Thought working from home was a new national phenomena? For some ‘digital nomads’, they’ve taken it to a new level.
Meet Katie in Barbados – our marketing guru, this is her story!
We have now been living and ‘working from home’ in Barbados for 7 months and it was the best decision we ever made!
During the first lockdown we heard a story on the radio about Barbados offering a visa that allowed you to come to the country for a year and work remotely for your current job. My partner and I have a small marketing agency with clients mostly in the UK and Europe and at the time had already been working from home for around a year. It was a no-brainer. We both made the decision on the spot, there was not much to think about really, no kids, a very rentable flat and most importantly a love of travel and warmer climates!
Barbados reopened after a strict lockdown which meant that the only COVID cases they experienced were incoming passengers who were, for the most part, getting caught on arrival. Life had essentially gone back to normal while we were staring down the barrel of a 2nd wave and lockdown. We escaped just in time.
Working remotely in Barbados has been a dream. We explained to all our clients what we were doing, and they were all very supportive (also quite jealous). The internet speeds here are excellent, probably better than our London flat, so work and zoom calls are not an issue. We adjusted our hours slightly with the time difference, we start at around 7am – 11am/12pm UK time depending on the time of year, and work till mid-afternoon. The work/life balance that we experience here is fantastic, after work we will head to the beach to swim with the local turtles, or go to our gym at the Hilton resort and then relax by the pool after. I have even been known to take my laptop to the pool and work from a sun lounger (only on days with no zoom meetings though, that would just be too cruel!). Back home we would finish at 5, trudge to the gym, have dinner, rinse, and repeat.
It certainly has not been entirely plain sailing. Barbados did have to go back into lockdown after a bus crawl super spreader event at Christmas, which ended up lasting around 2 months, although I would take lockdown here over back home any day. We could still go to the beach for a swim in the mornings and evenings and could still exercise outside. Only a couple of weeks after things had started opening up again though, disaster struck once more, this time in the form of a volcanic eruption on the neighbouring island of St Vincent. The ash clouds from the eruptions covered Barbados in dense toxic ash for days, meaning residents we stuck in their homes with no windows open and no air con (it damages the insides) and a huge clean-up operation to look forward to. Now, almost 2 moths on I am still sweeping it up every day. Next up is hurricane season which we have been assured will be a bumper edition, of course it will be, it is 2021 after all!
We absolutely make the most of our weekends here with so much to see and do. We had never been to Barbados before, so we are trying to cover all the main tourist attractions, as well as more local activities. We love spending lazy afternoons at beach bars and restaurants, of which there are plenty, and have made some great friends here who we explore the island with. My partner has joined a local 5-aside football team and we are thinking about surfing lessons.
We are hoping to extend our visa for another 6 months, we just are not ready to think about coming home yet. If anyone has the ability to work remotely and is considering joining the digital nomads then I would 100% recommend taking the plunge. It is a great way to get to know a new place, live like a local, but continue with your existing job.
Digital nomads is a phrase about agility and mobility. Only wish I was younger…. didn’t have internet in my day.