Who are you?
I am Katie, and no, I shan’t say my age, but old enough to have grown up children. In my past lives, in no particular order, I have practised being a mother, doctor, teacher, student, volunteer, scientist, artist, writer. Now I am still doing all of those, but not, it seems, earning any money from any of them!
Where, when and why did you move abroad?
I moved with my husband, comparatively recently in 2013; he took a job on Bermuda.It was too good an opportunity to miss so we abandoned our adult children – well they should be standing on their own feet once they get past teenage years shouldn’t they? and we flew off to the unknown – never done the ex-pat thing before.
What challenges did you face during the move?
None really, we have maintained our UK home and so came here with just some clothes and basics (Kindle, iPad, toothbrush). For us the permission to reside and work permit came smoothly via the company and I have heard that is similar for many others moving to this island.
Are there many other expats in your area?
Yes, more than 15% of the island’s 65,000 population are ex-pats. Most are in financial services and insurance but there are also opportunities in other professions and also service industries – hairdressers and nurses are needed! There are several ex-pat groups to join and it is easy to get to know people. The ex-pats do not restrict themselves in socialising and the locals and ex-pats mix perfectly. There are no racial or cultural tensions and a huge variety of nationalities live here.
What do you like about life where you are?
The pace of life, friendly Bermudians, the sun and warmth. The climate is sub-tropical so usually warm and sunny with a moderate amount of rain. The vegetation is thus green most of the year. The water is warm and there is plenty to do whatever your interests.
What do you dislike about your expat life?
Difficulty buying some items – everything imported and high import duties and slow postal systems. For example, buying craft supplies, they may stock one type of paintbrush on the island but perhaps not the paint, or you can buy a watch here but not the battery etc. Don’t even think of buying IT equipment on the island, you will pay over the odds for out of date machines. Still, it has improved even in the last 3 years and now some common supermarket items appear on the shelves and even a small craft shop appeared. When shopping of any kind the motto has to be “if you see it, buy it now as it will be gone when you come back” and food supplies are very seasonal.
What is the biggest cultural difference you have experienced between your new country and life back home?
Since it was once an English colony it is clearly close in customs and culture. The Bermudian flavour is slow, however, and laid back about most things, so if they say they will come at 2pm, expect them some random time that afternoon, or maybe the next. But we drive on the same side, we eat the same food, we speak the same (almost) language so the culture shock is minimal.
What advice would you give to anyone following in your footsteps?
Just do it! Don’t even think twice, you will have a wonderful time on the island.
What are your plans for the future?
We shall be returning to UK shortly and look for another adventure. It could be anywhere! Suggestions welcome!
You can follow Katie's expat adventures on her blog, Pink Bike Pink Sand.