Barbados Is Offering a 12-Month Visa to Encourage Remote Workers to Stay Awhile

Work from beach.
Work from beach.
Ken Kanous, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

Changing your Zoom background to an image of a blissful, sunny beach might be the closest you can get to working from paradise right now, but Barbados wants to help you swap your virtual experience for a real one.

As Condé Nast Traveler reports, the Barbados government has created a 12-month “Barbados Welcome Stamp” visa that will allow visitors to work remotely from the island for up to a year. Barbados already began to reopen its borders to vacationers on July 12, with American Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, JetBlue, and British Airways all expected to resume flights there in the next few weeks. That said, the island is requiring all out-of-towners to test negative for COVID-19 before entry, and the increased safety protocols can deter people from thinking a short trip is worth the effort.

Since Barbados’s economy relies heavily on tourism, the government is hoping the opportunity for a long-term stay will encourage visitors to come anyway—especially considering how many people are working from home lately. For many, that trend may not end even after the pandemic does; Global Workplace Analytics estimates that between 25 and 30 percent of the world’s workforce will have transitioned to remote work for multiple days a week by the end of 2021.

According to Barbados Today, Barbados Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley announced the pending Welcome Stamp program at a reopening event for Primo Bar and Bistro in the St. Lawrence Gap neighborhood of Barbados’s Christ Church parish. During her speech, she stressed the importance of helping the hospitality industry get back on its feet.

“The people who must keep these towns alive are not just those who come from overseas, as we are learning with COVID, but those who live here and who have a responsibility to make sure that this is the best that can be offered in this part of the world,” she said.

Applications for the new stamp are now being accepted online. Click here to learn more.

[h/t Condé Nast Traveler]

Looking to Downsize? You Can Buy a 5-Room DIY Cabin on Amazon for Less Than $33,000

Five rooms of one's own.
Five rooms of one's own.
Allwood/Amazon

If you’ve already mastered DIY houses for birds and dogs, maybe it’s time you built one for yourself.

As Simplemost reports, there are a number of house kits that you can order on Amazon, and the Allwood Avalon Cabin Kit is one of the quaintest—and, at $32,990, most affordable—options. The 540-square-foot structure has enough space for a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom, and a sitting room—and there’s an additional 218-square-foot loft with the potential to be the coziest reading nook of all time.

You can opt for three larger rooms if you're willing to skip the kitchen and bathroom.Allwood/Amazon

The construction process might not be a great idea for someone who’s never picked up a hammer, but you don’t need an architectural degree to tackle it. Step-by-step instructions and all materials are included, so it’s a little like a high-level IKEA project. According to the Amazon listing, it takes two adults about a week to complete. Since the Nordic wood walls are reinforced with steel rods, the house can withstand winds up to 120 mph, and you can pay an extra $1000 to upgrade from double-glass windows and doors to triple-glass for added fortification.

Sadly, the cool ceiling lamp is not included.Allwood/Amazon

Though everything you need for the shell of the house comes in the kit, you will need to purchase whatever goes inside it: toilet, shower, sink, stove, insulation, and all other furnishings. You can also customize the blueprint to fit your own plans for the space; maybe, for example, you’re going to use the house as a small event venue, and you’d rather have two or three large, airy rooms and no kitchen or bedroom.

Intrigued? Find out more here.

[h/t Simplemost]

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Meet Ian Brackenbury Channell—the Official City Wizard of Christchurch, New Zealand

In Christchurch, New Zealand, wizards ride buses, not brooms.
In Christchurch, New Zealand, wizards ride buses, not brooms.

Gandalf and Saruman aren't the only wizards New Zealand can claim. The city of Christchurch has employed its own official wizard for more than 20 years, and as CNN Travel reports, he's preparing to pass off his staff to a wizarding apprentice.

Ian Brackenbury Channell has been dressing up as a wizard for decades. Though originally from the UK, his career in academia brought him to the Universities of New South Wales and Melbourne in Australia. He assumed his magical role, simply titled "The Wizard," at both institutions. Responses to the character varied, but he finally found a permanent home for the act in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Brackenbury Channell had been living in Christchurch for 24 years when the city offered him an official wizarding contract in 1998. His new role would require him to "provide acts of wizardry and other wizard-like-services as part of promotional work for the city of Christchurch." Every year since, The Wizard has collected an annual salary of 16,000 New Zealand dollars, or $10,400 USD, from the government.

At age 87, Brackenbury Channell is spending less time in the spotlight and looking for an aspiring wizard to take over the job. Musician Ari Freeman, 39, threw his pointed hat in the ring several years ago when he introduced himself as a young wizard. He's been training as his apprentice ever since.

Freeman already sports a long beard that would make Merlin proud, but the role of official wizard goes beyond looking the part. Other duties include promoting local events, welcoming foreign dignitaries, and rambling in Cathedral Square. The Christchurch City Council for "wizardry," which manages the position, hasn't stated whether it plans to extend the contract to Freeman.

[h/t CNN Travel]