Island life?

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mrspock
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Island life?

Post by mrspock » Tue May 07, 2019 6:49 pm

Curious to hear from those who retired to “island” life, some place like the US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Hawaii or the Florida Keys:

What attracted you to this lifestyle? Did you “test drive” it first? How? Do you regret it? Do you ever get bored or get “island fever”? How do you deal with hurricanes? Are there any aspects which are better or worse than you anticipated? Do you maintain another home on the mainland?

Thanks, and I am looking forward to your responses!

(Mods, feel free to move this post... took my best guess as to where to post it.)

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willthrill81
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Re: Island life?

Post by willthrill81 » Tue May 07, 2019 6:54 pm

I haven't personally lived the 'island life', but I have a cousin who lived on Maui for four years. She worked as a nurse manager in a clinic. She grew weary of most of the staff calling in sick when someone shouted 'surf's up'. That, combined with the high COL, the absence of real seasons, and the monotony of the lifestyle led to them calling it quits and moving back to the mainland, which they haven't regretted.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings

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fortfun
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Re: Island life?

Post by fortfun » Tue May 07, 2019 6:54 pm

mrspock wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 6:49 pm
Curious to hear from those who retired to “island” life, some place like the US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Hawaii or the Florida Keys:

What attracted you to this lifestyle? Did you “test drive” it first? How? Do you regret it? Do you ever get bored or get “island fever”? How do you deal with hurricanes? Are there any aspects which are better or worse than you anticipated? Do you maintain another home on the mainland?

Thanks, and I am looking forward to your responses!

(Mods, feel free to move this post... took my best guess as to where to post it.)
I'm not sure but would like to find out too :)

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Summit111
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Re: Island life?

Post by Summit111 » Tue May 07, 2019 7:34 pm

Created our own “Island Life” here in the U.S. We have a house on the water with palm trees, outdoor living areas, dock with shade. Playing Latin music on the Sonos helps. We grill island type food...The house is laid back...

BUT,

We have the convenience of great local medical care, friends and family nearby, and we make several real island trips a year...

Summit
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Isabelle77
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Re: Island life?

Post by Isabelle77 » Tue May 07, 2019 7:45 pm

Perhaps not the same thing but my parents live on an island near Charleston, SC. It's lovely, except for the hurricanes.

bltn
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Re: Island life?

Post by bltn » Tue May 07, 2019 8:09 pm

Can the "island life" be approximated with the beach life? Living in a coastal community might give many of the advantages of island life and also include access to additional benefits not possible on a secluded island.
I also had a friend who worked for a few years on Maui when her husband took an early retirement. After 3-4 years she moved back home.

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Time2Quit
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Re: Island life?

Post by Time2Quit » Tue May 07, 2019 8:34 pm

I grew up on an island and miss it. DW wants no part of island life. Looks like I will be on the mainland for the foreseeable future. :(

It takes a different mindset to truly enjoy it. If you are wound tight island life will not work. It is a go with the flow attitude and being able to improvise and do without certain luxuries. Not saying you can’t get the luxury items, they just are not as available on demand like we are used to.
"It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor." --Seneca

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willthrill81
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Re: Island life?

Post by willthrill81 » Tue May 07, 2019 8:39 pm

Summit111 wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 7:34 pm
Created our own “Island Life” here in the U.S. We have a house on the water with palm trees, outdoor living areas, dock with shade. Playing Latin music on the Sonos helps. We grill island type food...The house is laid back...

BUT,

We have the convenience of great local medical care, friends and family nearby, and we make several real island trips a year...

Summit
That sounds like a great lifestyle to me! :D
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings

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aspirit
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Re: Island life?

Post by aspirit » Tue May 07, 2019 8:58 pm

mrspock wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 6:49 pm
Curious to hear from those who retired to “island” life, some place like the US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Hawaii or the Florida Keys:

What attracted you to this lifestyle? Did you “test drive” it first? How? Do you regret it? Do you ever get bored or get “island fever”? How do you deal with hurricanes? Are there any aspects which are better or worse than you anticipated? Do you maintain another home on the mainland?

Thanks, and I am looking forward to your responses!

(Mods, feel free to move this post... took my best guess as to where to post it.)
The island populated by others?
Or you alone?
There are private islands w/1 living unit.

I winter on an island in the keys. It’s populated by snowbirds seasonally and Cubans yr. round.
Few snowbirds attempt to stay yr. round, it rarely works out, prior experience shows it.
Been doing it bit more than a decade. Less than 1k units.
Private everything, administration & marina, to security force of under 10.
Almost everyone knows everyone else.
You can be in Miami in about 2hrs.via a land vehicle.
There will always be hurricanes, like there will always be market gyrations and crashes.
Time & tides wait for no one. A man has to know his limitations. | "Give me control of a nation's money and I care not who makes it's laws" | — Mayer Amschel Bauer Rothschild ~

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Re: Island life?

Post by BionicBillWalsh » Tue May 07, 2019 9:47 pm

mrspock wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 6:49 pm
Curious to hear from those who retired to “island” life, some place like the US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Hawaii or the Florida Keys:

What attracted you to this lifestyle? Did you “test drive” it first? How? Do you regret it? Do you ever get bored or get “island fever”? How do you deal with hurricanes? Are there any aspects which are better or worse than you anticipated? Do you maintain another home on the mainland?

Thanks, and I am looking forward to your responses!

(Mods, feel free to move this post... took my best guess as to where to post it.)
I live in Hawaii.

Not retired, but mid career realized that living in the Midwest sucked and that life was too short to not be where I wanted.

As far as test driving, my family did spend a lot of time on vacation on our Island over about 10 years and I critically evaluated my professional opportunities. Ultimately I took a giant haircut in income but couldn’t be happier as our quality of life improved dramatically. And all of my financial goals are still well on track.

