‘People thought I was crazy’ – Single mum’s move to Barbados

Jane McDonald explores the beach in Barbados

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A year on from the big move, Vicki has no plans to return to the UK soon. She has extended her visa and is looking forward to another year – or more – of life on the Caribbean island. Although she still works as a lawyer for a London-based company, this works well for Vickie as she wakes up at 4am and is able to finish her working day at 12:30pm, two hours before it’s time to pick her children up from school.

Vickie told Express.co.uk that her children go to a “good, local private school” and love it there.

The move to Barbados was partly for the mum-of-three to spend more time with her children, which she has managed to do. But, she admitted “it’s definitely a juggling act – I’m basically straddling two time zones”.

“Of course, it pains me to set an alarm for 4am every day when I could be getting up at a normal time back home, but the reward for living here is so much higher,” she said.

“I’ve finished half of my work by the time the kids get up, then I have a little time to myself before picking them up from school and enjoying the rest of the day together.”

The pandemic allowed Vickie to work remotely and, realising she enjoyed the benefits it gave her, she knew she could work anywhere – it didn’t have to be in the UK.

In June 2020, the Barbados Government introduced the 12-month Barbados Welcome Stamp, an innovative new programme that allows people to work remotely on the island for up to a year.

This made Vickie’s decision a “no-brainer”. She explained: “Barbados was one of the first places to pioneer a remote work programme.

“I was delighted to see that I fit the criteria and that the process was so simple. Who wouldn’t want to live there? It was a no-brainer to me.”

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However, the lawyer went on to say that when she told people her intention to move, some were shocked.

“When I told people my plans they would look at me like I was crazy, before then asking me who I was going with,” the mum-of-three said.

“Someone even had the nerve to tell me that I couldn’t go on my own. All I could think was that I am a single parent and if I don’t go on my own, then I can’t go at all.

“There is such a stigma around single mothers that has brought many to underestimate our independence and ability to juggle work, life and parenthood – but we absolutely can do it all.”

Vickie and her children live in a rental Hammerton Barbados apartment and, although rent isn’t cheap, the lawyer said she feels “so lucky because we are never more than 10 minutes away from a stunning beach and are almost guaranteed to have the weather to enjoy it”.

“This means that the kids are able to enjoy incredible outdoor adventures that they simply couldn’t have had back home,” she continued.

“We can do incredible things like go on catamaran cruises with friends and swim with sea turtles in the sunshine.”

Going on to discuss the the costs of food and accomodation in Barbados compared to Scotland, Vickie said: “I suppose the UK is having its own cost of living crisis right now so I can only comment on last year, but I’d say it’s more expensive here.

“Rent is not cheap. Everything is imported so there’s no convenience of a one click Amazon buy. Food shopping costs a lot, general shopping for household items is expensive too.”

What Vickie dislikes most about her new home is indeed these costs. “The cost of living is way higher than I anticipated,” she added.

“I have to budget very carefully. Food shopping is frighteningly expensive and I’m feeding three kids that never stop eating.”

Bajan food is delicious though, Vickie said, adding that she and the children usually eat “Macaroni pie, rice and peas, and fish”.

“I wasn’t much of a fish eater before living here but I love it now,” she revealed.

Vickie lives in a gated community on the island with “absolutely amazing” neighbours.

“We have an amazing circle of friends,” she said. “I feel very supported living here are they know I’m a single parent and always offer a helpful hand.

“The children have been able to meet a diverse range of friends from all over the world that would never have found back home. I think it’s wonderful for them to be able to meet people from completely different backgrounds and life experiences to their own.”

But what does Vickie miss most about Fife? “Our dog, he’s with my aunt. Our family and friends. Greggs coffee.

“I’m not coping with the heat. But don’t feel too sorry for me,” she added.

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