Growing up in North Andros, I learned the beauty of isolation and the richness of a blank canvas waiting to be painted. For many Bahamians raised on the family islands, there is a magnetic pull to “move back home,” something we refer to as “The Bahamian Dream.”

However, this dream envisions personal fulfillment and professional uncertainties. Now, the family islands are becoming out-islands and developing at a quick pace. The professional needs have advanced beyond the local skills bank. Industries are rapidly growing across these islands—tourism, manufacturing, agriculture, and more. Meanwhile, as Nassau swells with congestion, inflated costs, oversaturated markets, and safety concerns, this opportunity for the Bahamian Dream is becoming a reality for many professionals.


The past few years, post-COVID, have reshaped our perceptions, underscoring the value of space and efficiency. Amidst rapid development, the Bahamian Dream lies in perfecting selective isolation while enhancing productivity and accessing economic opportunities.

Studies affirm that reduced stress increases mental well-being. For busy professionals, daily life on out-islands awakens a nostalgia—line fishing off local docks or chatting at familiar stores. The absence of urban luxuries often translates to a reduced desire for them. We see many visitors embrace the disconnection from the hustle and bustle to embrace silence and serenity, while professionals can actualize work-life balance.

Out-Island Living

Moreover, out-island life offers an unparalleled connection with nature, rekindling childhood hobbies forgotten through age and the lack of time and opportunity. The simplicity of true island living can give an appreciation for the environment, promote healthier lifestyles with locally grown food, and even enhance a passion for serving, returning to the traditions of community living that our parents grew up on.

As rent prices skyrocket, the cost of ownership has also become out of range for the average Bahamian. Building a home on an out island is still a reality, as property prices on the out islands remain within grasp. The average Bahamian’s dream home can still be a reality despite the challenges of overpopulation, inflation costs, and the lack of increase in annual wages experienced by most people.

Reduced living expenses translate to increased disposable income and financial stability. With less financial strain, there is more room for professionals to invest in personal development, pursue entrepreneurial ventures, or contribute to community initiatives, amplifying the ripple effect of prosperity.

Innovation Awaits

For many entrepreneurs, the out islands are a fertile ground for innovation, tapping into unmet local demands and providing a raw canvas for creativity. There are many unmet needs and not enough people to fill the gaps. Whereas the capital may have oversaturated markets, the out islands have markets that have yet to be realized.

In the context where many people are unable to leave the islands to learn, the only careers they know are the ones they are exposed to. Increasing the number of professionals on our out islands increases exposure to the possibility of new career paths for out-islanders. By exposing local communities to new diverse skills that were not previously needed and by adding more professionals to our out-island skills bank, we contribute to a ripple effect in out island development and overall country development.

The increase in out island populations boosts local economies. It can increase revenue for many local family-owned businesses, which can directly correlate with a child going away to college or increasing their employees to service the growing demand.

New Opportunities

While out-island infrastructure deficits such as power outages or limited grocery options may pose hurdles, they also point to new opportunities. Power outages fuel the need for solar solutions. Although healthcare gaps are a looming concern throughout the country, this creates an opportunity for more private clinics and returning nurses who also seek the opportunity to live the Bahamian Dream.

Seeing community development organizations like One Eleuthera Foundation (OEF) advocate and pioneer sustainable solutions for many of these common challenges exemplifies the impact Bahamians can have in out island development, when returning to their roots with skills, experience, exposure, and most importantly, a vision. OEF was started twelve years ago by Shaun Ingraham, a native Eleutheran desiring to provide solutions for the challenges within his community. Today the organization is led by Keyron Smith, also a native Eleutheran inspired to make a difference and contribute to out island development.

Realize Your Bahamian Dream

I encourage professionals to explore opportunities on their ancestral family islands or to create them where they do not exist. You can begin this process by exploring ways to work with local organizations and committees that are key partners in your island’s development. This model can be a road map for many professionals who want to return to the out islands and realize the Bahamian Dream.

In conclusion, the journey to the Bahamian Dream unveils a plethora of new opportunities—where tranquility meets productivity and isolation fosters innovation. For professionals yearning to reconnect with their roots or chart new paths, our out islands are rich with new opportunities.

As Bahamians continue to redefine success and happiness in the 21st century, the thought of family island living has become more prevalent amid increased living costs and crime. In embracing the Bahamian Dream, professionals are becoming more confident in participating in the development of their preferred family island.

About One Eleuthera Foundation

Founded in 2012, One Eleuthera Foundation is a community-based non-profit organization dedicated to transforming our local island communities into thriving, self-sufficient ecosystems. We do this by focusing on five key areas: economic ownership, meaningful educational advancement, pathways to wellness, and environmentally sustainable communities centered around our island’s unique cultural identity. We run a number of social enterprises, including CTI, our vocational school; the Retreat Hotel, a training hotel for hospitality students; and our farm and Cooling House, which trains future farmers in the best sustainability and food production practices. Through OEF’s consistent dedicated efforts, the tenacity and resourcefulness of our legacy community, and the support of donors and partners, we are creating change in Eleuthera.