Last Friday, we (my wife, my new baby and I) moved back to The Bahamas from New York City.
The decision to move had been a long time in the making. Many hours of pondering island life versus the opportunities of the Big Apple, had led to this moment. Life in The Bahamas is incredibly alluring, but it was the arrival of our baby daughter, our precious ‘Viva’, that finally clenched the deal.
Amidst all of the hopes and dreams we hold for our daughter we recognized that we truly wanted to raise Viva in a beloved environment and culture that would allow her to run on the beach and dive in the ocean. These elements are her parents’ main passion in life, and after all, it was the intoxicating Bahamian cocktail of a unique cultural ‘joie de vivre’ combined with a stunning environment that set the stage for her to come into existence in the first place.
Raising a Family in The Bahamas
For us it came as no surprise that The Bahamas is featured twice Island Magazine’s 10 Best Islands for Raising a Family.
With 700 Islands, The Bahamas is a lifestyle smorgasbord.
Choose from Nassau, the capital city on New Providence Island, offering 5-star options and top-notch schools to the other islands, known as the ‘Out-Islands’ of The Bahamas, which also provide exceptional educational options amid quieter community living and urban conveniences, but on a more limited scale.
In some cases, ‘an idyllic island family life’ requires more resourceful engagement, such as a ferry system in place of a ‘school bus’ system. But no matter which island you choose, it is without a doubt that all of the stunning islands and surrounding cays of The Bahamas are a playground and explorer’s paradise for any family.
An Island Education
As I shared in our Back To School Bahamas post, there are some world-class schools in The Bahamas. From all-age schools and International Baccalaureate schools to schools embracing innovative systems and hands-on curriculums. There is no doubt that a top-notch education can be found in The Bahamas, all while providing a highly desirable island lifestyle.
The colonial influence on the Commonwealth of The Bahamas’ school system is undeniable. One of the visible ‘hangovers’ is of course, the school uniform. As a student, personally having to wear a uniform was something I hated. Yet now, through my ‘new daddy eyes’, I can’t wait to see our little girl don her first pair of polished Clarks shoes, modest pleated skirt and starched shirt reflecting her school colours!
Family Transportation Island Style
When pondering my ‘new neighbourhood’, I am once again convinced that sailing is the only ‘true way’ to experience The Bahamas.
So, instead of visions of piling the family into a mini-van for a family outing, I have already begun to ponder a ‘jerry rig system’ which will allow Viva’s car seat to fit in a sailboat cockpit.
Read about living aboard with kids
Planning ahead, I’m determinedly plotting how to ensure that Viva’s ‘first steps’ will also be on the deck of sailboat!
The Bahamas Trough the Eyes of a Child
Sailing, surfing, crawfishing, cultural festivals and a melting pot of people from all over the world, there’s so much to introduce our cherished daughter to in The Bahamas. Yet, wisdom prevails, and I am reminded to not to be too keen and take over the experience for her.
“There is a kid’s way of seeing the world,” says Keith Bellows, editor-in-chief of National Geographic Traveler magazine and author of National Geographic’s “100 Places That Can Change Your Child’s Life.” “As an adult, get out of the way, and stop marching them through an experience. When you get them to slow down and experience a place from their perspective, it’s magic. Not just the place itself, but the experience.” national-geographic-kids-travel
So, upon our return to our beloved Bahamas, it came as no surprise to our ‘welcome wagon’ of cooing grandparents, uncles, aunties and endless cousins, that we whisked our little Viva away to experience her first ‘dip’ in the turquoise waters of the beckoning ocean.
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” …Marcel Proust
As I gently dipped Viva into the warm, turquoise sea at Love Beach, she let out a small gasp, opened her beautiful “new eyes” and looked around. In that moment, I understood what Proust had stated so eloquently; through Viva, we’d be discovering a new Bahamas – a “family Bahamas”. And beyond all of the personal experiences we recalled and desired to share and show her, this was going to be the wonderful new place the three of us would call home – Our Bahamas – seen through ‘new eyes’ by all of us.
Written by David Lee.