Above the Animal Flower Cave, Barbados
Life Travel

When three months become six

What happens when you embark on long-term travel just before a global pandemic outbreak.

This month’s update is not at all what I was expecting a few weeks ago.

The plan was all laid out. It was put into motion months ago when I resigned from my job in London. After three months in Barbados I’d pack up my suitcases, bid farewell to family and friends, the beach sunsets and rum punch and fly back to potentially dreary London, for two weeks of concerts and art exhibitions and cocktails. I’d switch out the suitcases for my carry-on sized backpack, cram the excess stuff in my storage space, and then fly to Bangkok to spend two months travelling around Thailand, Laos and Cambodia.

Social distancing at the edge of the island. Above the Animal Flower Cave, Barbados
Social distancing at the edge of the island

But as March progressed, the scale of the coronavirus crisis escalated. London went into lockdown. Friends advised me to stay put in virus-free Barbados. My flight from London to Bangkok was cancelled. Coronavirus arrived in Barbados. Large gatherings were banned but life on the island otherwise continued as normal. I decided to stay put. The virus spread to a few people. My flight from Barbados to London was cancelled. (Only after I had a couple of fruitless debates with British Airways customer services trying to change my ticket a few hours earlier.)

The virus spread to a few more people. At the end of the month shops and restaurants started to close and a curfew was imposed from 8pm to 6am each day. Supermarkets remained well-stocked with everything except hand sanitiser, but staff ensured shoppers queued outside at an appropriate social distance, limiting the number of people allowed inside at once.

And so here I am, still in Barbados. With my Asia trip postponed until who knows when, I rejected the idea of spending my time, money and sanity in London. My budget was allocated to the expat life, and besides, I’ve eschewed the idea of winter in 2020. There are worse places to be stranded than Barbados, where I have relatives I’m getting to know and an apartment and car available to me to rent. So I’ll be staying here for the time I was supposed to be in London and southeast Asia.

Taking it all in stride in my Reformation dress
Taking it all in stride in my Reformation dress

My friends and I regularly head to the local beach, where it’s easy to socially distance — especially now that so many tourists have left. We stocked up our pantries to limit how much we need to go food shopping, so to get out we go for drives. It’s peaceful and chilled and gives me plenty of time and less excuses not to focus on work.

I’m not exactly working that hard, haha, but I have a few freelance things going on and I’m working on an ebook on investing that I’m really excited about. Once I get the ebook completed I’ll step up my focus on landing new clients. I’m leaving my investment ISA alone in these volatile times and playing with stock trading in a separate account, which while fun is so far consuming more time than the return is worth. But it’s all experience that I intend to turn into proper gains. I’m all about that hustle as I try to build my income.

Paradise Beach
Aptly-named Paradise Beach

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