Why I Decided To Retire To Carmelita Gardens, Belize

Vegetable garden.

Why I Decided To Retire To Carmelita Gardens, Belize

How Dianne Found Her Simple And Self-Sufficient Paradise Overseas

One of the interesting byproducts of the coronavirus era has been a new, global appreciation for self-sufficiency… People who had never lifted a whisk learned to bake their own bread… those without backyards figured out how to plant food, even if just some herbs… salon junkies learned to cut and style their own hair…

Over the last year or so, people across the globe have become that little bit more resilient. Most are making do with their current situation, gardening in pots if land isn’t available, for example…

But what’s really interesting right now is the opportunity for change if change is what you’re looking for. If, for example, you’re in some stage of planning for a new life overseas, you have a unique chance right now to optimize your new life for the dangers we now know to be so real—those that wouldn’t have occurred to us 12 months ago.

When it comes to supply chains and availability of food, most of us never questioned that our next meal would be as easy to find as the last was. We trusted that, when we went to the store, all our expectations would be met… until they weren’t anymore.

If, like me, you find this a little unsettling, you probably took some precautions. The best precaution to take? Not needing to trust supply chains for your next meal! (Or at least not all of it.)

The ultimate solution is to grow some of your own food. You can start with pots, of course. But imagine the possibilities if you set up your new life overseas specifically to meet this goal…

That’s what so many folks moving to Belize have wanted and have achieved. Many of them are doing it together, among likeminded folks, including one of our new Belize Insiders, Dianne Dodson. She shares her story below…

Finding My Self-Sufficient Utopia In Belize
Dianne Dodson

I’ve always wanted to travel, live in other countries, experience other cultures, and live simply and sustainably. I never got the chance to do this while raising my children, going to nursing school, and then caring for my oldest daughter while she was on dialysis. Then I started my nursing career, went into management, and was also raising my grandson because my daughter couldn’t due to her health condition.

This all led to a pretty busy lifestyle and not much time to think about living simply (although I dreamed about it quite often), no free time to travel or even think about going on vacation, let alone going to another country.

But when I turned 50, after spending most of my nursing career working with the elderly and disabled populations (and knowing first-hand what they were experiencing in their daily lives), I seriously began to think that I might be facing that same dismal retirement situation if I didn’t at least start planning for better.

So I began my search for alternative retirement options.

Researching My Options For Retirement

I soon became aware after looking at all the options, both domestic and overseas, that if I wanted any quality of life, I would have to retire outside of the United States, which was fine with me and exciting at the same time.

While I was looking at travel and retire-overseas sites, I came across all types of glossy, too-good-to-be-true retirement information. I ignored most of these and was doing my own research on different countries, but something made me click on a link that said something like “How To Retire Overseas.”

Little did I know what that one click would do…

I started looking at Mexico, Panama, Colombia, Nicaragua, and then Belize.

When I clicked on Belize, I found a wealth of information, including a link to a place called Carmelita Gardens. Everything I read about it was so exciting—it sounded like everything that I was already interested in, knew something about, and even more.

The property was going to be developed into a self-sufficient, off-the-grid community with organic gardens and orchards, and was bordered by a river. I remember seeing a dirt road and the beginnings of the organic orchard. I kept going back to that picture and article many times.

I remember thinking, “This is my kind of place, how much better could it get?”

Then my daughter that was on dialysis passed away, and for a time, I put everything on hold—I didn’t even look at traveling or any other retirement options.

Picking Up My Search For A Retirement Haven

Six years later, in 2016, I started looking again. I went back to the Live and Invest Overseas website—thank goodness those emails kept coming.

I found out that a conference was happening in Las Vegas, with representatives from many different countries available to talk to and ask questions.

With an open mind, I went to my first conference with Live and Invest Overseas, and boy, did I learn. After talking to many representatives and entrepreneurs at the conference, I realized that Belize was really where I wanted to be.

At the conference, I met one of the staff members of Carmelita Gardens and asked her many questions. I ended up taking all the information from every destination that I thought was even a remote possibility to consider to my hotel room. After looking at all the literature, I always circled back to Carmelita Gardens. At the end of the conference, I knew Belize was where I would ultimately want to be.

My next step was going to a conference in Belize to find out more. Finally, in January 2019, I went to Belize. From the moment I saw Belize, I loved it. After reading everything I could get my hands on about Belize, all I needed was a trip in person to really make sure this was what I wanted.

My youngest daughter Shanna, who’s also a nurse, came with me to Belize. After the conference, we went to a tour of Carmelita Gardens. As soon as she saw Carmelita Gardens, she said “Mom, this is your place. This is so you, you’re done looking.”

After the tour, she asked “Well, when are you coming back? What are your options for buying property? Because I know you’re going to!”

In October 2019, I came back to Carmelita Gardens and stayed for six nights. During my stay, I was able to experience what life is like living there, thanks to their residents offering to take me under their wings and show me what a typical shopping day was like, what they did day-to-day, the activities that they participated in with both the other residents at Carmelita Gardens and the surrounding communities of La Familia, San Ignacio, Santa Elena, and Spanish Lookout.

My goal is to get my cottage built as soon as I sell my home in Texas. COVID-19 crisis or not, I am continuing onward and forward with my journey to Carmelita Gardens.

I’m looking forward to starting a life that I’ve always wanted to live with like-minded people who come from many different backgrounds. This is down-to-earth, off-grid living in an supportive community… with clean, healthy food… and true peace.

* * *

If a back-to-basics lifestyle suits you and your family and you’re having trouble finding that back home, Belize’s Cayo region—where Dianne is planning to make her new home—might just offer the escape you’re looking for…

But that’s just one side of Belize. Maybe you’re drawn to pristine sugar-sand beaches, swaying palm trees, and the aquamarine waters of the Caribbean? Belize offers all of that, too…

The expats and experts at our Live and Invest in Belize Virtual Conference, this Feb. 17–19, will introduce you to all your top lifestyle options in this safe, affordable, friendly, English-speaking nation.

I hope, one day, you’ll get to see Belize in person for yourself. In the meantime, this is the next-best thing you can do to move your plans forward…

Go here to get the full details on this once-a-year Belize-focused event. (Remember as a LIOS Confidential reader, you save an extra US$50 off your seat with Coupon Code BELIZE50.)

Kat Kalashian
Editor, Live and Invest Overseas Confidential