Vicki McGowan is a solicitor from Fife in Scotland, and single mum to three kids, aged nine, eight and three. In March 2020 her maternity leave was coming to an end, just as Scotland’s Covid-19 lockdown was announced, so like many people she ended up working from home for most of 2020.
This sparked the idea of working remotely on a permanent basis – as a way of funding her dream of travelling with her kids. After researching remote working visas around the world, she decided to apply for the Barbados Welcome Stamp.
"I had never visited Barbados and did not know anyone who had. It was a risk that paid off”
Vicki says she found the application process simple and straight-forward. The forms were all online, payment made and then the visas emailed to her. In no time they were on their way with 10 suitcases, and the rest of their belongings left in a storage unit.
Working remotely from Barbados for a diversity media agency in London, Vicki has to log-in and work UK hours – so 4am starts before the sun rises are hard. But it means she finishes her work day at 12.30pm, collects her kids from school and nursery at 2.30pm and then has the rest of the afternoon to enjoy the beach and after school activities with the kids, which makes it totally worth it.
They have a very outdoor lifestyle in Barbados, filled with beach and BBQ playdates. They are regulars at Pebbles Beach, and one of their favourite activities – especially when friends visit from overseas – is a catamaran cruise.
“I feel extremely lucky to be able to live and work here and give my kids this wonderful experience. I still have ‘pinch me’ moments daily”
After easing into the Barbados school system with online school, Vicki’s kids are now settled into in-person classes. She is really happy with the school she chose, which has a mix of local and international students.
“I love that they are having this diverse schooling experience and meeting children from all over. Their Scottish school has also been very supportive and excited to hear about the kids’ adventures here in Barbados.”
Feeling fully settled into Bajan life, Vicki has renewed her Welcome Stamp visa for a second year.
“I’m just not ready to say goodbye to this way of life just yet. The kids are happy and I’d like this experience to last a bit longer.