Living in Belize: A Location Free Life Style Made Possible

“We have been traveling to Belize since 1997 and have never found a country with more caring, welcoming, and positive people,” says Lisa Cyrier. “And it’s gorgeous, too. We can travel from the beach to the rainforest in just a few hours. And the tropical climate suits us just fine.”

For three years now, Lisa and her husband Ronnie have made their home on the island of Ambergris Caye. But this couple aren’t ones for just lazing on a beach all day. They enjoy an impressive array of water-based activities on Ambergris.

“We can take our pick from snorkeling, kayaking, boating, fishing, or maybe we’ll take the paddle boards out,” says Lisa. “We aren’t fully retired yet, so we can’t spend all day, every day just lounging around. But I can’t imagine a more wonderful place to hang out. Some days, the weather and the water are just too hard to resist, so we go play. Freedom is the key, and we have set up our lives to allow plenty of freedom to do what we want to do, when we want to do it.

“Ronnie and I often joke that we could live for 25% less if we stopped drinking, but living on an island and spending so much time on the water, we don’t see that happening anytime soon,” says Lisa. “This island lifestyle isn’t available at any price in the U.S.”

In October 2014, the Cyriers “said goodbye to the American Dream and said hello to our dream,” says Ronnie. “From the outside, others saw us as successful, with a beautiful lake house, a nice boat, and lavish vacations. But the truth was that we worked tireless hours just to keep our businesses going and to maintain our home.”

“We just became fed up with the rat race, said enough is enough, and we planned to make our leap. We wanted to live the life we really wanted, on our schedule,” says Lisa.

Within three years, Lisa and Ronnie sold everything they owned, except for some internet-based businesses. They boarded a jet bound for their new life in San Pedro.

Ambergris was the perfect place to begin their expat adventures. “The official language of Belize is English and the government is stable. And the kicker for us was the government’s plan to encourage expats to settle here,” says Ronnie. “It’s called the QRP (Qualified Retired Persons) Program, and it provides tax incentives and rather easy qualifications. A modest income, clean criminal background check, and a health certificate, along with proof of income, passport, and the normal documents you would expect, and it’s done.” Being a QRP allows you to import your personal effects into Belize tax-free within the first year of your arrival. You also pay no tax on international income.

Home for the Cyriers is a lovely, 1,500-square-foot condo (for which they paid cash). Their dream life costs them about $2,900 a month, including their boat fuel and maintenance, golf cart maintenance, all food and drinks, association fees, and health insurance. This is typical of expats on Ambergris, who report living well on around $3,000 a month, including condo rentals near the beach starting at around $1,100 a month (prices fall the farther you get from the sea).


The Overwhelming Benefits of Embracing Your New Culture Overseas

When you first arrive in a new country, everything seems overwhelming. You didn’t realize the electricity goes out from time to time and you’ve never dealt with this problem. Your car gets a flat tire on a lonely country road and you don’t speak the language, nor do you know how to change the tire. There are so many expats wanting to get to know you but you don’t know which ones are those with similar interests.

In all of these instances, there are solutions—and often better ones than you would think.

The number one rule when moving abroad is to “let go” of your inclination to want everything just as it was at home. Each country in the world is different; each has its own culture. Embrace the new culture and go with the flow…that attitude will get you through that first bewildering year and ensure you become wonderfully happy in your new home.

It’s like starting a completely new life. Many expats comment on how much younger they feel, like they are learning things all over again, much like the days of their youth. Imagine how it feels to once again have new experiences every day. This is the type of retirement that keeps you young and fresh. Much different than sitting on the couch watching TV. In fact, many expats like me don’t even have TVs anymore because there is so much to do.

So…when the electricity goes out, grab a book or your Kindle and a glass of wine, go out and sit on your patio and read while taking a few seconds to look up at the stars…where you’ll see more than you ever have before.

Flat tire? No Spanish? No problem. Flag down the next car that comes by, point to the problem and before you know it, the local people will jump out and fix the flat for you.

