|This photo of Tom clearly depicts our quiet, contemplative, uncomplicated lives, relatively free of stress.|
Tom always jokes that he never imagined that his retirement would include walking other the necessary steps from his comfy chair to the bathroom, the kitchen, the bedroom, and the yard. Yes, he was quite the handyman, fixing and fussing as needed, walking about the house. We never took a walk together in our neighborhood.
As I began planning our worldwide travels over a year ago I budgeted for rental cars for most locations fearing that Tom would seldom want to walk to nearby restaurants, shops, and pubs.
Living in Belize for an extended period, the cost of a rental car or even a golf cart was prohibitive. After all, we are on the secluded peninsula of Placencia, a four-hour drive from Belize City where our ship arrived.
Upon arriving, we resigned ourselves to occasionally renting a golf cart as needed. Much to our liking, we now have our own cab driver Estevan, whom I’ve mentioned here, who will take us anywhere we’d like to go for reasonable rates during daylight hours leaving us to “hoof it” for dinners out at night.
With multiple good restaurants nearby requiring no more than a 10-minute walk each way, our transportation needs are fulfilled. We dine out two or three times a week and love rotating our favorites, especially on the nights they offer their stupendous buffets. If we go on an adventure, transportation is provided. So, we walk. Tom walks.
After moving to Laru Beya on February 5th with a massive expanse of white sand beach in front of our villa, Tom surprised me when within a few days of arriving he suggested we walk the beach, a popular tourist outing. I always treasured walking in our old neighborhood with our precious little dogs to their favorite spot, Poop Park, often walking with our equally wonderful neighbors and their little dogs.
As long as the temperature was above 10 degrees we walked. The pads of their little feet would quickly freeze at lower temperatures. Often, our World Wide Willie would stop dead in his tracks looking up at me with sorrowful eyes that asked me to carry him home when he’d had enough and of course, I did. In the snow, on the ice, I carried him home, all 22 pounds of him, often as much as a 1/2 mile. I loved walking. Tom, not so much, having never walked the neighborhood with me once in 22 years.
Each day we began to walk along the beach at a lofty pace, in the water or on the sand, carefully watching for stray rocks, shells and bits of glass, engaged in idle chatter or in quiet contemplation.
We can change, can’t we? Life circumstances often unplanned, force us to look at our often rigid ways, leaving us open to change, to grow and to learn. Some take advantage of the opportunity, others do not. We revel in watching each other depart from that which we knew as familiar and comfortable, to the new people we are fast becoming.
The chairs here aren’t comfy, the kitchen supplies are limited, finding foods for our way of eating is challenging, not owning cars is peculiar and no Walgreen’s is daunting. But we change to accept the differences, growing and learning in the process, all the while reveling in our personal ability to adapt.
As I over-packed for almost a year in Minnesota all the things that “I couldn’t live without” much of which is now packed to be shipped to my sister in Los Angeles when we get to Miami on April 13th, I realized that I too could let go of things, learning to live without the comfortable and the familiar.
All the kind and generous advice others gave us regarding our excess luggage could only have meaning to us when we discovered it on our own, in our own time, on our own terms. We’ve changed. We’ll continue to change.
Suddenly, we look at one another with new eyes, with a new interest, knowing that wherever we maybe we’ll learn new ways of life, we’ll release old ways that don’t work in a new environment and, without a doubt, we’ll walk, we’ll walk and we’ll walk.