Life Travel

Month 15: Year one in the rearview

It’s no coincidence that my last post here was in August. My freelance writing workload ramped up, which was exciting and satisfying, and blogging fell down my to-do list until it completely slipped my mind. Life happens that way.

Street view

In August and September I got into a pleasant routine where I would have a leisurely breakfast, go to a co-working space in the Limegrove Centre in Holetown from late morning until it closed at 5pm, then head home to finish working and decompress in the evening. On days when I wasn’t working, I hit the beach or visited family.

Sadly, the Fall in Love With Barbados popup closed in January. I really loved that place — its bright and airy vibe, friendly staff, fridges stocked with delicious gluten-free vegan food, and the opportunity to interact with other digital nomads. The summer was especially hot and I even appreciated the air conditioning, which I usually hate! I found I was much more productive than I am working from home and I haven’t yet found somewhere to replace it.

In October I spent a couple of weeks with my grandmother before heading back to London, mostly to renew my passport.

Of course, by the time I received my passport, which actually took only about 10 days, the UK entered its second coronavirus lockdown, and I ended up staying until December.

I spent my free time meeting up with friends in parks, bundled up against the cold, which reaffirmed my resolve to stay nomadic during the winter. I also spent an alarming amount of my income on Deliveroo and Uber Eats, filling my cravings for Ethiopian, Vietnamese, and other foods I’d been craving while I was in Barbados.

To re-enter Barbados, I had to get a Covid-19 test no more than 72 hours before my departure. I used the Hale Clinic in Harley Street, which was one of the more expensive options, but they offered next-day results by 8pm, and in fact, I received my negative test result the following morning.

I had a flight voucher with British Airways from a flight to Thailand that was cancelled at the start of the pandemic, which had meant putting off my planned southeast Asia trip. I used the voucher to return to Barbados. Flight prices are seasonally high in the weeks leading up to Christmas, to the point where it was only around £100 more to fly business class, so I had my first taste of the high life. I definitely appreciated it on the eight-hour flight.

Travelling in the time of Covid-19

Once in Barbados, I quarantined at the Radisson Aquatica Hotel on the west coast for five nights while I had a second Covid-19 test and awaited my negative result.

I spent the first three months of the year staying with my grandmother and great aunt in Christchurch on the south coast — much of it in Barbados’ second Covid lockdown — then moved back to my rented apartment on the west coast in St James.

And so it is that I’ve been doing the long-term, slow travel, freelancing digital nomad thing for more than a year. It’s turned out quite different to how I’d imagined, but living in Barbados for more than a year is no hardship! My restlessness has me yearning for Asia, studying itineraries in preparation for a safe return to travel, but not before its time. Meanwhile, I’ll likely head back to London for the summer. That gives me some more time to enjoy my Bajan life.

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