Friday, January 01, 2010

Where were you (10 years ago) at Y2K and what were you doing?

I was on a nearly empty first flight out of Detroit Metro airport headed for Cancun Mexico and then ultimately for Belize. I figured (correctly) that they would not put that big plane in the air if they thought it would crash.

I was a tier 2 supplier for GM and had to file a Y2K plan months in advance. My plan was this: I plan on turning the clock back one year on all my computer equipment, then unplugging everything. And as it turned out, Y2K was a non-issue.

10 years ago would I have figured that I would be in this place at this time, doing this thing? I came to Belize initially on an exploratory mission. I had checked out other places, and they didn't fit. I knew I wanted out of the rat race, and out of corporate America. I was in the publishing business and subject to crazy deadlines, technology glitches, and other people's bad planning. It nearly wrecked me. So that was the year I decided to bail. Back and forth I went, working on plans & contacts.

I get asked this questions all the time: "Did you come down here on vacation and stay?" And the answer is no, it was part of a 3 year plan to exit. When my youngest daughter went into high school, the light bulb went on over my head and I realized that I didn't HAVE to do this forever and forever. I needed to do something for myself, I had been working since I was 12 years old, first job was in the family business, then for the U.S. government, then for a big university, then a corporate publisher, and then for myself (the worst torture ever imaginable).

10 years ago, I was the typical idealist. I got down here and flopped around for a while, a fish out of water. I made some mistakes and nearly got swindled in a land deal, but somehow some way I was saved by the strangest twist of events. It took a full year to acclimatize myself and not break a sweat at the thought of moving my limbs. On Caye Caulker there are signs saying "Go Slow" and you think that it is referring to the speed of golf carts. Well, really it is the speed for walking. If you walk slow you sweat less.

So this morning, the first morning of 2010, its a little rainy and cool, but living in Belize is still better than having to get a real job.

So, the question I pose is where were you and what were you doing on Y2K?


Guyana-Gyal said...

I was in Miami, in my sister's home, fretting about my laptop, whether or not it would *die* because I didn't know if it was Y2K compatible.

Real job. What's a 'real' job? Working for others in a stinky ol' office? Nah. I think I will stick to struggling working from home for as lonnnnng as possible.

Anonymous said...

I was at my bf's (at the time) vacation home in Cape Cod. I remember being watching the TV coverage from around the world and being disappointed that "nothing" seemed to be happening. Then we went home and kept on going to work. Much later, we broke up. MB

Anonymous said...

My husband and I flew into Belize and Caye Caulker on Dec 31,1999---much to the horror of some of our family members who were afraid our plane would crash out of the sky. Some pleaded with us to stay in the U.S. where it was "safe." Others thought we were plain crazy for going to some "middle of the nowhere" island in the Caribbean away from family and friends when certain doom lurked on the horizon.

Ironically, about 8PM as we were eating dinner at Mr. Martinez' restaurant---the electricty shut down on the whole island! We were probably in the only place on the planet that actually had a blackout. :D Just the island generator was all. It came back on about 45 minutes later. People were cheering and laughing about the "suspence" and irony of it all.

We danced til just past midnight at the Oceanside, then danced til the break of dawn of the New Mellennium on the beach at Popeyes. (Carmen)

Tamara said...

Wow, what to say about your success. This is a great inspiration for others.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lee Vanderwalker,

Regina here, for

I would like to personally invite you to list your blog on our Expat Women Blog Directory ( so that other women can read about and learn from your expat experiences.

Many thanks in advance for your contribution and keep up your great blog!