Thursday, August 20, 2015

Relocation Part 2: Living on the Island

Alright, so we've considered a few of the things you want to keep in mind when you're physically moving to the island. Now, let's take a look at some things to consider about actually Living on the Island!
I just typed up an entire blog post full of prices of groceries, a little bit of info on the utility companies and some really dull topics like that. I was practically putting myself to sleep, so if you're looking for that info here, you won't find it today. Take 2...

I am working under the assumption that if you're trying to move to Exuma that you have actually been to Exuma. If you are seriously considering a move here and you haven't spent any real length of time here... Step 1 is come and visit, and try to do more than just 'touristy' things while you're here. 
Let's take a little quiz shall we? (write down your answers)

1) If you can't grab a Triple, Venti, Half Sweet, Non-Fat, Caramel Macchiato on your morning drive to the office from the Starbucks, will you:

a) cease to exist  
b) be okay for a few days, but after that, somethings gotta give  
c) probably be fine, I don't drink coffee, or I brew my own

2) It's 5:45pm on a Tuesday, you are about to start dinner. Say you're fixing spaghetti and you realize you forgot to grab tomato sauce (or Prego or Ragu, whatever you fancy), and the stores are closed (or closing in minutes and you don't have time to get to it--Shop Rite stays open til 6pm, but let's say you live out of the 10 minute time frame it may take you and you can't get there). Will you:

a) be completely at a loss since you can't run to the nearest Publix and pick up your missing ingredient anytime of day, and proceed to throw a little hissy-fit
b) be bummed, but just go eat out at the nearby Fish Fry because this won't happen often (*unless you're anything like me and my scattered brain)
c) give your neighbor a call, after all you just loaned them flour last night, and if they don't have it, you'll just figure something else out for dinner
How are you doing?? Ready for another one...

3) The new Bond movie just came out in theaters, and you have just got to see it, will you:

a) hop on the next flight out because Bond is the best and you pre-bought tickets months ago, and there is no way you're going to miss this!
b) head down to the aforementioned Fish Fry and hit up Charlies, he's sure to have a pirated copy there that you can get your hands on...never-mind that it's illegal! (It'll be right there beside a copy of the newest Star TRACK --no lie)
c) be bummed, because you really want to see it, but you can wait until it is available on iTunes... even though that means you may have to wait a few months.
4) Your fancy car breaks down, and the mechanic on the island has to order a part, that will most likely take a few weeks (being optimistic) to get here. Will you:

a) go rent the nicest car on the rental lot because there is no way you are bumming rides from someone or driving a vehicle that's less than top notch
b) try to find a car you can borrow or rent for a few days because you just never know when you may need to go somewhere
c) lace up your favorite walking shoes and stick out that thumb like the rest of 'em when they need a ride and 'got no wheels'. Humble yourself and beg your friends for occasional rides. It's only temporary, right! Right?  RIIIIGGHHTT???

5) You are riding on a boat and heading out of a cut to do a little diving, because if you're going to live on an island... that's what you'll be doing ALL the time, right? {excuse me while I giggle a little behind your back}, you hit a wave and it throws you up in the air, and you land really badly on the boat and there goes the blood from multiple spots on your legs and chin. Closer inspection says, yeah... probably need stitches. So, you turn the boat around and head to the clinic, but wait, the clinic is closed... it's after 5pm on a weekday and/or it is the weekend. You call the number scribbled on the paper taped to the door and you wait for the doctor to get to you. She was up early with another situation, so she was a asleep when you called. It takes her a little longer to get to you than you think it should take. She finally gets to the clinic, which is still the old run down little pink building on the loop heading out of town, because it's 2020 and the 'new hospital' still hasn't opened {hot topic around here}. You are taken into this rinky-dink room that is probably not really all that sterile, lie down on the table and the doc begins fixing the cuts. You get about 5 stitches in your chin (after getting a blast of a little numbing agent), another 4 in your leg and some meds for the recovery and the bill is $50 (and this is high because you're not Bahamian). You head home because the day in the boat is kind of over after stitches. Will you:

a) go home and book a flight out the next day so you can go to a 'real' doctor somewhere off the island and make sure things were done properly
b) go home appreciative of the care you received but begin researching medical planes, because the next time something like this happens you will be flown somewhere for your medical care
c) go home and feel pretty happy because you got ALL that for $50 (less than some co-pays elsewhere), the doc did a pretty good job from what you can tell, and consider yourself really lucky that you didn't break anything, because a break means you have to fly to Nassau to get it corrected.

6) Last One: You're sitting down to watch a movie on Netflix (because it's a good night for internet and the speed is working well), the power goes off for the 6th time that day. Will you: 

a) Use your cell phone to call and place an order for solar panels, because this just isn't acceptable
b) Check into rewiring your house so that these surges won't keep destroying your electronics
c) Hope that your tv didn't just get fried (AGAIN), light a few candles, grab up a good book and just chill (or sweat) because you want to savor every bit of energy and cool air that you stored up before the air went off (if it happened in the summer time) If it's in the winter, you're straight because you've already got the windows open!

