Food is something that brings the world together. Each culture has its own traditions and favorite foods. As a self proclaimed foodie, I was so excited to try cuisines in the countries they originated in. During my travels, I have discovered and will undoubtedly continue to discover culinary treasures around the globe. I am honored to share with you, My Elephant Tribe, the amazing meals I have enjoyed throughout the world.
Day 1: Belize
I have always believed in the notion of Dream Declare Deliver, but it wasn’t until today that I finally experienced it.
It doesn’t matter what your dream is. The important part is that you have one, or two, or five. For me, it has always been to travel the world. Experience new cultures and see the world up close. I have been blessed over the years to be able to travel quite a bit, but I wanted to see more. For years, I would dream about traveling, talk about where I was going to go. I even had a pin board map hanging in my bedroom of all the places I would go, colored coded for trips I would take in the next year, 3-5 years and my lifetime. However, when people would ask me when I was going to travel, the only answer I had was “Someday”. Would “Someday” ever come? Probably not the way I wanted it to. In November, I was sitting on Hanalei Bay Beach in Kauai. It was beautiful and thanks to the amazing Griess Family (Shout out to Gabe, Kristie, Preston, Mickie Love and Harrison) I was experiencing its beauty at no cost to me. However, something was missing and I felt empty, which was confusing. Let me paint a picture for you, I am on a beautiful, tropical island, turquoise ocean in front of me mountains and waterfalls just beyond the water, sand in my toes, all expenses paid, living my dream. Right? Was I really living my dream? When I sat down and started to be honest with myself, I realized I had been lying to myself all along. I also realized that the emptiness I was feeling was actually a longing. A longing to see the world and experience more of the world’s beauty. So, I asked myself, “If not now, when?” I didn’t have an answer.
When I realized I didn't have an answer for when, I declared that now was the time. The beginning of December I enrolled my brother, Brian, to join me. At least for part of my journey. We decided we would start our journey in February and we began diligently planning (by ‘we’, I really mean he). In January, I told my beloved Griess clan my plan. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I felt selfish. My whole life I’ve chosen others before myself and for the first time I was choosing me. Some words of wisdom, choosing yourself over others isn't always selfish, sometimes, it’s necessary.
I woke up at 3am this morning knowing that I was about to embark on a life changing journey. I never really thought this day would come to be honest with you. I had only dreamed of traveling the globe my whole life. Today was the day my dream was becoming a reality. At 4am the taxi came to take us to the airport. Our cab driver told us that in the 20 years he's been driving he has never met anyone who was doing what we were about to do. Which, I haven't really told you yet. My brother and I are taking a year (at least) to travel the world. Belize, is the first stop on our journey. We arrived at the airport bright and early and dragged our luggage to the desk. My bag was 8 pounds over. Even though I begged to pay for weight overage they insisted that we could remedy the problem. So there we are in the airport unpacking my bag and rearranging our other bags. WE DID IT!!!!! So plan accordingly, recommendation is to take one (1) large duffle type bag with wheels and one (1) large backpackers backpack. This isn't The Amazing Race so you can check your bags.
Once we made it past security the trip was a breeze. We had a brief delay during our layover, but all in all the trip was good. Both flights where pretty open, so we got to spread out. When we arrived in Belize we went through Customs. The lines were long, but they moved pretty quick.
When we went outside to get our taxi we learned that on Sundays everything is closed in Belize City. It is a slow day. So we went to our hotel, The Bakadeer Inn. It was a simple room, but it did the trick. We got cleaned up and decided to get a taxi to take us to St. John’s Cathedral, the oldest church in Belize. We figured, its Sunday, lets go to church. When our driver arrived, he came with his wife and young son. And even though the church was also closed on Sunday, it didn't matter. We were in Belize and it could not have been more perfect. Our driver was this amazing man named Carlos. His wife Nadie and 6 year old son Josue were very kind as well. Carlos gave us a tour around the city and took us to the Belize sign.
He even offered to take our picture. His son played for awhile and he asked us if we would take their picture at the sign as well. Many Americans would have been in a hurry, upset that a day of travel was ruined because everything was closed and irritated that the cab driver they paid for was asking for pictures. I stood there and took in the amazing view and said to myself, “It is what it is”. I wanted to experience different cultures, and this is the culture of Belize City on Sundays. So, if you want everything to be just so, don't travel to Belize City on a Sunday. However, if you want experience true surrender, I challenge you to jump into the unknown. I promise it will be great.
To finish off the night, we ended up at the only open restaurant in town called Celebrity. The food wasn’t very good. So, I wouldn’t recommend it. But, if you ever find yourself in Belize City on a Sunday evening give Carlos a call at 501-6312047 and he and his fam bam will show you the city.