Expats- To Bring and Not to Bring

Expat Relocation – What I Wish I Had and Hadn’t Brought with Me

Posted: 14 Apr 2011 08:44 AM PDT

As most of you know I relocated to Belize last October.  From the beginning I was not sure where in Belize I would end up, so I decided not to bring any of my possessions with me except for four suitcases, my pillow, and a laptop.  Someone who is considering moving here as well recently asked me “What do you wish you had brought with you, and what do you wish you had left behind?”  I think this is an excellent question, so here is my answer to all of you attempting an expat relocation.

Wish I’d Brought:

§ My printer and all of my office supplies!  Conducting any kind of business here, even just managing your life back home, requires these tools.

§ My mattress.  Mattresses here just plain suck to be honest.  I had a Royal Pedic, so you can imagine the transition phase I’ve gone through.

§ More jeans, long sleeve shirts, jackets, sweaters and closed toe shoes.  OK, I fell for all the marketing campaigns and truly believed I was moving to a year round warm climate.  Now don’t get me wrong – Belize rarely dips below 65 degrees, but when it gets that low, it is cold, sorry! I know all you Minnesotans are gonna let me have it for that statement, but there it is! I really wished I’d brought warmer clothes.

§ Vodka and wine!  These items are just so expensive here due to the duty tax.  If only I could have a year’s supply…

§ Chapstick.  Oddly enough it is quite hard to find chapstick like back home, especially the wonderful fruit flavors.

Wish I’d Left It Home:

§ My fancy schmancy purse.  It’s just not necessary here.  Instead, a great backpack purse is much more practical, whether you’re riding a golf cart in Ambergris Caye or walking around town in the Cayo, having a big flashy purse is a hassle, attracts attention, and just doesn’t fit in here at all.

§ All of my old costume jewelry.  I admit – I was a Kohl’s jewelry addict.  But the jewelry here is so beautiful, inexpensive, and unique to the area, I don’t even wear it anymore.

§ My bathing suits, shorts, and tank tops – not all of them, just some of them.  The clothes here are adorable and cheap, especially in the Cayo area and Belize City.  Dressing like a local makes you feel like you fit in more.  I’ve really had fun updating my wardrobe here.

My advice to others would be you won’t need as many of the consumerism items you are accustomed to now.  I also would highly encourage you to bring at least a year’s worth of your prescriptions so you can take your time in locating your particular meds.  So, anything I didn’t mention you’re wondering about?  Ask away…

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