Alright, how did you do? If you answered "A" to any one of those questions, I would strongly discourage you from moving to Exuma. Visit all you want, but don't expect to be happy living here. "B" answers are need to really dig deep and think if this is what you really want. "C" answers should be just fine, because everyone of these scenarios has happened to us and we are surviving just fine. You may not always LIKE some of the stuff, but you'll be able to handle the curve balls thrown at you.

Exuma can be a blast! So don't think it is all inconvenience and frustration. We obviously love it here! If you are fortunate enough to have a job that you love that gives you some flexibility to do what you want, it can be a great place to live. We get to spend a ton of time on the water with our work and that is priceless! We don't get to pack our bags and fly all over the world when we want because we simply don't make that kind of money. Once or twice a year off the island is about max for our family at this stage. I really don't know how some native Exumians have lived here for so long if they don't enjoy the water. Many don't know how to swim so I can safely assume they don't spend much time in it.

We don't have any chain restaurants, and very few inexpensive eating options, All the places to eat in Exuma is another post in itself, but you will find a lot in common across the board. Lots of fish, peas-n-rice, fried chicken, BBQ ribs, macaroni and similar foods. You won't find a Chinese, Mexican, Suishi, Italian, or too many other options outside of Bahamian Cuisine. We had a sweet little Chinese restaurant that only lasted about 4 months :( Sad day in deed when that left us. 
You won't be doing any shopping at Target, Wal-Mart, Sears, Home Depot, or anywhere like that down here unless you're shopping online. And even that can be tricky to get the things down here. (go back and check out the first post). You're shopping takes place at places like Top II Bottom, Smitty's, Darville's, Tropical Accents, Sandpiper and A.I.D, to name a few big places!

It takes a lot of patience living here, and you have to let go of a lot of little and sometimes big things. You have to be okay not living exactly like you would if you were living somewhere that you have access to things easily. There are inconveniences, but if you keep a good perspective on your surroundings and how the majority of the island is living, you will most likely be able to see that you too are very blessed and have a lot to be thankful for. 

You do make some sacrifices, but they aren't all bad! You'll have to tune in to the next post about "Thriving vs Surviving the Island" to hear more about that stuff though :) 


Out-Island Explorers said...

Be sure to check out the thread for this post on our FaceBook page, there's some extra input from fellow islanders on there :)

Bruno Celeste said...

Hi Tamara and Dallas,

I discovered this blog yesterday and it's a real pleasure to read it! Your latest posts about moving to Exuma are very useful.

We are from France and with my wife and our 2 years old kid, we plan to move to Exuma for 6 months in January 2016. My wife asked for a sabbatical leave and we are still waiting for the agreement.

It's been years that we wanted to live this experience; living in another country and to integrate with other communities. Luckily for us, the perfect timing is next year :)

We have some contacts from Paradise Bay where we stayed for a week in March 2015, that will help us find a house which is my primary concern. Because without a house, our project cannot be started! So I have a question: how did you find a house in the first place? There is nothing on the internet, no real estate it seems, so not so easy I guess.

Maybe we will meet there next year if everything is good for us?


Out-Island Explorers said...

Hi Bruno!!! Thanks for the comment, and thanks for your patience. We're just now getting back online after about 5 days of it being out. We're still not 'fully' back up and running, but it is enough for now :)

Your best chance to find a place to live is asking around across the island. There are a bunch of Realtors like HG Christie, Coldwell Banking, Front Rowe Realty... just do a quick google search for Exuma Real Estate and you'll find all of them. However, they do mostly list the high income housing and more costly rental homes. Websites like and are good too, those have more listings that just the high end ones.

We have a page on Facebook called Exuma Sale that could be a good place to post the inquiry that you're looking for a place. There's this new page our friend is working on getting going down here too:

If you're here on the island, go by the stores, a lot of them have bulletin boards outside with listings on them. There are lots of places to rent around here. Some are more expensive than others... but there are definitely places around.

I hope this helps!
Thanks for checking out the blog :) Hope to meet you if you make it here!

Bruno Celeste said...


Many thanks for your response :) The facebook page looks very useful indeed! Homeaway and frbo are listing vacation rentals only it seems, I couldn't find long term rental houses.

Talking about internet, I am working on the web so an internet connection is very important to me. Can you please tell me how much does it cost? What ISP are available? BTC? How fast is it? How much time does the ISP need to connect the house to internet?

Sorry for all the questions, I have like a billion of questions right now :)

I'd love to continue this discussion by email when you have time! [bruno dot celeste at gmail dot com]