belize! We’re ready! Here we come! … Uh, almost ….

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Our bags are packed, we're ready to go. Standing outside the station in the snow. Rose got an amazing amount of her life into the two bags on the right. That's my duffle bag on the left. I think we're both going to manage well for the first year in Belize.
Our bags are packed, we’re ready to go. Standing outside the station in the snow. Rose got an amazing amount of her life into the two bags on the right. That’s my duffel bag on the left. I think we’re both going to manage well for the first year in Belize.

All bags are packed and sitting in the garage waiting for a Feb. 12 departure date for our new life in Belize.

Rose,  seasoned world traveler, managed quite well within the self-imposed two bag limit.

With the help of our readers I actually managed to slim my life down so that all I need fits within the green duffel bag. I will have a carry-on bag for a few changes of clothes and electronics, documents, etc.

By the way — Duffel or duffle? Both spellings get a workout. Duffle gets 6.05 million citations on Google. Duffel gets 5.77 million, but 6.4 million for “duffel bag.” The Belgian town of Duffel is where the coarse fabric was first used, in the late-1600’s, to fabricate … wait for it … duffel bags. I shall stay with duffel bag.

Class dismissed.

So, I got really schooled — in the very best of ways — by blog readers on what to pack and what to leave behind.

My son Ryan generously pointed out that my recent list contained 31 shirts of all sorts — T’s, tanks, running, polo, long sleeve, etc. “Seems excessive,” he wrote. I’m pretty sure they’ll have laundry facilities there…” Both prescient and sarcastic, that’s my boy!

Ryan also said to get rid of the Chargers football jersey. That has more to do with years of disappointment, I suspect, than practicality.

Blog reader Emily also got right to the point: “Button-down shirts? Absolutely not needed — way too hot and formal. Blazer, ditto. If you get invited to an embassy dinner, you can wear the silk Hawaiian shirt and khakis and will be in good company. Socks for athletic pursuits only. Two pair long pants max (one khakis, one jeans, plus one sweat pants). ”

She speaks from experience. Emily and her husband ended up returning to the U.S. after 18 months with lots of still- unused clothing.

The consensus seems to be you can never have enough pairs of underwear, although my brother Chris in Turkey–  by way of New Zealand, Dubai, Singapore, India and London — says the sign of a good ex-pat going native is when you start to buy your underwear locally.

There also seems to be a strong sentiment for shoes — as in a woman can never have too many pairs of shoes. It was suggested that with the space I save by cutting out my blazer, button-down shirts and extra slacks should then be filled up with more shoes for Rose.

Rebecca of SanPedroScoop.com chimed in on the shoes: “Not enough sandals. I never EVER wear a closed toe shoe. Or a long pant for that matter. I hope the cotton sheets and towels are in another bag” (That’s my personal guilt trip. Rose packed the sheets and towels in her bags. They should be in my non-existent second bag!)

Miranda is even more insistent about the shoes: “As for Rose’s shoes, have you seen how many pairs of shoes Tacogirl has? You can always bring an extra case and pay the $40 bucks, and look at it as shipping costs.”

I’m all for it, if she is.

Former Ambergris Caye resident Jodivin agreed with the group on my excessive amount of shirts and slacks. She also had some excellent non-clothing suggestions: “My personal Do Not Forgets: Several tubes of an antibiotics type ointment, Current meds in original bottles with labels intact, a letter from your physician with any health concerns and mentioning your current Rxs, Afterbite for those little pesky no-see-ums, and remember you are going to A[mbergris]. Caye where many ex-pats roam, and will probably have access to much of what you need.”

Arline, my newspaper colleague from Rhode Island, came up with a classically New England suggestion if I really feel I must bring the sports jacket: Layers. For tropical folks, layering is what really cold people do at the start of the day, shedding sweaters, vests, shirts, etc as the day warms up — then piling them all back on as the evening chill sets in.

OK, I am not going to explain “chill” and “cold” to you …

How can we leave this cherub behind? I dream about the day when Brody can spend his summer with Grandpa and Grandma Rose in Belize!
How can we leave this cherub behind? I dream about the day when Brody can spend his summer with Grandpa and Grandma Rose in Belize!

The wisdom of the group is probably best encapsulated in this excerpt from Jodivin: “Don’t forget it is easier for you to buy a pair of long britches than it will be for the love of your life to find the shoes she needs. You will be amazed at how often having anything but your shorts, T, and sandals on becomes an imposition on your personal comfort.”

So, thank you all. I am grateful for the time you took to respond.

Our plan now is to leave San Francisco International on Feb. 12 on a pair of standby tickets that a friend in the airline industry acquired for us. It may or may not get us a straight shot to Belize. I am telling myself the gamble is all part of the fun ….

Meanwhile, we are spending the next day or so up in Lake Tahoe doing taxes, consolidating important documents and visiting with Brendan, Cami and grandson, Brody, one last time before we go. Leaving the kids is the hardest part of all this for me.

Three-year-old Brody is at such a great age — snowboarding with mom and dad, reading, dancing to music, skateboarding, hiking, talking in full sentences. My little man!

Back in Fairfield we have a few large household objects to get rid of and much cleaning to do as the house is prepared for rental.

But we can see the starting line. It will happen!

And  the next big challenge: Where the heck will we live in San Pedro once we land?

Two days in north Lake Tahoe, in the cold and snow, doing taxes and tying up loose ends. If that doesn't get us ready for Belize, nothing will. Sadly, there is very little snow in this ski mecca this year, although big snow is coming starting tomorrow (after we leave, please!).
Two days in north Lake Tahoe, in the cold and snow, doing taxes and tying up loose ends. If that doesn’t get us ready for Belize, nothing will. Sadly, there is very little snow in this ski mecca this year, although big snow is coming, starting tomorrow. After we leave, please!
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6 thoughts on “Belize! We’re ready! Here we come! … Uh, almost ….

    lifeagain said:
    February 6, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    Wow, this is it for sure……..i am happy for you two and your future exciting adventures…….life was meant for living……

    Like

    Karen Kelly said:
    February 6, 2014 at 4:18 pm

    O.K. so…..it’s here. God speed to both of you. We will make new memories in Belize. I can not wait to see what life has in store for you. So excited for you both. Sending more hugs! Keep the adventure going Bob. I love reading every word.

    Like

      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      February 6, 2014 at 10:28 pm

      Thank you, Karen. Still a lot of great unknown ahead! Looking forward to your visit!

      Like

    Emily said:
    February 6, 2014 at 7:13 pm

    I must say I am VERY impressed at the sight of your minimalist luggage. Looking forward to seeing where you land on the island. Safe travels!

    Like

      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      February 6, 2014 at 10:29 pm

      I have to say I am very curious, too. This is very unlike either of us to not have something lined up ahead of time. Thanks, Emily!

      Like

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