Photo Credit: TN
The Black Expat: "In Caye Caulker, Belize We Can Live Our Most Joyful, Authentic Lives"
Where there is peace, freedom from the harassment that plagues Black communities in the States, and authentic, natural living; Caye Caulker, Belize is a favorite destination for Black expats. Bree Brown’s documentation of her family’s new life in Belize certainly made us smile from the gut. The choice to live abundantly for her own spiritual maturation as a Black woman and her family’s is deeply admirable.
As a Black expat family based in the tiny island of Caye Caulker, Belize, The Browns have made a beautiful life that inspires many. In this Travel Noire interview, Bree shares how it all started and what keeps her going.
Tell us about who you are
Greetings! My name is Bree Brown and I’m a DC native, Spelman woman, wife, mama, and entrepreneur. I tutor ESL to international professionals through my primary business, World English Tutor, LLC. Outside of that, I use my blog to detail my journeys through emotional abuse and trauma, ultimate healing and tips for spiritual wellness. Through my monthly virtual meet-ups called The Intention Circle, I convene an intimate group of women to discuss powerful ways in which we can tap into our divine feminine energy to manifest the life of our wildest dreams. I am also a Content Creator, using my Instagram and YouTube channel to spread more awareness about spirituality and spiritual wellness.
What did life look like before your expat journey to Caye Caulker, Belize?
When I look back on our lives prior to becoming expats, I can honestly say that we had been living a life we thought we “should” be living, rather than living intentionally to satisfy our needs.
Shortly after we got married, we got pregnant and 2 days after our first son was born, the world shut down. During quarantine, we quickly outgrew our apartment, so we did what any young American family “should” do and bought our first home. The neighborhood we lived in turned out to be less than what we’d hoped for and police brutality was at an all-time high, invoking deeply-rooted fear that prevented us from operating freely and joyfully.
For this reason we found that we were literally always stressed. We still continued to work tirelessly to meet all of our financial responsibilities, save, spend what little free time we had tending to Josiah and when we got pregnant again with our second son, Isaiah, we felt even more pressure to work & save.
Entrepreneurship became less fun and more burdensome and that’s when we realized that we both needed a break. We planned a trip back to Caye Caulker in March 2021 for our 2-year anniversary and when we returned from that trip, we realized we no longer wanted to live a life from which we needed a vacation.
Why did you choose Caye Caulker for your family?
My husband surprised me with a honeymoon to Caye Caulker in 2019. As soon as I stepped foot on the island, I felt the vibrancy and the positivity that reverberated across the small landscape of this tropical paradise. The locals are some of the most genuinely friendly individuals and they imprinted on me pretty profoundly during our first trip there.
Seeing that it wasn’t just a vacation destination but a place where both locals and expats live and raise their children, we realized for the first time that our dream was possible! As of March 2022, we decided that there was no better time to take the leap so that we could finally live freely, joyfully and abundantly.
What does a typical day look like on the island?
Typically, we start our mornings getting breakfast at one of our favorite local spots, followed by iced coffee and mini donuts on the shore.
We’ll then pick up some fruit and head home for our midday nap. Usually while the boys nap, CB and I work. I’ll either teach clients, prepare for my upcoming spiritual wellness retreat, The L.E.A.P. Retreat, LLC, or plan content while CB is busy scheduling moves in the DMV through his business, Komplete Trucking, LLC.
We’ll take a walk with the boys, go by The Split to sit on the beach, have a drink at a local restaurant, pick up dinner and head in. The boys are usually down around 7pm, giving CB and I the rest of the night to relax.
What did you do to make yourself feel at home in Belize?
Although we’d sold the majority of our belongings prior to coming to the island, we shipped most of the things that felt like home to our apartment in Belize. I set everything up within a few days of our move and since then, it has reminded us of the apartment we moved into together when we were first dating.
The truth is though, Caye Caulker has always felt like home, so we really didn’t need to do much to make it feel that way.
How has the move changed or affected your family life?
We experience little to no stress anymore, so we are able to simply enjoy every single day! We aren’t working with the primary goal of paying off a mortgage, a massive utility bill or getting out of debt and that’s been a huge financial relief. Additionally, living in Caye Caulker eliminates fear of police brutality, discrimination or random acts of violence and that’s made a profound difference in my ability to parent and show up as both a mother and a wife, allowing each of us to blossom fully into our most authentic selves.
How perfect that you were able to gift yourselves that safety and joy. Any advice for travelers hoping to make the move to Caye Caulker?
I would definitely recommend visiting first. If you’re looking for a significant change to how you approach your day-to-day and are willing to eliminate the need for instant gratification, then Caye Caulker is an incredible place for you!