Thursday, September 27, 2012

Shipping Made Easy From The Southeastern US!

What to take in the jeep, what to leave behind, what to ship down? All pertinent questions at this juncture.

We don't want to look like we're moving to Belize via Mexico, but would rather appear as though we're tourists on holiday, only carrying suitcases. Thus began our search for an economical shipping company to send down some "necessities" to begin our retirement. 

We checked on The Belize Forums website for advice and found several shippers in Houston-which is along our planned route to Mexico. We could drag a small rental trailer the 780 miles to Houston dealing with the lower gas mileage, slower speed and spend a day to drop off our stuff at their place of business, pack everything in their barrels, return the rented trailer and then get underway to the border. Feeling this was our best option, I sent several emails and had received an estimate of $3000 (plus duty) for a 20 foot container. We don't need one that large, so I asked about consolidating the shipment and have had no further contact with them-I guess they don't consolidate? 

Anyway, I googled "shipping Nashville to Belize"--lo and behold, a local company was at the top of the list! Really? Our new local Belizean friend recommends and has used them without incident. So, I called Caribbean Shipping Services. Yes, they consolidate; yes, they will pick up; yes, they will store our shipment until we're ready to receive it; yes, we can send either in a barrel or a crate-doesn't matter the weight because it's going by boat. YES! They have several locations in the southeastern US (Indiana, Ohio, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia) consolidating the Nashville shipments with the Atlanta location every 2 weeks and ship out through Miami. It will take 2-3 weeks until the shipment arrives in Belize City, we just have to pick it up at the docks and go through customs/duty. I'm sure it'll be an all day adventure but (per our new mantra) "what else do we have to do?"

We've decided to build a 40 cubic foot crate and send our stuff down with them. The grand total for our shipment will be $440 plus duty. They will pick up the crate within a couple of days notice.

Here's their information:

Friday, September 21, 2012

It's a small world!

We stopped in our local Sam's Club and were quickly accosted by an associate to upgrade our current membership. We politely declined by telling him that we would be moving to Belize in short order. His expression changed to one of disbelief as he replied, "One of our associates is from Belize." Whaaaat? Here in little ol' Nashville? We found out the associate works in the meat department, but was not working this day.

A few days later, we returned to Sam's Club, beelined it to the meat department, and there standing in the aisle, stocking the meat cases, was our guy! We approached tentatively, eavesdropping on his conversation with a fellow associate and taking note of his accent--how do you start a conversation when you have so many questions? "Excuse us", we waited patiently until he finished his current instruction and he slowly turned to us. "Yes, may I help you?" Oh, yes!! He stood politely, and smilingly by, as we blubbered something about moving to Belize this fall and could we get together, with his wife, over dinner to pick their brains. We exchanged some additional pleasantries and decided he would contact us when they had a night free.

That night was last night!

We met at a local restaurant for dinner. They brought one of their sons--a student in a local high school, the other is a Sophomore at a local university. Interesting aside, their sons were both placed in higher grade levels when they arrived in the States as their Belezian education had them functioning at least 1 grade level higher!  So the 5 of us perused the menu and ordered...immediately we began to talk--we discussed: shipping personal belongings, family, church, holidays, how healthcare "works", dentists, hospitals, lawyers, friends, districts, cities--just a whole gamut of things! They brought some BTB magazines and maps for us to read and will give us some local contacts to help us along during our adventure. We laughed, were serious, listened and learned. They were very open and proud of their home country. What an enjoyable and informative evening!

We parted as new friends and will have dinner once more before we leave Nashville!

We'll pass on what we've learned in future posts.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Hiking Shoes

Thinking ahead to our adventure, Mayan ruins are definitely on the radar. Having explored many sites in the past, I remember how cumbersome and hot athletic shoes can be in the warm, humid climate.

I want a pair of closed toe, light weight, trail-soled shoes. I visited several big shoe stores, sporting goods stores as well as the internet. Tried on a variety of hiking shoes. Everything from traditional high top boots to those cute little shoes with toes in them.

Funny, the more selection, the more difficult the decision!

Keeping my initial criteria in mind, I decided on the Merrell, Pace Glove adventure shoe. It ticks all the boxes: closed toe, light weight, trail-soled as well as having an anti-microbial feature and "barefoot" technology. Some women run long distance in these shoes. 

The material is a light weight breathable cloth, the trail sole is well corrugated, the toe is slightly curved upward (to help grip on the trails) and follows the contour of the sole of the foot with adequate arch support.  The barefoot technology makes the shoe very comfortable---I prefer to be barefoot. It has taken little time to break them in.

Looking forward to visiting the ruins!

From Merrell's website: "Designed specifically for women, less is definitely more when exploring with our Vibram®-soled Pace Glove natural adventure shoe. All the protection your feet need from rocks and roots, and an ultra-lightweight upper with a synthetic leather foot sling for stability fits like a glove." Merrell Barefoot Pace Glove Running Shoe - Women's - Lavender In Size: (Google Affiliate Ad)