For most of my life I have been a control freak with some obsessive compulsive traits and a fair bit of anxiety. It served me well in many ways. I was organized, capable, thorough and informed. What I wasn't was flexible and spontaneous. That did cause me some problems, especially when it came to vacations and travel. I wanted, no needed, to control circumstances that I clearly never could. But people can change, and I have been able to teach myself to be adaptable, less anxious, and go with the flow.

This has never been more important than on my current vacation. I not only was to accept changes, I was able to enjoy and embrace them. Two weeks ago I left for my third trip to Belize. This time my husband went with me and we were with friends for the beginning of the trip. As usual, we left in dark of night in the snow not knowing if our flight would leave. If you ever want to be sure exactly when a snowstorm will happen just check my flight dates for Belize. For the last three years I have left and returned in a blizzard.

The first challenge we faced when we landed in Belize was trying to find transportation to the island we were going to. The ferry had already left for the last trip of the night. We were able to find a private ferry that dropped us off at our own dock and served rum punches on the ride. It was a great alternative.

As I have learned in the past from visiting Belize, everyday life has so many unexpected occurrences that they become expected. Food is limited and very expensive. You eat what is available, not what you feel like. For two weeks I ate either shrimp or snapper every day. Limited choices, but delicious ones. I gave up iced coffee for limeade. I replaced vodka with rum. Flexibility really does have its advantages. At one point Keith and I left the island to visit my monkeys up at Wildtracks. I was so excited to see the ones I left a year ago. One monkey got overly excited to see me and I ended up with a slash across my finger from one of his canines. We had to search out some suture material I had left last year and Keith stitched me up under less than sterile conditions. That night we found out that Wildtracks was limited for sleeping space so we slept in the room where the fruit for the monkeys was kept, along with another young woman volunteer. Interesting space with all the bananas and papayas I could eat. Of course being among all that fruit we had to check for snakes, bats, and scorpions in our clothes and beds frequently. It wasn't ideal but it gave me some funny memories and a good story to tell. Unfortunately my monkey bite got infected ( how many of you have ever said that) and I had to get started on antibiotics. The only ones we had I was allergic to, but had to take them anyway. Luckily I had lomotil and Pepto-bismol. The unexpected good news was that you can buy any antibiotics at a pharmacy in Belize without any prescription, so I was able to get what I needed.

Keith and I left the island to head to the western part of the country. Traveling without a map made for some interesting turn offs. Before reaching our destination, we spent a night in a forest cabana, went on a night tour of the zoo, explored a Mayan cave, and went swimming in a gorgeous clear blue cenote. When we reached our destination, we were at a wildlife clinic. We cared for a seven foot boa, an injured four eyed possum, coatimundis, lizards and a very feisty raccoon. Keith even assisted in surgery on a dog. We just went where we were needed and did what we were asked to. I am amazed at how much more I can enjoy myself when I am just letting life happen.

Our biggest adjustment was yet to come. When we flew out of Belize, we only got as far as Miami. It is now three days later and we are just leaving Miami. The Boston weather was definitely out of my control. On one level it is nice being here in the sunshine, but we do need to get back to our life. I'm staying calm, enjoying what Miami has to offer and trying to find some clean clothes to in my suitcase to wear. Walking among the beautiful people of Miami, we definitely look like refugees from the jungle.

Giving up the responsibility of taking care of everything and everyone around me and trying to keep it all under control has given me freedom beyond what I could have imagined. And I'm loving it.

Cape Cod Local