Go to the many expat events you are invited to. Eventually the people who will end up being your friends will pop out of the mix. It is easier to make friends in expat locations. And you’ll likely have friends from all walks of life and from different countries, making your life so much more interesting than it was at home.

I’ve been an expat for 10 years. I never imagined I’d stay in Nicaragua this long. Something inside suggested that I’d have my adventure for a maximum of five years, then probably move back to my house in San Diego. That’s why I kept it and rented it out, just in case. But Nicaragua changed me.

I actually became the person I’ve always wanted to be, a person I couldn’t be in the U.S. Here I’m free; there I wasn’t.

My love for material possessions has disappeared. Money is no longer the holy grail that I was always trying for, but never could quite reach. I have a healthy diet and live a much simpler life. I’m fluent in Spanish. I work on projects to help my Nicaraguan community. Social activities are abundant, fun, and economical.

Bonnie W. Hayman writes her experience living in Nicaragua as an expat.


You Would be Shocked to Know You Can Get a Second Passport

Do you know where your parents or grandparents were born? Seems like an odd question, but finding the answer could determine whether you have an existing legal right to citizenship in another country.

There are two major legal principles of citizenship law that most countries use to determine citizenship status:

Bloodline, or the principle of jus sanguinis, (Latin for “right of blood”): describes a child’s citizenship resulting from the nationality of a father or mother, or from earlier ancestors, usually limited to grandparents. This is called “citizenship by descent.” Most countries apply this rule in some form.

Countries that follow this legal “descent” principle in some form include Ireland, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Hungary, Poland, Lithuania, Estonia, Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia, Serbia, Slovakia, Armenia, Ukraine, Israel, Lebanon, South Africa, Rwanda, Australia, the Philippines, Afghanistan, South Korea, Mexico, and Argentina.

Place of birth, or the principle of jus soli, (Latin for “right of soil”): meaning that being born within the geographic territory over which a country has sovereignty may automatically make the newborn child a citizen of that country. Not all countries apply this rule.

In this globally connected world, dual citizenship has become commonplace. Dual nationality simply means that a person is legally a citizen of two countries at the same time, qualified as such under each nation’s law.

In 1996, only seven of 17 Latin American countries allowed some form of dual nationality; now all do. In 2006, India changed its policy to allow a modified form of dual citizenship for Indians living outside their home country. Now, every major country whose nationals migrate to the United States in large numbers allows dual citizenship; except China, South Korea, and Cuba.

The Republic of Ireland offers a widely known example of automatic citizenship by descent. Under Irish nationality law, blood lines determine a birthright to citizenship even without ever having lived in the country. Irish laws confer nationality on those born within Ireland, on those who prove they have an Irish parent or grandparent, and on those who marry an Irish citizen.

Since Ireland is a European Union member state, the Irish passport is one of the most sought-after travel documents. With a population of 4.8 million, Ireland has millions of current official passports in worldwide circulation, many thousands held by U.S. citizens.

Do you know who your ancestors were?

Over 40 million U.S. citizens—nearly 12% of all Americans—can trace their ancestry to Ireland and thus are eligible for an Irish passport. There are 31.8 million U.S. citizens of Mexican origin, many entitled to dual U.S.-Mexican citizenship. A 2011 Hungarian law confers citizenship on anyone who is a descendant of a person who was a Hungarian citizen before 1920. There are 1.6 million U.S. citizens of Hungarian descent who might qualify.

The path to automatic second citizenship for you and your family may be revealed in your family tree. It may be time to investigate those vague stories you’ve heard about your family roots. Your ancestral origins may qualify you for dual citizenship.

How to Navigate in Asian Countries as a Tourist

Asia occupies a quarter of the earth’s land mass, it spans a lot of time zones. Having a single travel guide for all of Asia is virtually impossible. Asia like any other continent, has its certain hot spots, here are basic travel tips for a few of the most happening countries in Asia.


