I was in Belize when I heard the news that the UK, had finally gone bonkers and decided to leave the EU. I was on a fishing boat out on a beautiful reef, surrounded by gorgeous blue sea; the day was hot as it always is in Belize. I remember the feelings, of the wind, the heat, the salt in the air, the splash of the waves as they crashed against the boat. I remember the incredible amount of various types of tropical fish, dolphins, and sea turtles. I also remember the total surprise when I got back and was told, "You're out! You've done the unthinkable and left the EU". At the time I thought it was a joke, I honestly thought someone was pulling my leg. However, I immediately looked on the internet, and there it was BREXIT plastered all over every online newspaper. I had been in Belize a while by then, and I had lost connection with the whole Brexit farce, and the disgraceful way some members of parliament had acted. When you are away somewhere, it is easy to become detached, and not appreciate what is going on. I imagine it works both ways; I realised that day how easy it is to forget a place and issues that were happening.
It also came into sharp focus, the ideas I and everyone else I talked to, had thought of Belize, several days before leaving to go on my adventure. Oh, you have to be careful about the many diseases, the dangerous creatures, and watch the water, oh and don't forget you might get Zika, and the many other things people from the western world, especially Britain, feel about 'developing countries'. We look down on them and act as if they live miserable lives in total poverty lacking our western culture and lifestyle, surrounded by dangerous creepy crawlies.
What I realised was the exact opposite, it is us, in Britain who are imprisoned in miserable lives of poverty, lacking the freedom to express our true feelings, confined to a xenophobic attitude, the little Englander unprepared to understand what it is like in other countries. What I learned from my time is Belize is that wealth comes in many forms, you can be rich and have lots of money. However, real wealth comes from the mind and one's lifestyle and expression of positive emotions, as well as the freedom to enjoy life.
When I got back to the UK, I noticed the biggest difference between here and Belize. In Belize everyone says; hello, good morning, how are you? They are always smiling even the ones who have nothing. The first thing I noticed when back In Britain, was how no one looks each other in the face and most have their head's down and hunch their shoulders inward. The walk of a depressed mind, trapped in a meaningless life, unable to even realise they are stuck there.
Another thing that struck me, as we Britishers decided to become a xenophobic country once more. Over there in Belize, they do not have race issues, or at least there was none in Placencia; black, white, Hispanic, and Mayan cultures, all intermingled in a sort of harmony, gelled together by their Creole language. Perhaps I was fortunate to be situated on a tiny peninsula of paradise. Perhaps it was that no one there ever wanted to leave. Perhaps, it's because there, it's not cold, dull and miserable most of the year. One of the first things that struck me as restrictive when back in the UK, was the clothing, we have to wear so much clothing, tight clothes, uncomfortable clothes, while in Belize its shorts and a tee-shirt, a pair of flip flops. Even something as simple as freedom of clothing makes a difference.
Life there was simple, easy and never complicated, they were so laid back and lacked any stress or negativity that pervades our lives. They just lived what they thought of as a perfect existence. A simple life and as one boat captain told me in his wonderful Belizian accent. "I no leave, this be paradise man."