Here’s my wish from Belize for you in 2016

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At some time in your life, when you need it most, may you gaze out from a comfortable chair upon a lone palm tree.

There are two types of palm trees that I like best. One is the solitary palm hugging close to the shore with its lapping waves, bent into the wind from a lifetime of resistance. These palms show the scars of battle and every twice records their resilience. They are inspirational.

And relaxing.

You just know that if you are string at a palm tree, you are already in a good place.

The other kind of palms are the ones that grow up in the middle of dense tropical forests, fighting for supremacy among the competing growth.

These really stick out among the Seagrape trees, Black Poison Woods, Banyans, deciduous this and that, pines and vines. Everything else is a muted green backdrop to their supermodel litheness and posture.

They’ve got style.

So do you.

Go find a palm tree and make it your friend and role model.

     *****     *****     *****     *****     *****


I would also encourage you to begin collecting crazy masks from all over the world.

Why? Read the last part of that sentence: “from all over the world.” It doesn’t count if you pick one up at the local Pier One Imports store. You need to go out there and get them your own.

I believe that you can find unique masks in virtually every country in the world. What does this say about human beings?

Who knows?

The important thing is that you will have a mask from every place that you visit and behind that mask will be a great story — maybe one that actually happened to you. If not, then make up a good one. Because people who look at masks want nothing more than to hear the terribly interesting story behind it.

If you collect masks from all over the world, I promise you that you will become a terribly interesting person.

     *****     *****     *****     *****     *****


Collect art made from recycled stuff.

What does a colorful fish mobile made from recycled soda bottles say about you?

Jesus Peraza is a masterful artist who creates small worlds with found objects. I would like to inhabit one of his worlds for a little while.
Jesus Peraza is a masterful Yucatan artist who creates small worlds with found objects. I would like to inhabit one of his worlds for a little while.

I think “quirky” is a good start.

It also says you can see beauty in ordinary discarded objects — that includes other humans and abandoned puppies That is a gift, my friend.

The next step, beyond seeing, is doing something with this gift.

Like the Merida, Mexico, artist Jose Juan Guillermo Cetina who made this mobile. He also makes colorfully charming elephants out of old bleach bottles and pinwheels out of one liter soda bottles.

I get excited every time I hear that somebody has invented a machine to harvest plastic waste from the ocean, or has built a house almost entirely out of recycled bottles, or an island with a home on it,  or even a sailing boat.

Beauty and function in ordinary discarded objects.

elephantIt is all around us, like a Christmas tree built from pieces of driftwood or a shade hat from the fronds of a palm tree.

We are a naturally inventive species, we humans. With observant eyes, opposable thumbs and fertile imaginations this world as we know it came together.

Cherish the ordinary discarded objects around you.

Help them to live again.

     *****     *****     *****     *****     *****


If you get the chance, attend a pirate-themed wedding, especially if you live on a tropical island.

They don’t come around as often as you think.

Even on tropical islands.

Teresa and Billy got married in the courtyard of Corona del Mar in San Pedro, Belize, on Dec. 23, 2015 in full pirate regalia. It was probably the most relaxed and unstressed wedding that I have ever attended.

And I thank them for that.

The thing is, Billy looks like a pirate every day. A lot of us, we have to work at it.

I’m pretty sure that Billy would agree that getting in touch with your inner-pirate helps you find a balance in your life between duty, responsibility, commitment and oh-hell-let’s-get-drunk-and-pillage-the-village.

It is great when a couple can enter into a serious commitment like marriage and not forget the fun they bring into each other’s lives.

There is a lesson in that for all of us.




Let your head get lost in the clouds once in a while.

It doesn’t matter if it is from above (like this one on a recent Tropic Air flight from Merida to Belize) or from below.

Clouds are just a really nice time-out.

The clouds can be metaphorical if you don’t have ready access to the sky.

Some call it meditation. Some say they are waiting for inspiration to arrive. Others call it creative loafing. Still others . . . oh, call it what you want. The point is, when your mind focuses on the clouds, it lets everything else slip away for a while. Clouds are like a broom that sweeps out the clutter and dust bunnies that clog your pipeline to inspiration.

You can bet that after returning to earth from a good session with your head in the clouds you will feel lighter, happier, buoyant, energized.

We are honored with spectacular cloud formations here on Ambergris Caye, partially because of the wide horizons which make for a broad canvas on which multiple cloud formations of wildly varying formations can co-exist peacefully.

If clouds can do it, why can’t we?

     *****     *****     *****     *****     *****



Watch the sun set at least twice a week.

This is harder than you think. Weather being what it is, we don’t always get two sunsets a week, do we?

And then there is time.

Finding the time to sit and wait as the sun takes its own sweet time to set, well, that isn’t always easy to come by.

So you see, not everything is in our control. It is good to accept this. We can’t expect excellent atmospheric conditions, just because we have the time to watch the sun set. And we can’t expect the sun to hasten its work, just because we only have a limited amount of time to expend watching it set.

So we learn to settle in and embrace the rhythms and caprices of Nature.

And when time, atmospheric conditions, and disposition all coincide the results can be spectacular.

The challenge, of course, is to put down the camera and simple be in the moment.

I’m still working on that one.

Have a terrific 2016.

11 thoughts on “Here’s my wish from Belize for you in 2016

    maureen said:
    January 3, 2016 at 12:08 pm

    Thanks Robert,I really enjoyed that.


    Jane said:
    January 3, 2016 at 12:19 pm

    Right back to you, Robert! Such a thoughtful post.
    Thanks for the reminders!


    tacogirl said:
    January 3, 2016 at 12:43 pm

    Well said Robert.


    Susan said:
    January 3, 2016 at 1:51 pm

    As Bill Murray said in CADDY SHACK: “be the ball” just be the ball Robert!!!


    Linda Czestochowski said:
    January 4, 2016 at 8:22 am

    On the matter of sunsets — Christmas Day in Toronto, Canada was +14C!! Just before sitting down to our turkey feast, we all gathered on our deck to glimpse the most glorious sunset in shades of orange and purple!! Of course, no-one took a photo, but what an amazing memory…….FYI — it’s -14C today 😦


    Swan Richards said:
    January 7, 2016 at 9:39 am

    Hey Bob I am finally making my first trek to belize after many years of research, following blogs, etc. I see different opinions on the car rental situation at the airport, the first leg of my trip takes me to corozal and I will need a car. any insight into this… swan richards


      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      January 7, 2016 at 10:28 am

      Hello Swan,
      We have used Crystal Auto Rental several times with good success. Their people are personable, nice to work with, and their vehicles are clean and well maintained. I’m pretty sure their prices are competitive. That has been our experience.
      I would suggest two things. If you haven’t already, join Belize Expats on Facebook and use their search feature on the right hand side for vehicle rental. I don’t know if the topic has been explored but this closed Facebook group invariably offers plenty of advice. If you can’t find anything, ask them. You’ll get no shortage of opinions!

      Also, I suspect Trip Adviser has a meaty section on vehicle rentals, too.

      Hope this gets you started in the right direction.


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