My name is Gordon Barlow, married and with grandchildren. I left Australia in 1963, as did my wife, whom I met in Greece the following year.
Looking back, it seems I became addicted to the expat life during my
second year in Bahamas, after earlier experiences in England and Canada.
Gradually the realisation took over that there was more to life than
going home to Australia and a pleasant-but-humdrum future as a partner
in an accounting firm.
So after three years in Nassau – I a trust-officer, Linda a teacher – we
spent a year as expats (yes!) in Perth, Australia, before finding jobs
in New Hebrides, now called Vanuatu. Though both of us were born and
raised in Australia, we discovered the truth of the old saw, “you can’t
go home again”. We had far more in common with foreign expats than with
compatriots who had never been away. I’m sure many other expats discover
the same thing.
With an infant son, we came to Cayman from
England for the usual 2-3-year expat stint, and stayed. After my stint I
became a house-father for five years. Linda left teaching and became an
office secretary. The local Work Permit regime gradually tightened in
the 1980s as expats began to outnumber the native stay-at-homes. I fell
victim to the system after being recruited to open the local Chamber of
Commerce’s first office. My job included mobilising public opinion to
defeat a proposed Salaries Tax and Payroll Tax; success brought the
wrath of the political establishment down on my head...