Sarah Sandford, CanadaSarah is a Canadian native living, working and thriving in the Isle of Man. A true foodie, Sarah has also started a blog detailing all the delicious local food the island has to offer!
We caught up with Sarah to find out a little more about her relocation story.
Hi Sarah! How long have you lived on the Isle of Man and what made you move here?
I have been living on the Isle of Man for two years. As Canadians, we have great opportunities for living and working abroad. At first I moved here with a Youth Mobility Scheme Visa which lets Canadians live and work for two years in the UK and Channel Islands, including Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man. I am now here for another five years with an Ancestry Visa which lets me live and work because my Grandmother was born in the UK.
For those who haven’t visited, how would you describe the Island?
The Island is a relaxing place where you can explore whatever you are interested in, develop ideas and have room to breathe. There is so much happening and new projects emerging on the island at the moment, and that creates a really exciting environment that you want to be part of. There is room for everyone to pursue their idea and you will feel encouragement from others.
I’d describe the Isle of Man as beautiful and peaceful - you’re never far from the sea and within a minute or two you can be on a cliff edge surrounded by purple heather and gorse or on a rolling hill. There's also always a cosy pub just around the corner!
So after deciding to make the move, how did you go about finding a job?
I searched and applied for jobs online myself. I met with the owner of the company I work for, TransferTravel.com over coffee and saw the passion he had for the business and wanted to be a part of it.
What practical steps did you need to take to move to the Island?
Moving to the island was actually fairly simple. I applied for the Visa from Canada and went to the closest major city to me there for an interview and to submit the paperwork. The work permit is entirely organised by your employer and has been really simple and straightforward. I moved with 2 suitcases – in fact this was probably way too much stuff! I would recommend not bringing everything you own because you can buy everything you need here.
Tell us about your job - what do you enjoy most about it?
I love being a part of the journey of a startup, and the changing and fast paced environment this creates. The nature of the business and the industry means that everyday is different because things change so quickly. Everyone is encouraged to bring their own voice and ideas to the table and you feel really valued to the business, whatever your role. I work within the digital media and marketing team so we’re always exploring new ways to engage with customers and convey our message.
Do you feel there is career progression on the Isle of Man?
Absolutely. TransferTravel is a global brand and we are experiencing steady growth, so I’ve already had opportunities to grow within my role right here on the Island. The economy on the Island means there is a diverse range of growing sectors, including finance and digital including e-gaming. The Island also had a real entrepreneurial spirit, which makes starting a business here really attractive – there are a lot of opportunities for progression, for sure!
What does your work-life balance look like now you live on the Isle of Man?
Working in Douglas gives me enough “city” for the week and I love to spend time outside in the evenings and at weekends. I absolutely love being surrounded by the Sea and never being far away from undisturbed pockets of nature. There is easy access to walking trails, yoga classes, hikes and gyms. I also love eating out and trying all the new places on the Isle of Man that are popping up! I even started a food blog (foodieguideiom.com) to keep people inspired and up to date - on week days, I’ll have lunch at Alpine and Noa Bakehouse and weekends are all about trying new restaurants all over the island before posting and reviewing on Foodie Guide or via instagram (@foodieguideiom).
Sounds amazing! What would your best kept secret in the Isle of Man be?
Well before Secret Pizza opened their popular restaurant in Castletown I would have said them! Now, I would say taking a picnic from Patchwork Cafe in Port St Mary to the Chasms, a hike along the Raad Na Foillan to a lookout and cliffs with the most amazing rock formations. The Irish Sea will always fascinate me and nothing is better than a Patchwork cake! Can you tell I’m a “foodie”?
What opportunities has living on the Isle of Man given you and your family?
I have met some incredible people and made friendships that are one in a million. In the Isle of Man, I have the opportunity to work for a global worldwide company, yet still spend my free time in nature and enjoying island living. London, Dublin and even smaller cities like Manchester and Liverpool are only a short flight away and I have had the opportunity to travel in Europe, which would be much harder back in Canada.
What would be your top tip for others looking to relocate to the Isle of Man?
Moving anywhere is daunting and it is what you make of it, but the island is truly magical.
I would recommend connecting with local groups to start building your network. Whether it’s fitness, painting, meditation or running, the Isle of Man has a group or meet-up for everything, and the people are so friendly. Get out there and explore everything that Island has to offer - whether it’s a pop up dining experience or a film showing at a local bar!
Thank you to Sarah for sharing her relocation story (and top tips on eating out!).
Head over to Foodieguideiom.com to follow her recommendations in the Isle of Man!
Moving to the Isle of Man is simple, straightforward and rewarding. Find out more or contact one of our team today.