Thursday, September 30, 2010

Belize on the government's dime?

I don't know if I mentioned this before, but I've been seriously considering going somewhere tropical for a month next spring or summer. I'm getting the travel bug again and going home for the holidays is just not cutting it anymore. My method of travel usually involves "moving" to a new country for a significant period of time and living with a culture instead of just going around and sightseeing. I hate sightseeing and I generally suck at it. That's where Belize comes into play.

I've exhausted Europe and have no desire to go to Asia. Canada's too similar to the U.S. and Mexico's in my backyard. So that leaves Central and South America, as well as Africa. I would absolutely LOVE to go to Africa and work on animal refuge or something like that but it's so far away and so expensive. Belize, on the other hand, is just down the Yucatan Peninsula from Mexico and its official language is English, meaning the transition to "living" there won't be nearly as tough as it was in Italy. AND (drumroll please...) it's got the second largest reef in the world, right after the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. That means a water-based culture, lots of SCUBA diving, and the possibility of volunteering at a reef conservancy, which would put me on a boat or in the water every single day. Just the way I like it.

I talk about volunteering because I think that's the best and easiest way to get thrown into a culture when you're only there for about a month or so. It puts you right into the inner workings of an organization and, most importantly for me, you're pretty much given people to hang out with/talk to so you're not completely alone when you first arrive. That, and it gives me something to do while I'm there. And lastly (like the title suggests), you can write off all expenses (flights, visa fees, etc) from your taxes if you put in enough hours. So essentially a free trip.

So far I've decided on two different kinds of volunteer groups: a home for abused and neglected children on the outskirts of Belize City and a reef conservation group on one of the beautiful cayes off the coast of Belize. They are two very different experiences and so I don't know which one to actually pursue. The kid's home requires 40 hours a week but gives food and housing (also has a "strict no alcohol policy" which sounds like no alcohol on the premises but maybe can go out once a week...kind of like camp) while I don't know about the reef conservation group since I haven't even contacted them yet. From what I can gather, I'd be on my own for food and housing but I could also do whatever I want during my free time. For the kids, I'd be more inland, as in, not directly on the beach, and for the reef, I'd be surrounded by water. Decisions, decisions...

I'm going to look into more reef/marine animal conservation NGOs and email them about volunteer positions to see what's out there. I'm leaning towards the kids though, because it'd be great volunteer experience for a potential med school app and I'd be able to follow a pediatrician around in a somewhat family practice environment (in that it's not emergency medicine, but rather everyday coughs and colds). And right now, my future is somewhat more important than hanging on a beach. But at the same time, the whole point of heading to Belize is to be in a beach-like culture and be in or on the water as much as possible. Assuming I have weekends off, I can still do that even working 40 hours/week. So for now, it looks like I'm going to the orphanage.

As for the weight-loss thing...I've been getting better about not eating out and eating more healthy. I still haven't made a food schedule, but I'm getting there. My parents are in town this weekend, so I'm pretty sure I won't be cooking much at home (hopefully my mom will because she's awesome like that) so I haven't been grocery shopping at all. I'm saving that for when they leave.

I know I keep putting off food shopping cooking and all that jazz. It's so easy to blame my laziness on other things going on in my life and making excuses because school's kicking my butt or I have a huge project due at work. But, if this is so important to me, then I should be able to make time for it. I mean, I make time for going to the movies or playing a soccer game, so I should have a couple hours to spare for my health!

So I need to give myself a routine and all will be well. So far I've incorporated my homework into a weekly schedule so I know exactly what to do when. Now the next step is adding grocery shopping into it (I've planned for Wednesdays). And after that, a specific workout schedule, like run on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, bike on Saturday and Sunday or something like that. I want to enjoy all aspects of my weekend and keep the unpleasant things for the week (such as work, school, and running), so I think that schedule looks pretty awesome. I'll probably move it around a bit, but for now that sounds good.

Been biking to and from school on Mondays and Wednesdays. Nothing today.

No comments:

Post a Comment