Like many others, the pandemic changed my outlook on life. I found myself looking at the same four walls every day with no boundaries separating work and home life. My wife and I were juggling our careers and home-schooling, it was a precarious circus act and we had to work hard at making sure all the plates kept spinning.
I remember the night when we chatted about moving to the Caribbean, saying how lovely life would be by the ocean, but I didn’t think anything of it at the time. It’s always been a dream of ours and with the news of lockdown being extended for months on end, I started to do some research, never really thinking it would end up a reality. But the more I looked into it, the more it started to seem like a sensible option. I examined every minute detail, from villa rentals to schools for our young children – aged four and three – and most importantly how I could run my many ventures from the islands.
Living costs are obviously a big factor. I realised how feasible this move would be when you consider how reasonable it is to live well on island. The islands have a brilliant outlook on wellbeing, mental health and offer activities for both children and adults, outside the beach bars – but I have to admit, I was also looking forward to those too! As I am an entrepreneur, (I founded LIBRARY members club alongside other ventures), I also realised how easy it would be for me to work from anywhere, and with the Caribbean’s two-year visa programmes, this dream quickly became a reality.
We decided on Antigua as a potential home. International schools on the island are used to having kids joining between terms and offered an English curriculum similar to schools in the UK, so it was easy to enrol our children. For anyone with a family worried about uprooting their lives, I can honestly say it’s been a revelation. My children spend their afternoons snorkelling, horse-riding and hiking, alongside making friends from all across the globe. They have never been happier, and this move has opened their eyes in a way that living in London couldn’t.
For anyone without kids, the island brings a like-minded but eclectic community together. I have met creatives, other budding entrepreneurs and employees of forward-thinking companies that are happy for their employees to work from afar.
We are all guilty of working a little too much and getting sucked into having to feel busy all the time, and London really brings that out in people. There is a different pace on the islands – there is still a buzz, but things move at an appropriate pace, and there is also stillness, giving you a chance to create time for yourself. I can work mornings and take afternoons off to go surfing, cycling or get a cheeky nine-holes of golf in. Your time belongs to you here. Moving forward, my health and family will take priority over everything else. It’s been a great lesson.
Moving here has also led me to my new venture: WorkMango.com, an all-encompassing concierge service to help others take the plunge and take advantage of Barbados and Antigua’s digital nomad visas. I advocate for island life so much that I wanted to share my findings with others who want to take the plunge. I wanted to create a business that had purpose. It was important for me to give back to the community that welcomed me and my family. Unlike the UK or USA, the government in Antigua & Barbuda alongside Barbados do not offer its citizens a stimulus package so the majority of the population rely on tourism. I wanted to do all I could to drive like-minded professionals to the islands to stimulate the economy.
It’s been a very organic venture for me. I have done all the research, spent months looking at villas, potential neighbourhoods to live in, looking at schools alongside office space, gyms and country clubs. WorkMango looks after all the things that take time away from you enjoying yourself or getting your work done. I have created a service that allows anyone to pack their bags, get on island and have everything sorted, from the moment they step off the plane. All that’s left to do is turn on your laptop on and get your trunks on.
There has never been a more opportune time to relocate, and one can for as little as three to six months with our services, although I haven’t come across anyone wanting to leave the islands once they arrive.
Ronald Ndoro Mind is the Founder of WorkMango and has been living and working in Antigua since March 2020. To learn more about the services work Mango has to offer visit WorkMango.