Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of Tiffani Spaulding
Black Expat:'We Moved To Barbados Because The Pandemic Showed Us How Short Life Is'
Tiffani Spaulding said moving to the Caribbean was something she wanted to do, after the seed was planted during her honeymoon trip with her husband.
“Sailing was our inspiration for leaving the US,” she told Travel Noire. “My husband and I sailed from Grenada up to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) for our honeymoon in October 2014. We rented an all-inclusive private charter that came with a captain and personal chef.”
That trip changed their lives, and they left craving the laid back Caribbean lifestyle.
“All we knew was we loved yachting and we [thought] we needed to figure out how to do it every day,” she added.
They never looked back after that first boat trip, which eventually turned into an annual excursion with friends and family. Soon after, the two received an opportunity of a lifetime that would allow her family to live in the Caribbean for good.
“We got an opportunity to help legalize medicinal cannabis in SVG, and we jumped on it,” she said. “There, with our business partners, we created Acres Agricultural SVG, in Feb. 2018, which is a subsidiary of Acres Agricultural Canada Corp— a plant-based medicine company.”
The company is majority-minority owned. Spaulding is the Chief Administration Officer and her husband, Reginald, is the Chief Operating Officer.
We spoke with Spaulding where she discussed moving to SVG and Barbados with her family.
Travel Noire: What inspired you to finally make the move?
Spaulding: My husband and I traveled back and forth for the past three years from New York, for months at a time until the pandemic hit. We decided to permanently make a move and enroll one of our daughters, who is 4, in school in SVG.
We knew long before Trump got elected that we wanted to leave America. Everything just happened to fall into place at the right time.
TN: How did you decide on Barbados?
Spaulding: With our success in SVG, family and friend contacts, accompanied by the government of Barbados coming onboard to legalize medicinal cannabis— we decided to relocate to Barbados at the end of 2020.
We are expanding our business, and we’re in the process of applying for our license.
TN: What is the best part about living abroad, and what have you learned about yourself as an expat?
Spaulding: The best part about living abroad is raising my daughters in the Caribbean. The quality of life is so much better here. My eldest daughter has bad environmental allergies and suffered in the states with numerous hospital visits and lots of medication. However, since we relocated, she has not been on any of those medicines and has been thriving by God’s glory.
The biggest thing I learned is patience. Living abroad with two young children has been challenging, but you figure it out and make it work. You must be flexible and willing to compromise. Things move a lot slower in the Caribbean. As my husband always says, “you can’t have everything you want, when you want it, but you get what you need.”
My children are thriving. Josephine, aka Jojo, recently won her first swim meet in her age category. She was a member and will always be a part of the Black Sands Swim Squad. On Nov. 7, 2020, she competed in the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Invitational Swimming Championship, where she placed first in the girls 3 &U 25 Meter freestyle at age 3.
TN: What advice would you give our readers considering a “Blaxit” to live abroad?
Spaulding: Do it! With this pandemic, you realize how precious and short life is. You only get one life to live, so live it to the fullest. You should visit the place you want to relocate to before moving if you have children. Think long term and always focus on the bigger picture.
TN: How has your experience been living in a different country during the pandemic?
Spaulding: SVG and Barbados were doing well and had low COVID-19 cases until recently. We didn’t have to wear masks, get temperature checks, or sanitize for most or all of 2020 in SVG. It was a different case in Barbados, which we visited in late October, and specific COVID-19 protocols were in place. However, in 2021 both islands got hit badly and had local spreads.
SVG is also dealing with an active volcano, leaving us to worry about our family, friends, and business on the island. We are praying and hoping to get through this together.