The idea of the Belize Series is to give you a taste of the key things we did mixed with my thoughts. As you probably remember from last post that Belize is a tiny island which you can walk from end to end. It has about six over water bungalows and six cabanas and few villas – so all in all less than 20 accommodations. And while we were there we had about dozen people staying and dozen staff like the adventure guide/bartender/chef/manager etc.
And the meals are communal except breakfast which is served as you show up. Lunch and Dinner are communal and on these long tables outside or inside depending on the weather. Even though I am an extrovert I wasn’t looking forward to talking or making small talk. Small talk was something that went from high to low on the liking spectrum in the last few years.I would rather keep quiet than make small talk.
Let’s do a flashback, if that’s even possible but you get the idea. I went to London to do my MBA in London Business School. I was new there in terms of the social circle and so were majority of the other students who had come for the MBA. We all formed our circle of friends and bonded closely. Before MBA, I was never exposed to this wide range of network and newness of the social circle. Growing up in India , I also wasn’t completely at ease with all the conversation starters and questions that people asked – “How was your weekend?” or “What are your plans for Friday?”. With its proximity to Europe and large number of holidays there’s the typical question of – “What are you plans for the long weekend?” So, I started preparing these answers beforehand as to what I would say and be done with it. This was beginning of my story creation.
And then soon the story creation expanded to my dating Adam – “What’s going on with you and Adam?” and then wedding plans, the long term relationship and babies. Or How’s my job? How’s my mediation going? Am I still going to Bikram Yoga every day – why did I start doing it every day – why did I stop doing it every day – why did I switch to ashtanga yoga? I had all the answers and story ready. And why was this a problem – well, if you repeat a story enough times then there is social pressure attached to it which in some ways ends up shaping your life and I was tired of it.
When we left London – our social circle was quite busy. I remember telling Adam that I was either having lunch/dinner with somebody or deciding when to have lunch/dinner with them. And that meant a steady stream of stories.
Then universe did its thing and we moved to Columbus where our social circle is far and few which is exactly what I wanted and with that the realization that I don’t have to prepare stories. I can just do what I want over the weekend and forget about what I did. There’s still that question of weekends but it’s usually just at home or dinner with in-laws so not much preparation there. Now, I do understand that this is an ice breaker and an important social ritual. It was actually quite a relief moving to Columbus.
How’s this all related to Belize? So when we had our first communal meal the memories came flooding back. Here, the typical question was “What did you do today?” We came to the island to do nothing and plan on doing nothing as well. This is when I realized that I had stopped creating stories at least for conversation sake.I had found the freedom to live life the way I wanted.
Here is to Stories – Signing off with virgin Mojito in Thatch Caye. [With an empty glass and a hermit crab]
Link to Day 1