When your world has come crashing down and lies in shattered ruins, what do you do? Well, if you are Ann, a 57-year-old novice snorkeler and rusty backpacker, you go back-packing through Belize, of course! Join her as she sets off on her hilarious back-packing adventures of discovery from the Caribbean cayes to the deep jungles of the colourful and fascinating Central American country, Belize, via the urban jungle of Downtown Houston.
It all begins on her 57th birthday. Waking from yet another wine induced sleep, she is in despair as she contemplates her empty and futile life.
Isn’t this meant to be the time of life when a woman enjoys her grandchildren, plans her retirement and finally takes those dreadful over-fifties holidays with her husband? At least, that is how she’d always envisaged it. But her life hasn’t turned out like that.
Last week she gave up her hotel business after years of stressful struggle. It is a relief to have escaped the stress, but it was meant to be her pension pot. Now she has no job, no career, and no pension pot.
Four weeks ago she had to put down her dog, Nelson. He had been her faithful and inseparable companion for twelve years, and her heart is breaking.
But her worst blow had been three months ago when her best friend; her mother, had died suddenly.
With no husband and a disastrous relationship record, her mother, dog and business have been her life and her anchors. Now with her emotions dangerously out of control, a nasty black creature constantly chases her, trying to drag her down into its festering pit of depression.
Crippled by grief and fear, she has no idea what to do next, but she knows she has to do something.
So in the absence of any other plan, she turns to Google. Typing in ‘snorkeling in February’, up pops Belize. This will do me! She decides when Google reveals the promised treasures of Belize, and before she can talk herself out of it, books her flight.
Follow her journey of discovery as she launches her Barehotelier travel blog, experiences hostelling after thirty-five years, is stalked by urban wolves in Houston, spends the night with a group of cheerleaders and learns about the Superbowl.
A self-confessed political retard, she is travelling in the months following the Trump and Brexit elections and constantly finds herself in mind-freezing, sweat-inducing situations as she is expected to talk politics.
Backpacking alone through Belize, she slips into Belizean time while she travels on old buses with vinyl seats, loud music and no air-conditioning.
She discovers the warmth and generosity of the gentle Belizean people as she swims with sharks, sleeps in a wooden shed with a tin roof, freezes with fear at the top of a Maya Ruin, avoids swallowing howler monkey droppings and goes in pursuit of Monkey River Town.