When this whole thing began two years ago, I was terrified. I had serious concerns about my mental health as Ontario issued stay-at-home orders. The thought of being at home by myself day after day made me feel very alone, which bred the loneliness that I would do anything to avoid.
April 13th I self-tested for COVID and it was positive. I had the choice to hunker down and test every so often or go in for a formal PCR. The latter would put me on the government radar and mean a longer isolation period, but at the end of it I would get my papers of recovery. This certificate is going to come in handy when I start traveling soon, so I went the formal route.
People kept telling me that I should just break quarantine after five days, the current period in Canada, or that it was ok to go down to the beach. The Ministry of Health and Wellness had sent me home with a brochure that was explicit that I was not to leave my property for ten days. I figured after Barbados harbored me during a pandemic for a year and a half, following the rules was the least that I could do.
I wanted to prove that I could self-isolate for ten days. I wanted to show myself that I could do it with grace, and maybe make it a positive experience.
Tristan and Luca chill at the beach.
Here’s what happened. I had huge FOMO about surfing; a huge swell had come in and provided some of the best of the season. Other than that, I made the most of my ten days. I alternated between sleeping and working and got caught up on both. I finished my book that I have named “Reclaiming my Life on a Caribbean Island.” The story and the writing started in self-isolation in Ontario and finished in self-isolation in Barbados. It is about the adventure and inner journey of moving here. How I was able to handle this isolation, compared to the first, is a testament to personal growth.
Have you ever had an experience where you know that you have come a long way based on how you used to handle it, compared to how you handle it now?
I experienced a sense of calm. Life is simple when there are no choices to be made about where to go and who to see. Day 8 was the first morning I woke up and thought, I am so over this! But then I got back to the business of making the most of my time.
I was sick for about four days. Then there was a lingering cough. Now I can tell you that COVID fatigue is a thing. I am tired all the time and if I don’t take a nap, I am completely useless from late afternoon onwards. I know, not too different from my normal life, but it is a different level of fatigue.
The next time I write, I will have left the island, but I am returning to Barbados. As soon as Day Ten was done, I paddled out from the beach to the surf break with a smile on my face. The wonder of the ocean surrounding me, and the reflection of the sunshine on the water never leaves me. I am home.
Kate took this picture as she flew from Barbados back to the UK on Sunday. It is a beautiful island.