I am Elsbeth Lam, born in the Netherlands. The Netherlands have many good sides but they are also very densely populated, heavily polluted and the weather is cold, gray and wet. My family moved a lot so I grew up in different countries. No wonder I had my heart set on moving away, somewhere where life is slow and there is room, nature and sunshine.
After I finished my studies in Social Science, I set out to work and save money. I lived without much luxury and set my salary aside for travel and the future emigration. The favorite travel destination was Africa, which appealed to me with its colourful cultures, simple life, beautiful nature and abundant sunshine. However, each country had a downside that made me doubt whether I could live there.
I stumbled upon Belize in 1998. A planned diving trip to the Bay Islands of Honduras, which were hit by hurricane Mitch the day before my flight, fell through. Instead, I rescheduled for Belize, and never regretted it. Instead of diving I explored the country and loved it. Belize had the charms of an African country without the downsides. So I came back again and again, to visit parts not yet familiar and to explore the options and regulations of moving to Belize. In 2002, I made my decision and spent the next two years wrapping up my Dutch life and job.
In June 2004 I arrived in Belize with a backpack, a suitcase, and a plan to take it slow and get to know the people and the ways of the country. I bought a vehicle and started driving. By September my heart was set on settling in Toledo to start a backpacker’s paradise, the kind of place that I always looked for while traveling. As soon as I entered the farm in San Miguel I knew 'this is it'. A short bushtrail led to a clearing with a little house and a few dilapitated thatches. Surrounding the clearing was a wall of green with almost hidden trails leading to a field of corn, or a patch of cilantro and bananas, or the swimming hole at the river. A magical labyrinth.
The farm in San Miguel had everything I was looking for: safety, nearby attractions, riverside, hills, natural beauty, accesibility and a fascinating culture to live with. In December 2004 I moved to the farm, planning to clean up and start building soon. Farming appealed to me much more then I expected, although as a city girl I was clueless about it. I got a lot of advice and help from neighbours and friends. As I learned I became fascinated with this way of life, it is hard work but very satisfying. Since I grow my own food and have to make everything from scratch, cooking has become a very important part of my life and a creative outlet. And the animals, plants and people around me never cease to amaze me, with new discoveries every time.
I am grateful today, that I am able to offer this same haven to those who seek the truth in nature that I have found such peace in. I am surrounded by wonderful animals – ducks, dogs, chickens, cats and even my old horse. We all live happily among one another, free and unafraid, the way nature intended. Please feel free to join me in marveling at the majesty of this wondrous place.