Pennsylvania to Belize - Expat Interview With Carrie

Published: 26 Nov at 9 AM
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Filed: Interviews,Belize
After visiting Belize in 2008 (and getting married on a whim while they were in San Pedro) Carrie Tripodi convinced her husband, Trip, that they should live there permanently. They visited other parts of the country over the next year and decided that the Hummingbird Highway was the most beautiful spot in the country, found some land online, and bought it, sight unseen. They ditched their condo in Pennsylvania, sold off everything they could, and Carrie moved down to Belize to start the residency progress while Trip stayed behind to get his business in order and take care of last minute details. They are now together on their land, building a house and starting a small farm. Carrie blogs at Letters to my friends (see listing here)

Letters to my friends

Here's the interview with Carrie...


Where are you originally from?
Bucks County, Pennsylvania

In which country and city are you living now?
In the Stann Creek District of Belize

How long have you lived here and how long are you planning to stay?
I've been here since May 1st, 2011. (One year, six months and 12 days, as of today) and I have no intention on going back to live in the States

Why did you move and what do you do?
My husband and I fell in love with the country and realized that certain things we'd like to do in life, such as buying acreage and trying to be self sustainable, would be more easily accomplished in Belize.
We have 14 acres, chickens, goats, solar and wind power, and have started a small screen house for growing vegetables. We plan on building an observation tower and small cafe/gift shop in the future for income.

Letters to my friendsDid you bring family with you?
Myself, my husband, and three cats made the move - but not all at the same time. I moved first and spent 9 months living and working in San Pedro, and my husband came down 6 months later to start living on our land while the house was being built.

How did you find the transition to living in a foreign country?
Maybe it was because we visited about six times in three years and made a lot of friends, but the transition was really not that hard, all things considered. Once you realize it's best to just "go with the flow," life seems just fine - and I don't feel like I miss too many "conveniences" from the States.

Letters to my friendsWas it easy making friends and meeting people; do you mainly socialise with other expats?
Making friends started on our first visit down here in 2008 - both expats and locals. Now that we live here, most of the people that we consider friends are locals.... probably because they're so nice, and because there aren't many expats where we live.

What are the best things to do in the area; anything to recommend to future expats?
The most popular areas in Stann Creek are Placencia, Hopkins, and Dangriga - but there is plenty to see all along the Hummingbird Highway. Davis Falls is quite a hike to get to, but it's worth the effort!

What do you enjoy most about living here?
My usual response to this question is, "The weather!!" but, unfortunately, it's been chilly down here for the past week or so!
One of my favorite things about being down here is that everyone seems so much more relaxed - people are rarely in any kind of hurry.

Letters to my friendsHow does the cost of living compare to home?
We could have NEVER bought 14 acres and built two houses, a chicken coop, and a barn for the goats in the States - not in Pennsylvania, anyway! The cost of living, for us, is much, much better compared to home.

What negatives, if any, are there to living here?
I can list a few "annoyances," which might seen as negatives....
The majority of people here who work labor jobs have a very relaxed work ethic. If they don't need the money, they probably won't show up for the day.
Progress is slooooooow! We were promised our bedroom closet on June 21st and didn't get it until sometime in September, for example.
Getting around on the mainland, if you dont have your own vehicle, is very frustrating. You can't count on the bus to get you anywhere on time because there's no guarantee that the bus will even stop to pick you up.

Letters to my friendsIf you could pick one piece of advice to anyone moving here, what would it be?
Come visit first! See everywhere there is to see before you decide which part of the country you'd like to move to - you'd be surprised by how many people, who thought they wanted to live on an island, ended up on the mainland once they did some research. (Myself included)

What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?
Homesickness! I didn't think about how hard it would be for me to go for so long without seeing my friends and family back home.

What are your top 5 expat tips for anyone following in your footsteps?
  1. Visit first! Explore all the popular expat areas, at the very least.
  2. Do research about the area you're thinking of moving to, checking out blogs is a good way to get info about crime, things to do, and the feel of the community.
  3. Make sure you know where you're money is coming from once you make the move. If you're going to need a job while you're here, know all of the requirements.
  4. Don't expect everything to go smoothly.
  5. Be ready for anything!


Tell us a bit about your own expat blog.
letterstomyfriendsbackhome.com is a blog I started just to keep my friends and family informed about what we're doing down here - how to get Permanent Residency, progress on the house and farm, places we go to, things that we see, what's on the radio... it's just a little bit of everything; whatever comes out of my head!

How can you be contacted for further advice to future expats coming to your area?
Find a link to my email address at on my blog.

Carrie blogs at http://www.letterstomyfriendsbackhome.com/ which we recommend a quick visit if you haven't been already. Letters to my friends has an ExpatsBlog.com listing here so add a review if you like! If you appreciated this interview with Carrie, please also drop her a quick comment below.
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