Setting Goals and Seeing the World: Scuba Diving in Belize

While Orr Fellowship proudly calls Indianapolis home, Orr Fellows are often found all over the country (and world) traveling for work, pleasure, or sometimes a mix of both! Imagine yourself joining some of our adventORRs in this Travel Blog Series.

What are we going to do with the rest of our lives, and why are we waiting to do it?

These are two questions that my roommate and I asked each other last fall – several months after graduating college and beginning work. It’s so often that we get stuck in the day-to-day and simply forget that each day is a choice – one in which we decide where and how we spend our time: what time we get up, whether we go in to work, whether we stay in the same city or simply move elsewhere, if we stick to the same career path or pivot directions. While each day in itself seems small, it’s the summation of these days that make up the rest of our lives – and each one is a choice. On this day, we decided to start by making a list, a list of things we wanted to accomplish or experience in our lives. Given the engineer that I am, I segmented my list into multiple categories, ranging from professional development goals to adventure-based goals. Amongst these was learning how to scuba dive – something that I had wanted to do since I was in kindergarten. Fast forward two months, and it was time for me to depart on a last-minute, solo trip to Belize to learn how to scuba dive.

When I travel, I like to minimize set plans and maximize the potential for serendipity to act on my travels. As such, I arrived in Belize having only booked scuba lessons for three days out of my 10-day trip, leaving lodging and the rest of the trip plans up to my whim and the wind. Over the course of the trip – my first time traveling solo – I traveled with people I met in hostels, ventured into Guatemala for a few days, saw the ruins of Tikal, went spear fishing, took advice from locals on what to see and where to eat, learned to scuba dive, and simply shared a small bit of life with strangers who I can now call friends.

Going to Guatemala and seeing the ruins was awe-inspiring. Spearfishing was an exciting way to catch dinner. Going on little-known hikes, visiting small beaches that I had all to myself, and simply exploring what intrigued me was freeing. Realizing my goal of learning to scuba dive and seeing the entirely foreign world that exists underwater made me realize how much more of the world there is to see. Sharing moments with new friends showed me that traveling solo rarely means alone. However, at the end of the trip when it came time to leave, the choice to get on the plane and return to Indianapolis or to continue to wander in Central America was a simple one. While I love to travel and will continue to do so quite often throughout the remainder of my life, I will never be a nomad. While new experiences and new people are both exciting and meaningful, I value having a place to call home and consistent compeers with which to share life. It is, however, nice to realize that it’s a choice.