The country’s recommended tourist spots are Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, which are both modernized. All tourists in Vietnam, except Thai and Philippine Nationals need a tourist Visa before entering the Country. Health wise, Malaria is prevalent in Vietnam, it would be best to bring with you anti-mosquito lotions to prevent being bit. Avoid buying sim cards, tours, airport transfers etc from your hotel, they put a premium on all these services. Buy sim cards from arrival airport


Bali is a prime tourist spot in Indonesia. Bali traffic is chaotic and weather is very hot. Most of the time you will stick close to your hotel or guesthouse rather than wander far on foot or sit in stuffy taxis. If you’re looking for real R&R, Kuta probably isn’t your thing. If you want to shop up a storm and eat more than your body weight in fine food, a week on Nusa Lembongan isn’t likely to leave you fully satiated. Find your perfect spot with the help of Lonely Planet’s ‘first time Bali’ guide.


Thai people are very religious and very loyal to the monarchy. You would often see pictures of the king around the cities, never make fun of him. The Thai also consider the head as the highest part of the body, whether spiritual or physical. Refrain from touching anybody in the head, and try not to point at anything with your foot.


It’s best to bring light and cool clothing in Malaysia. You would usually find food stands in the cities selling the local delicacies, “teh tarik” a creamed tea, and “roti canai” a type of pancake, are a must try when you do encounter them. Malaysia has many religions, you would usually see, a variety of Christian churches, Muslim Mosques and Buddhist and Hindu temples may be present in each city.


The Philippine has 7,107 islands and islets; beaches are the main tourist spots in the country. There are several museums and Historical Landmarks in Manila, the country’s capital. Boracay Island is the boast of the country which has white sand beaches. You’ll find a “tiangge”, which is a sort of bazaar with stalls that sell almost anything, in most parts of the country, even inside malls. Tiagges are a good place to find souvenirs as well as cheap goods.

General Tips

Each country in Asia has its own currency, although up-end establishments will accept dollars, but don’t use your dollar because you will get lower  exchange rate. It is best to have your money changed at the local bank.

Pickpockets are present in most tourist spots, so be careful with your valuables. Separate money from checks and credit cards, have two sets if you can so that you won’t be left dry if you fall victim to a pickpocket.

Five important tips in traveling Europe

Traveling through Europe is definitely an exciting experience. To ensure a smooth and enjoyably safe tour, here are some tips for your Europe vacation.

1) Documents.

* All of the people in Europe, including tourists, are obliged to own documentation for personal identification.

* Since the increasing number of terrorists that try to enter Europe, the checkpoints on all borders have been strictly controlled. All tourists, depending on which country in Europe they intend to visit, should always have their passport and visa wherever they go.

* When you are unable to surrender your valid visa or passport when authorities ask for it, you would be deported or even jailed.

2) Languages. There are 320 mixed spoken languages used in Europe today.

* Out of the 320, the most used and important are the Baltic, Celtic, Romance, Germanic and Slavonic languages.

* Majority of the people in European countries speak multiple languages besides their mother tongue. English is used daily for politics and business.

* Learn to speak the native tongue for important questions and courtesy you would need in your tour.

3) Electricity.

* Majority of the European countries make use of 230 volts that operate in 50 Hertz.

* Prevent plugging a device intended for 60 Hertz into a 50 Hertz outlet.

4) Cars and driving.

* To be able to drive a car in all the countries in Europe, you should be 18 years old and have a valid driver’s license.

* It is illegal for a driver not to wear a seatbelt. This is also applicable to everyone inside the car.

* Majority of the countries in mainland Europe have right-hand traffic. Left-hand traffic is used only in Ireland, Cyprus, Malt and the islands of England.

* The insurance of all cars is obligatory. If your car has been pulled over, the insurance certificate is always asked for.

5) Planning your necessities is important. This includes transportation, food, and hotel accommodations.

* Food in Europe may come expensive. But if you plan ahead and check your travel guide, you could always search for a reasonably priced meal around your area. There are hundreds of local markets and groceries for your food supply.

* If you are planning to take the train, call the station for a reservation.

* Always arrive at least 30 minutes before the train schedule to ensure that you will not miss the train if ever you get lost on the way to the European station.

Traveling in a foreign European country should not be a hassle. Plan ahead. Know the native tongue and have the best time of your life.