Always Buy The Coconut!

On March 4, 2020, Becky, Kyra, Verity and I flew to Belize City.  It was the start of a long-planned one-month family trip to Belize.  Off the plane, we took the taxi to the ferry and went directly to the island of Caye Caulker.  For those who have been there before it is a small reef fringed coral island, home to around 2000 locals.  While we were there we walked the island to see the local seahorses, tarpons, and pelicans.  We enjoyed the beach areas and playgrounds.  We even took Kyra (who is 4) snorkeling for the first time at The Split, which was great.

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Kyra & Brock Waterman – March 5, 2020 – Caye Caulker, Belize

However, what we didn’t do was something we came to regret later due to something we never saw coming.  During our walk around the island, there was a freshly cut coconuts stand.  Kyra did a great job asking politely for us to buy the coconut for her to try.  As parents know, it takes so much time to teach this skill to a child.  If memory serves me correctly we had just finished a meal and didn’t think the timing was right to buy it then.  We instead promised we would do this at some other point in the trip. 

FIRE Travel Family - Always Buy The Coconut - Financial Independence - Retire Early - Coconut Drink

We assumed we would buy it on a different day.  Additionally, we were in Belize for a month and had the last 10+ days on the beach.   We figured it would be no problem to get one later.  As it went we didn’t happen to go by this stand again while on Caye Caulker.  We next spent a few days on Ambergris Caye and while there didn’t have the best weather.  We also didn’t see anyone selling the fresh-cut coconut.  After that, the next 2 weeks of the trip were inland. 

What happened next wasn’t something we could have planned for at the time.  However, it will likely surprise no one reading this.  We arrived in San Ignacio on Monday, March 16, with a plan to check out and head for the coast on Saturday, March 21.  Our first day in San Ignacio was like every other one on the trip.  Additionally, we were not limited from doing anything during our time in San Ignacio.  As you might be guessing at this point COVID-19 changed our plans dramatically.  By Friday, the government announced the closing of the borders.  The airport closed to international flights on Monday, March 23.  So on Saturday, March 21 we flew home to the United States. 

Kyra never got her coconut.  Now to be realistic we know there have been larger issues many kids deal with.  Plus to be honest she forgot about this after asking a few times earlier on the trip.  But this stuck with us as parents.  Especially given how great she behaved on the trip and how much she loves new experiences.  Since then Becky and I have a shorthand expression that we apply to all parts of life now to “Always buy the coconut.” 

To be clear this doesn’t mean spending on everything the kids ask for.  Nor does it mean that money buys happiness, we know better than this.  It simply means don’t put off unique experiences you can do today with your children.  Because you truly never know what might happen in the future!  

To end on a happy note, we used what we had learned near the end of our trip.  We got these drinks called Slooshie (crushed ice-styled drink) and Smoozie (fresh fruit-based drink).  These were from a small shop called Bambu Tea + Coffee, in San Ignacio.  In them, you can put what they call bobas, which pop in your mouth when you drink it.  We decide to get one to try something new and because when we talked to Kyra about the options she wanted one.  She loved it!  Interestingly, to this day when she talks about Belize, this drink is the first thing she is likely to bring up.  What is special and important now for a child might not be special in the future.  Lastly, because you miss one opportunity do not take it too hard.  With kids, there will always be another opportunity to do something special.  Make sure you take it!

FIRE Travel Family - Always Buy The Coconut - Financial Independence - Retire Early - Bambu Tea Coffee San Ignacio - Belize
Bambu Tea Coffee San Ignacio – Belize

Brock Waterman
Originally Uploaded: 6/28/2021

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