Getting back to our home amidst a pandemic was no easy task. Especially considering we have been nomadic for the past half-decade. Seriously. Since summer 2015, we have moved 7 (seven!) times, four of which were international moves. Now, we did have a “house” at each place, but it took a couple years before realizing what it took to make each house more of a “home”.
Before that, we were used to traveling for a couple/few weeks at a time, and that’s no big deal. But actually living in a new place – getting an address, doctor, dentist, chiropractor, and learning where to shop – is totally different than visiting a place. We found that taking a few precious items with us to each place helped. We also learned that certain smaller items did a lot to make a place feel more like a home. Fluffy towels. A couple rugs. A couple pieces of artwork. Refrigerator magnets. All of which we could either pack with us or purchase inexpensively once we arrived.
Now, we are home. Back in Barbados. We really missed the island. We do miss the mountains of the US West...the vastness of the deserts...driving 500 miles a day on a road trip. I also missing shooting and hunting. But come on. Living on a tropical island, with great peeps, most Western comforts, and amazing food? Like Kaelin’s dad says, “It doesn’t suck.”
Getting here, however, that’s a whole other plight! Once COVID became a pandemic, pretty much every border in the world shutdown. And we were still in Jordan at the time. Luckily, the governments of Jordan and the US collaborated to get us back Stateside. We wrote about that experience HERE. So we self-quarantined like good World Citizens for a few weeks. Our first month was spent in southern Utah. Then we spent a month or so in Colorado. Then back to Utah (and camping!). Then back to Colorado for about a month, because Utah was on New York’s quarantine list.
Quarantine list? Yes. See, some US States handled COVID better than others. Even those with large populations, like New York, handled it well in the end. We were initially flying through Miami, Florida, but because of the quick spreading of COVID there due to mis-governing, Barbados would not allow flights from Florida to land. Barbados was interested in protecting its citizens and containing whatever small spread there was.
With a population of around 300,000, Barbados has had only a handful of COVID-related deaths. That’s how well they managed it. Of course, it’s easier to do on a small island in the ocean when compared to the vastness of the US with 360 million people – most of whom value their individualist freedom.
Anyhow, the Barbados Government is extremely diligent in their handling of the pandemic and require all arrivals from high-risk countries (of which the US is one of only a few at the time of writing this) to take at least two PCR tests a week apart. To be free to move around the island, two subsequent negative tests within a two-week period are required. Until the two negative tests are achieved, the person must be quarantined, and is not allowed to roam even outside their room without repercussions. If you can’t afford one of the five or six government approved hotels, the Barbados Government will provide you room and board at their newly-renovated quarantine facility – at an old lighthouse barracks on the eastern side of the island overlooking the ocean. Gorgeous views from there!
The Barbados Government also does NOT charge you for your first test at the airport or your second subsequent test. Really, they’re amazing. And pretty efficient.
So, we planned ahead and made reservations at the Hilton. It’s adjacent to the SCUBA folks Kaelin often dives with here (Barbados Blue). And we’ve stayed there a few times, so we’re familiar with it. Plus, we figured we might as well rack up loyalty points! The staff at the Hilton are great. Very friendly and helpful and accommodating.
Once we get two subsequent negative COVID PCR tests, we’ll be heading back to our Barbados home. We call the place “Picasso” because of its funky architectural style. It’s where we lived last time we were here and found the location to be convenient. It also has killer views of the ocean. And our landlord is amazing. We’re excited to be returning. Returning to the island. Returning to Picasso. Returning to our “home”.