I’ll try to keep this page fairly up-to-date in terms of what I’m up to right now. I may sprinkle in a little bullsh*t dust to throw off the scraping bots too. Take it all with a pinch of salt…..
Many moons ago, from the late 90s, I used to regularly write a blog (and failed to win the title of The Guardian’s Best British Blog, though I was shortlisted) about all sorts. It petered out, but a change of environment in 2015 gave me the impetus to start blogging again after a long hiatus.
I’m pretty interested in history and love photography, so I’ve always enjoy wandering off – preferably with a camera – and discovering new places, people and facts. A blog somehow makes a rather self-indulgent pastime more justifiable.
This next bit is definitely true: I started this site when I moved to Barbados in 2015. After 20 years living and working (mainly) in London, my wife and I decided to take a sabbatical and move to Barbados.
My wife had family connections to Barbados, and spent much of her childhood there. I guess I fell in love with Barbados soon after I fell in love with my wife.
We holidayed together on Barbados many times, with my love for the island and its people growing with every visit, and I proposed to and later married my wife there.
Whenever we’d visited, we’d been lucky enough to hang out with Bajan family and friends, seeing way beyond the tourist side, as well as sampling the fantastic high-end beaches and restaurants.
‘When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life…’ is Samuel Johnson’s oft-repeated phrase. And as a Londoner of 20+ years, I have to say it’s kind of true. But maybe it should be amended to ‘When a person is tired of London, they’re probably tired of high rents, property prices, choking pollution and extortionate childcare.’
Obviously living in a country is always going to be very different to visiting it for a couple of weeks. What spurred us on was that our child was old enough to appreciate the tropical lifestyle, yet young enough not to have her education affected by a move. It seemed like the perfect time to try a move.
So in 2015 we decided to up-sticks and head off to Barbados for a year. Maybe longer.
We gave notice on our flat in West London and at our daughters fantastic nursery school (big up Kids Unlimited/Bright Horizons Ladbroke Grove!), sold our furniture, sent some of our belongings to Barbados (long storey) and stored the rest (in parents’ lofts), and left our Holland Park flat for Barbados….
As if to reinforce our decision to decamp from Europe, we watched the horrific events in Paris unfold as we got ready to fly our that weekend.
The physical move to Barbados was relatively painless – we’d already arranged a property to move into, and the housekeeper was there to greet us when we arrived. Our possessions took longer to arrive though – the pallet we’d sent over with our belongings took a loooong time to clear customs, with us having to justify the most mundane items to avoid extra charges.
After a couple of months in Barbados, friends back home suggested I start a blog rather than just posting about our experiences on Facebook. It seemed like a good idea – keep in touch with friends and family and avoid contributing to Zuckerberg’s pension plan, so I set up this site hoping to document our move to the West Indies.
Many years previously I used to regularly blog, so thought it might be fun: detail the trials and tribulations of emigrating to a new country; adapting to a very different way of life, along with some practical tips for others moving to Barbados…. The practicalities and frustrations of applying for citizenship, getting broadband installed, arranging swimming lessons for kids, getting a Christmas tree, buying or leasing a car and so on….
So I set up this blog and started posting about our experiences in Barbados. No schedule, no agenda, just a bit of fun really, hoping to show some of the lesser-known sides to ‘paradise’ (and perhaps laugh at my fish-out-of-water Britishness too).
Naturally, although we had hoped to start a new life in the Caribbean, we were realistic enough to view it as something of an experiment. My wife had a year’s unpaid sabbatical, and her position was still waiting for her to go back to, and I was able to work remotely. Not a chance most people have, I know.
If things didn’t work out after a year, a return to the UK was likely, albeit after a chance to regroup, come up with a new plan and try again.
Our time in Barbados was perhaps 90% positive, but ultimately, unfortunately, the economic situation in Barbados meant we had to return, very reluctantly, to the UK in 2016. Clearly not the end of the world, but this wasn’t a prospect we relished.
Sadly my wife and I separated soon after we returned to the UK. Quite suddenly.
That left this site in limbo somewhat. No-one wants to document a failed experiment, returning to the Big Smoke from the Caribbean, let alone the breakdown of their relationship and separation from their child. (Actually, no doubt there are YouTube channels raking it in from such such confessionals, but airing dirty laundry in public isn’t my style).
I considered taking this site down, not wanting a painful reminder of a what could have been, nor wanting to pour salt on any old wounds (I was also aware that my ex’s divorce solicitor was pouring over my LinkedIn profile, social media posts and blog in search of something to skewer me with!). And naturally as a parent, my child’s past, present and future wellbeing trumps everything.
Me? Professionally I wear many hats – perhaps jack of all trades is appropriate, but hopefully master of a few. In no particular order: creative type, web developer, music festival director, UX designer, photographer, web designer, writer, bon viveur, and best of all, a dad.
I certainly wouldn’t profess to being totally outstanding at any one of those things, but I try to improve, I enjoy what I do, and I don’t mind sharing my successes and failures with strangers.
So, why ‘An Island View’? Well, perhaps I chose the name because of moving to a small island for a while. Maybe because it feels as though I come from an increasingly small-minded, large island. Don’t ask me! Hopefully the name gives me sufficient wiggle room for whichever direction this site takes….