It's hard to believe that one year ago today we were boarding a plane from Belize, which had been our home for over a year and half, back to the US. When we moved to Belize full-time in August 2011, we truly thought we'd be there for many years. But as time went on, our desire to travel more than we were able to easily do from an island started coming to the forefront. Although we loved many things about our island home, there was still so much more we wanted to see and do. We missed our road cycling and hiking in places other than tropical jungles. And I (Emily) was more than a bit homesick.
Since returning to the US, we have had an amazing year! We really have done what we intended when we decided to come back stateside. After first spending a couple of months in Florida and with our parents in North Carolina and Ohio, in late May we settled in Prairie Village, Kansas, part of the greater Kansas City area. We enjoyed exploring the KC area (mostly by bike!), and using that as a base, we were able to travel more easily to parts of the US that are hard to reach (by car anyway) from the east.
We took a fantastic trip to New Mexico in July, re-visited family in North Carolina and Ohio in August; and in September we visited North and South Dakota and Nebraska.
Since we knew we didn't care to experience a Kansas City winter, we spent the month of December on the North Carolina coast (and had Christmas with my family), January on North Padre Island, Texas; February in Tucson, Arizona; and are now just down the road in the small town of Patagonia, Arizona for the month of March.
We've done all this travel packed to the roof in our Honda CR-V with Paisley riding shotgun. For the longer stays, we have mostly stayed in furnished rental condos and small houses through vrbo.com, and used pet-friendly hotels coming and going on the road. All in all, we've been in or through 26 of the 50 US states in the past year, some of them being brand new to us. And we just took a fun day trip south of the border in Nogales, Mexico.
We have done lots of road cycling as well as some mountain biking. Barry fulfilled a couple of his bucket list items by riding the entire length of the Michelson Trail in South Dakota and the Katy Trail in Missouri.
We've also done some amazing hikes, including summitting two state's highest peaks (Wheeler Peak, New Mexico and Harney Peak, South Dakota).
We've helped our parents in their yards, and we've had some fine reunions with a few of our dearest friends.
All in all, though we love and miss Belize, and on cold days get very nostalgic for our beachfront abode, we think that we made the right decision to come back to the US. We've had so many experiences here that we would have missed out on if we'd stayed on the island, but we do hope to visit Belize again in the future. We miss the friends we made there and the incredible winter weather the most!
So what will the coming year hold for us and where will we go next? To be quite honest, we aren't completely sure yet. Of course there will be travel, bicycling, birding, and hiking, but we are currently tossing around several different ideas for how this might all come about. We continue to feel incredibly fortunate to have the freedom of so many choices -- sometimes too many choices!
So thanks for reading, please stay tuned, and we'll certainly share more when our plans firm up!
Emily & Barry
We're a long-married, early-retired couple who are currently traveling as nomads with no fixed home base. After years of living in North Carolina (Emily's home state), we spent 18 months living oceanfront on Ambergris Caye, Belize, a year road-tripping the US in a Honda CR-V, a year in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and are now roaming North America in our 32' motorhome, Pearl, following warm weather whenever possible.
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