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Coffee Break Chat with Charlie Brigden

by Stephanie Koathes Jul 1, 2019

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Lifestyle blogger Charlie Brigden on a beach in the BVI.

Through her blog The Barefoot Angel, Charlie Brigden shares her travels, discoveries, and love of life in her adopted homeland of BVI.

How did Charlie find herself on the other side of the pond from her native UK, making a life in the little slice of BVI paradise?

This blogger shares with Yello how she came to be in BVI, why she loves it so much, and which island is her favourite.

Where are you from?

I’m originally from Devon in the UK.

How long have you been in BVI, and how did you end up here?

I’ve been in the BVI for over 10 years. I came over with an ex-boyfriend who has family living here. 

And what made you stay?

I loved it here! The way of life is different from anything I had experienced before. I made friends and wanted to explore more of what is here. 

What is your day-to-day life as a travel and lifestyle blogger? Is blogging your main job?

It is not my main job, I only do it as a hobby. It’s almost an online journal. After the hurricane, I realised that there was a need for up-to-date information on many of the favourite tourist spots as the islands recovered, and it changed the focus of my posts slightly. I write notes and edit photos while on my daily ferry commute.

What’s your favourite island? Is it still Anegada? And tell me why. 

That’s such a hard question as each island has its own distinct vibe. Anegada is definitely still one of my favourites, but I think that Virgin Gorda has my heart. Virgin Gorda has a unique natural beauty with the boulders and many of my favourite beaches. The community spirit on Virgin Gorda is also very special. 

What is your favourite restaurant in BVI?

That is so tough! I have so many favourites, but we always gravitate towards Brandywine Estate for special occasions because the food is just so good! 

Brandywine Estate. Photo credit: The Barefoot Angel

Where do you go to relax?

I like to walk my dogs on the beach to clear my head. My favourites are Savannah Bay and Spring Bay. 

If you had to recommend only one local dish to a visitor, what would it be?

Hmmm…probably roti because with meat, fish or veggie options, I feel like there is something for everyone. You get that great curry flavour, but they aren’t usually too spicy. My favourite is shrimp roti! Either that or a pattie, I love the beef patties at Crandall’s although I haven’t had one for ages! (Sorry, I know you said only one). 

Share with me some of your favourite places in the Caribbean (other than BVI) that you’ve visited.

I loved St John (in the USVI) when I visited and would love to go back. St Martin is also one of my favourites, it has such an interesting dynamic with its French and Dutch influences mixing with the Caribbean culture. Plus you get great French food and wine! I would love to visit Dominica; it’s still top of my list. 

Imagine you need a new outfit asap. Where would you go to shop on island?

Probably UMI, it’s usually my go-to if I have an event or occasion to dress up for. I can guarantee I’ll find something beautiful there. 

What are your hobbies?

Aside from blogging (the writing, photography and learning more about developing websites, etc.) I love getting out on the water with friends, and I’ve recently discovered an interest in snorkelling and underwater photography (previously my fear of sharks put me off). But my biggest love is travel if you can include planning trips away as a hobby? 

Can you tell us one fun fact about you?

I played the trumpet for years, I was in jazz bands and orchestras. Sadly, I haven’t played since I was 20. 

Tell me the best part about life in the BVI.

I’m not sure where to start! I love having so many different islands on my doorstep to explore. It’s a real privilege to get to live and enjoy experiences here that others only get to taste on holiday. It’s obviously such a beautiful location and one that has proven itself to be very resilient too! 

What makes BVI and its people so special?

There’s a very special sense of community in the BVI, which I felt more so when I moved to Virgin Gorda (from Tortola) five years ago. I think that was heightened after the hurricane. There’s a melting pot of different backgrounds which is fun to be a part of. 

Check out Charlie’s blog, The Barefoot Angel, to see her BVI dining guide and more.