If At First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try, Try Again…”
Belize Vacation Sweepstakes Essay#18
Since I was a child, living Green has been a central focus in my life. Growing up our yearly family vacations were spent traveling to one of the many National Parks throughout the US, camping in the forest, and going to the outdoor amphitheaters hosted by the “forest rangers.” Each night centered around a different topic, these included: ”the tidal pools and their ecosystems,” “what to eat if lost in the forest” and “the impact of tourism in the National parks.”Even then, I was a consciences camper, scouring our campsites before we left with my mom to make sure that there was no sign that we had been there!
My parents shopped locally, Saturday mornings began with a a visit to the local farm with my mom & dad, to buy corn, or order a turkey for the holidays. Then it was off to the farmers market to buy vegetables, flowers for the table, locally made bread, milk and eggs. Every night we gathered for dinner, our meals were always fresh, there never was a canned vegetable nor a processed product as part of our daily family meal. I actually used to envy my friends, they would come to school with bologna sandwiches on fluffy white bread, yellow cheese, pink fluffy whipped cream yumminess, how I longed for those things!
Little did I know how lucky I truly was, and today I honor and reaffirm these principles.
After my daughter was born in 1989, I realized that the corporate world was not in any way family friendly, and I decided to open a Cafe/Bakery named after my daughter with a menu that was fresh, healthy and exciting. I created a business with my youngest sister, who worked her magic by making our ever growing customer’s happy, my mom, who cared for my daughter like she was her own, my dad shared his business wisdom with me, and helped me realize that, I did indeed need to make a profit, my oldest sister, a nurse sent many customers our way, and my brother was there for me with his strong back, and his belief in me, together, we created a nurturing symbiotic relationship. Working with local farmers, buying organic as often as possible, I became a part of the local community gardens, working side by side with master gardeners who offered their expertise, I had the “fiddle-head lady” who would come into the Cafe with her basket of fiddle-head ferns, freshly pick that morning, the dairy farm with their glorious cream. Our success was the result of community involvement, and my love for being able to offer our customers fresh, healthy cuisine, and between utilizing the freshest ingredients, and my passion for my work, I enjoyed several years of spiritual freedom, I bartered for goods such as accounting services, lawyers fees, even with my landlord (something I learned from my dad, and his small business practice’s,) feeding them in turn for their knowledge.
Life felt so ‘right’ then…
Living a sustainable lifestyle that I so I embraced as a business owner, and community member unfortunately did not transfer into my personal life and ultimately all this was lost due to an abusive marriage. After several years of living this way, I narrowly escaped with my life, my daughter and I were taken in by a volunteer who helped battered women. He had extorted large sums of money from the business, and left us bruised spiritually, physically and financially. Following years of therapy, I began to gain confidence, to rebuild a life without fear, to have an inkling of hope that my daughter and I would find peace.
On December 21st, 2009, he was finally held accountable for his actions with a guilty plea, this was a profound day in my life, and has cleared my vision to fully focus on my massage degree.
As a perennial trimmed backed to the ground, its roots still holding life, I begin again…
I believe that winning the responsible traveler sweepstakes would offer an opportunity to delve into the philosophy that Chaa Resort exemplifies, and would be a wonderful way to celebrate the beginning of a new chapter in my life, I am currently studying Massage & Holistic Healing in Portland, Oregon, at East West College of the healing Arts, my focus will be on Woman’s fertility, I am writing my final paper on Mayan Fertility Massage (inspired by my sister’s premature ovarian failure,) and researching the renowned Dr. Rosita Avrigo, and hope to begin attending her Mayan Fertility workshops upon graduation.
My dream is to open a holistic spa that focuses on Mayan spiritual healing principles, and herbal remedies, while incorporating the mysteries behind Mayan culture.
I have visited the Yucatan in the past visiting Chitichin Itza, Tulum, & Coba, with my daughter, we were mesmerized, and returned with Mayan calenders, Mayan artwork, and redecorated our Cafe. We incorporated recipes from the local restaurants we so craved and loved, exciting our customers with new flavors, and colorful dishes. Yet, we have always dreamed of going to Belize to experience the jungle, snorkel the second largest reef in the world, eat in local cafes, and my daughters favorite part, visiting the local grocery stores to explore the different foods (and candy!) We would like to learn from Belizeans, experience their spiritual traditions, hear their stories, listen to their music and, hopefully touch their lives in some small way.
Delving into Dr. Arvigos’ life and all that she has accomplished given me that sense of excitement that I have not experienced since I owned my Cafe. Reading about Chaa Resort, and all that it has to offer, from the education classes to the guided walks through the jungle to see and learn about the different medicinal plants, has awakened a desire to immerse myself into learning Mayan healing practice’s.
Responsible Travel to me, encompasses leaving an impact on the local cultures lives, by respecting their land and their ways, staying in Eco-friendly resorts & Inns. It also involves being mindful, that we are a guest in their country.Taking part in the peoples daily traditions, and spiritual practice’s, learning new ways of doing things and seeing life from a new perspective. I believe that traveling can and will change your life, possibly more than anything else that you do…