The Welcome Stamp Experience
Carolyn and Tyler like many others decided to accept the invitation of our Prime Minister Mia Mottley. They moved to Barbados on our Welcome Stamp visa for 1 year. When I asked them why they chose Barbados they said, “Barbados chose us!” They both grew up in Seattle and then moved to Arizona and Las Vegas before moving to Barbados. In speaking with them I was intrigued by how much they had learned about Barbados and the degree to which they had already embraced our culture. I decided to ask them a few questions about their experiences in Barbados and especially how they adapted during our ‘Pause’.
Is this your first time to Barbados?
Carolyn – I only visited for a few hours on a cruise stop in 2012 (and I do not remember much except the big Church in Bridgetown and a taxi driver pointing out where Rihanna grew up)
How did you hear about Barbados?
Carolyn - I was scrolling on Twitter one evening last July and saw someone tweet about the Welcome Stamp. A few clicks later, and within about 20 minutes, Tyler and I had uploaded our birth certificates and passports and submitted our application. It wasn’t until after we clicked submit that we thought maybe it was some sort of scam. But we were relieved after we confirmed it was legit.
Why did you choose Barbados?
To be honest, Barbados really chose us. We weren’t really even thinking about moving away from Las Vegas at all – but when we saw the Tweet about the Welcome Stamp, it was more of a “why not” moment. Why not try living on a beautiful tropical island for a year? And once we researched a little more about the island and the culture, we were sold.
How was your process applying for the Welcome stamp?
It was honestly such an easy process. The actual application was easy to fill out and easy to upload everything. We applied on July 27th, received our email approval on August 5th, figured out all the moving/storage stuff, and then were on a flight to Barbados 2 weeks later!
You were here in Barbados for a few months now, how is your experience working from home?
It has been amazing!
The wifi has been perfect (aside from a few hours one day back in October – and even then, our hotspot got us by). It has even been strong and reliable enough at our favorite beach bar, Johnny Cools at Dover Beach where we work under an umbrella right on the beach.
Working with a view is better than we ever imagined. After a solid decade of flying almost every week for our jobs, living out of suitcases, we are now enjoying a more laid-back life with a great routine of activity/work/dining/exploring.
Have you had any time to explore our Island and do you have any favorite locations?
Yes, we’re staying in a lively area called St Lawrence Gap. We’ve explored tons of drinking and dining establishments, markets, and beaches within walking distance. We’ve rented a car a few times to explore more of the Island. The Animal Flower Cave is amazing, RoundHouse and Ecolodge in Bathsheba are great, and Limegrove and other upscale places on the west are nice to check out too. The vibe and variety on the South Coast fit us the best though.
What is your favorite Bajan drink and food?
Carolyn – any drink or dish at the Cocktail Kitchen! (mojitos and lobster+breadfruit!)
Tyler- Black Belly Lamb and Bajan pepper sauce. I love exploring all the cocktails the mixologists in “the Gap” come up with, but local rum and coconut water are my go-to now.
We are now in our second lockdown period, how is this experience for you?
It’s obviously taken a toll on our exploring, but we are in a great place to be locked down. We feel really lucky to have a large balcony and ocean view, so we don’t feel cooped up. And Tyler is getting really good at cooking
What are your thoughts on how we have handled this situation as a nation?
Every time we watch one of the news conferences by PM Mia or others, we genuinely feel like “wow, this is how it should be handled”. Obviously, no administration is perfect but after living so much of the pandemic in the US where leadership was lacking and the news was a circus every night, it’s been refreshing to live somewhere that genuinely feels like they are trying to do the right thing. From when we arrived in August until the end of December we could go out in a nearly covid-free environment, which was not the case in most of the world. That was a huge added benefit to our move which we largely have the Government of Barbados to thank.
Would you consider investing in Barbados?
Yes, definitely. We’ve already started looking. Something we could rent out to other “digital nomads” like us in the future, or just something to give us an excuse to return regularly.
Do you have any advice for anyone considering working remotely in Barbados?
Do it. We’ve met families of 4 making it work, 20 something singles, and other couples like us. Pick the right part of the island to fit your lifestyle, there’s something for everybody.