At the end of this month, I will be of “no fixed address.” I gave notice on my current apartment. On April 30th I will pack up what little belongings that I have and on May 1st I will fly off this island.
I thought that I was ok with this, even excited about the prospect of leaping into the unknown again. Turns out I am anxious about having no plans past the next couple of months.
The world of the digital nomad seems exciting. Many months ago, I realized that I am not one. I never saw myself as being digital until I was forced to go virtual during the pandemic. I am grateful to be able to conduct business from Barbados. But a nomad I am not. I am the type of person that unpacks my entire backpack or suitcase even when staying a couple of nights. When I move into a home, whether bought or rented, I relish the task of finding a place for each of my things. A place for everything and everything in its place!
Oddly enough, I love the ending of a long stay. I have made it a challenge to eat through my “hurricane provisions” in the cupboard. I am baking at a rate to use up just the right amount of flour, oil, and nuts so that there is nothing left in four weeks’ time. I think that I have just enough shampoo and conditioner to get me back to Canada.
This desire to have a home has me looking at places to buy in Barbados. Everything here is expensive, but I have heard that real estate in Ontario is now ridiculous. The Canadian banks have always been generous to me with their money; here, it appears that they won’t give me anything. Being self-employed has always been a ticket to freedom; however, it isn’t that popular with lenders. Neither is being a non-resident.
Do I set off on my travels free as a bird, but without a home to come back to? Or do I find a place to live so that I can know that I have a place to return?
I love living here in Barbados. I love the heat all-year round, being outside and able to surf most days of the year. But the travel and hospitality sectors are picking up and the rent prices we enjoyed over COVID may disappear as the island recovers. I am not sure if my fundamental need to get value for money will allow me to stay here.
Do I buy a place to bring down the cost of living here? Long term can I live in a place that is so expensive?
This is the crux of the issue – I am having to choose between values. My need for freedom and to just take off and see the world is being challenged by my anxiety for security and having a stable home. I am hugely affected by my environment, a nice place where I am warm. Yet, I feel the need for my money to go far. Which needs will win out? How will I decide?
Maybe you can help: Have you ever been in the position where you had to choose between two things that meant a lot to you? How did you decide?
Sheri we made the decision approx 6 years ago to move from London to Barbados to live. It was difficult as we were leaving behind family and our children but it felt like the right decision for us. Barbados as you know is expensive and the system is sometimes infuriating but we’ve managed and just being able to wake up to the birds and the wind rustling and looking at the ocean and the sun streaming through the window make me truly believe we’ve made the right decision. Money is just numbers flowing in and out of your account. Go with your gut feeling and what truly makes you happy. The rest will take care of itself. We’ve each only got approx 4000 weeks on this beautiful earth so use those weeks wisely and do thing to make you happy Lots of love xxx
Thank you for your thoughtful comment…it certainly resonated with me. I love the birds, and the wind and the ocean every day. I told someone recently that if I made a decision based on money it was not likely to make me happy. You have reinforced that idea. I am going to try to tune into my gut over the next few weeks. Thank you!
As Sandra approaches retirement (longer for myself), we have talked about what we want to do, where do we want to live….there is no one answer! We both love variety and the idea of spending some time in a tropical location, although we also love the winter months and trekking. We have 2 places in Ottawa and don’t plan to sell either, so that we have one for income and the other to continue to call home. Home is where the heart is, right….well, maybe, but with that comes financial and practical decisions. Maybe a co-purchase agreement with others on a property which affords you privacy and stability and flexibility, while still owning and not paying off someone else’s mortgage. Perhaps a nice living business venture for you to undertake?!? Will we see you in Ottawa at all this summer?
Hi Chris and Sandra – I have always admired your ability to think outside the box with life, and your love of extreme winter – you are better Canadians than I! The thing about Barbados is that it cannot be called forward-thinking, archaic is a better description. Joint ownership of a property, other than your spouse, is not likely to happen here in my lifetime. I don’t think the banks and the lawyers could wrap their heads around that one at this time. Some of the Welcome Stampers do talk about setting up businesses here. It is pretty tough with the red tape but not impossible. You will definitely see me this summer in Ottawa. I am planning on being there mid-June to mid-July. I am hoping to get some beach volleyball in with you. I haven’t found a good net at our level of play here. Excited!
Good luck with your decision making. I have no words of wisdom. Barbados life sounds amazing. I guess you have to weigh the pros and cons and definitely go with what will make you happiest. I would love to see you in Ottawa when you are here. Take care.
Julia, I am going to be in Ottawa this summer! I am bound and determined to sort out my storage locker ; ) Around mid-June to mid-July time frame. You are probably a captive audience while school is still on in June and then disappearing all over the country in July?
Your questions are being asked by many of us these days. I always think the right thing is to go back to your values. Freedom is a big value to you and you feel free in Barbados. You have mentioned in your blog many times that you’re happier than you’ve ever been, less stressed, etc. You have more peace and joy in your life there than you had in your life in Canada. These things are the most important, in my opinion. I’m sure you can find a way to finance a home of your own where it makes you most happy, and create an income out of it that allows you to travel at will. When the vision happens, the way will come.
Shawna, you are so right! I must honor the fact that I have felt most free in Barbados then any other time in my life – not when I was a student, not even when I was self-employed in Ottawa. It can’t be said that I wasn’t free in those situations but I certainly was more stressed! When the vision happens, the way will come. I love that and am going to look for all the signs pointing me in the right direction. Thank you!