The New Reality of Living Overseas

Written by Charlotte Morrish

The world has definitely become a much bigger place in 2020. It has been nine months since we left the UK and about a year since we made the decision to move to the Cayman Islands – that all seems like a lifetime ago and the prospect of relocating and indeed the reality of living overseas is very different now to what it was when I was first contemplating it. Then or now, it’s a huge decision and certainly represents the biggest change I’ve made in my life, but there are clearly additional factors to consider these days. Although I knew I was going to be far from home (4,815 miles to be precise) I also knew that I would be able to get back to the UK easily and at relatively short notice if needed, and that family and friends would be able to visit. These were things I simply took for granted. How times have changed.

Cayman is emerging from lockdown relatively unscathed. As I write this, almost a third of the population have been tested and no one has presented with symptoms in almost two months. We are able to go to restaurants, sit on the beach, take boat trips and visit friends. I feel extremely fortunate to live here but, whilst I am firmly committed to my life in Cayman, the new reality of living overseas has certainly hit home. No one knows yet what the future of international travel will look like. The luxury of being able to book a flight or change plans at short notice is likely to be replaced with strict testing and isolation procedures, at least for the foreseeable future. In the grand scheme of things, these are of course small prices to pay, but they are important considerations for anyone contemplating a move overseas.

There is nothing like a crisis to focus the mind and force people to take stock, revaluate priorities and think about what is important to them in the future. For many people, this pandemic has broken the monotony of the daily commute, desk-job and lifestyle and has made many people yearn for something new. The thought of returning to the office and life as it was ‘before’ is no longer a tempting prospect and people are looking to new challenges overseas. My advice is always to make sure it’s for the right reasons.

It’s always been the case that employers want to understand what motivates a candidate to relocate and whether they understand the realities of life and work in Cayman and whether it is something they have fully considered; in this new world, those factors are going to become all the more important. Palm trees, white sandy beaches and a tax-free salary have never been great answers to the question “Why Cayman?” but there will be a greater focus now on ensuring that candidates understand what it means to live overseas, are moving for the right reasons and have properly thought it through. If you are going to relocate halfway around the world, make sure it’s because the job opportunity excites and interests you and that the lifestyle, climate, culture and practicalities appeal to you. Is it somewhere you could live happily, even if you couldn’t leave (for a while)?

That’s a difficult question to answer if, like most people, you’ve never been to Cayman and don’t know anyone living here, but our team here at SteppingStones can talk to you about the realities of living here before, during and after lockdown and to give you the insight you need in order to make an informed decision. There is no doubt that Cayman offers fantastic career and lifestyle opportunities and we are excited about the future, which looks bright and promising, and would love to speak with anyone considering a new adventure.