Scottish single mum packs up and moves to Barbados her with three children

The devastation of the Covid pandemic changed the world, leading many people to re-evaluate what they want from life.

For single mum Vicki McGowan, it was switching to remote working that made her realise she needed a change – and change she very much did.

Vicki decided to up sticks and move her family 4,000 miles away, from Scotland to Barbados, transforming her and those of her three children (aged 3, 8, and 9) for the better.

From hours spent each day commuting, she can now watch her kids spend their evenings playing on the beach and swimming in the clear blue seas among turtles and tropical fish, enjoying adventures they never thought they’d experience.

Back in March 2020, Vicki was living in Fife, Scotland, and was due to return to work as a solicitor for Police Scotland after being on maternity leave.

However, government advice to isolate came into force on the day she was supposed to start back.

Sharing her story with home rental provider Hammerton Barbados, she explained: ‘My first week back was spent working from home. I was initially worried about balancing my job with parenthood, but I soon realised that not only could I handle it, it actually granted me a lot more time with my kids.’

Vicki began researching options just as the Barbados Government introduced its ’12-month Barbados Welcome Stamp’ scheme allowing people to work remotely on the island for up to a year. It seemed like a natural fit.

‘Barbados was one of the first places to pioneer a remote work programme,’ she said. ‘I was delighted to see that I fit the criteria and that the process was so simple. Who wouldn’t want to live there?! It was a no-brainer to me.’

But amidst her excitement about moving to a Caribbean island and having more time with her kids, Vicki’s plans were treated with scepticism from those around her.

She said: ‘When I told people my plans they would look at me like I was crazy, before then asking me who I was going with – someone even had the nerve to tell me that I couldn’t go on my own! All I could think was that I am a single parent and if I don’t go on my own, then I can’t go at all. 

‘There is such a stigma around single mothers that has brought many to underestimate our independence and ability to juggle work, life and parenthood – but we absolutely can do it all.’

The family are thriving in their new environment, where they’re making the most of the warm climate and picturesque surrounded.

‘We can do incredible things like go on catamaran cruises with friends and swim with sea turtles in the sunshine,’ Vicki said.

She added: ‘The kids love it here. They have been able to meet a diverse range of friends from all over the world that would never have found back home.

‘I think it’s wonderful for them to be able to meet people from completely different backgrounds and life experiences to their own.’

Vicki has also been enjoying the country’s vibrant social scene, and after a year in Barbados has extended her visa for another year.

Although based on the Caribbean island, Vicki currently works for a company based in London and gets up at 4am to start work. This enables her to finish work at 12.30pm, before picking her kids up from school two hours later. 

‘It’s definitely a juggling act – I’m basically straddling two timezones,’ she admits. ‘Of course, it pains me to set an alarm for 4am every day when I could be getting up at a normal time back home, but the reward for living here is so much higher.

‘I’ve finished half of my work by the time the kids get up, then I have a little time to myself before picking them up from school and enjoying the rest of the day together.’

Vicki now shares her digital nomad lifestyle on TikTok, where she has over 44,400 followers. She hopes to inspire others to take the plunge and find their own paradise.

‘I feel so lucky,’ she said. ‘We are never more than 10 minutes away from a stunning beach and are almost guaranteed to have the weather to enjoy it.

‘This means that the kids are able to enjoy incredible outdoor adventures that they simply couldn’t have had back home.’

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