One life...

As far as hurricanes, I have a solar system and back-up battery storage system that I can run on pretty much indefinitely as long as the sun shines a few days a week. Couple that with Costco and some very good fruit producing trees in my backyard-yard and I feel more secure in the middle of the Pacific than I ever did in Tornado alley.
Saltwater has an amazing ability to wash away many of life’s troubles

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Watty
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Re: Island life?

Post by Watty » Tue May 07, 2019 10:14 pm

It goes with any new area but one pitfall of moving that people often don't consider is possible allergies.

I know a couple that decided to move to Hawaii so they found jobs and moved. They had been there a number of times on vacation with no major problems but it turned out one of them had real bad allergies that became worse with time. After a year of working with doctors they gave up and came back.

To lessor degrees I have heard of that happening in when people moved to other parts of the country too.

If you do move be sure to rent at first.

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Re: Island life?

Post by LadyGeek » Tue May 07, 2019 10:18 pm

mrspock wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 6:49 pm
(Mods, feel free to move this post... took my best guess as to where to post it.)
Sure. This thread is now in the Personal Consumer Issues forum (where to live).
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Bob Sacamano
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Re: Island life?

Post by Bob Sacamano » Wed May 08, 2019 6:20 am

BionicBillWalsh wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 9:47 pm
mrspock wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 6:49 pm
Curious to hear from those who retired to “island” life, some place like the US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Hawaii or the Florida Keys:

What attracted you to this lifestyle? Did you “test drive” it first? How? Do you regret it? Do you ever get bored or get “island fever”? How do you deal with hurricanes? Are there any aspects which are better or worse than you anticipated? Do you maintain another home on the mainland?

Thanks, and I am looking forward to your responses!

(Mods, feel free to move this post... took my best guess as to where to post it.)
I live in Hawaii.

Not retired, but mid career realized that living in the Midwest sucked and that life was too short to not be where I wanted.

As far as test driving, my family did spend a lot of time on vacation on our Island over about 10 years and I critically evaluated my professional opportunities. Ultimately I took a giant haircut in income but couldn’t be happier as our quality of life improved dramatically. And all of my financial goals are still well on track.

One life...

As far as hurricanes, I have a solar system and back-up battery storage system that I can run on pretty much indefinitely as long as the sun shines a few days a week. Couple that with Costco and some very good fruit producing trees in my backyard-yard and I feel more secure in the middle of the Pacific than I ever did in Tornado alley.
this is awesome. kids? what field are you in? those are the two biggest things - as well as proximity to family.

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Re: Island life?

Post by pennywise » Wed May 08, 2019 7:30 am

We are retiring to a house we bought 2 years ago in Key Largo; have been using it as a weekend/holiday getaway during that time. We live in Miami so it's an hour drive except on holidays or busy summer weekends.

My husband retired January 1 so he's been down FT, I will join him at the end of June. Here are pros and cons so far:

PRO

It is definitely laid back and relaxed/relaxing. Although the Keys are a world class tourist destination the permanent population in Key Largo where we live is ~10,000. Population of Miami Dade county where we are moving from is ~2.7 million. You do the math for crowds, congestion and aggravation comparison :D . Daily life is infinitely easier when you aren't trying to do it with a couple of million other folks on top of you!

Probably related to the (lack of) congestion, people are generally a lot nicer and more laid back. From clerks in the stores to the neighbors, everyone is breezy and usually pretty happy. Neighbors are likely to call you over for a drink at the end of the day when they are out watching the sunset at cocktail hour, amble over with freshly caught fish in the afternoon because they got too much on their fishing trip, keep an eye out for your place when you're gone as you will for theirs etc. Hard not to be happy when we are, as is often intoned, living in paradise.

Weather is better than mainland because an island has whatever breeze is available blowing over a smaller land mass. It's again hard not to be happy when you wake up every morning to bright clear skies, sunny weather and a cooling breeze--and you enjoy it all sipping your coffee on your patio while looking out at your view of blue water framed by palm trees.

Not sure why anyone who isn't into water activities would consider living on an island so maybe this is self evident but...there's water all around. We're boaters and bought a place oceanside with deep water access so the thrill of jumping in and being out on the water in 45 seconds hasn't and probably won't diminish. That truly is a blessing that is almost indescribable; for anyone who is a water person an island just feels like home in a deeply spiritual sense.

CON

It is somewhat isolated in the sense that it's surprisingly rural for stores and some services. There isn't a Target or a Whole Foods down here, and even for specific technical dive gear my husband has to go up to Miami. Medical specialists, same.

Related to first con, it is not a hotbed of many types of cultural or intellectual activity but I'm not sure there are many islands other than Manhattan that boast they are that. One can find things to do of course but the Keys are probably fairly typical in that they are generally oriented to entertaining tourists who come specifically to drink, party and often misbehave.

Speaking of tourists, they're definitely a love to hate aspect of island living. Tourist dollars pay for much of the island economy but oh the aggravation of navigating a jam packed grocery store on a summer Saturday, or trying to go on/off island during the winter or spring holiday weekends.

On any island access on/off is likely to be a factor and so it is in the Keys; there is literally one way in and out. An accident or a natural event (fire, hurricane) can and will shut down that passage for hours or possibly days.

Climate change is real and it's happening now. An island is a good, or bad, place to see and experience this firsthand. Places that never got wet or got flooded, do now. Tides that never rose to a certain level, do now, at least during king season in fall/spring. That one road in and out was built long ago and it's very low lying so there WILL need to be infrastructure changes to support life on these islands, and not in 50 years but soon. It is a concern and it definitely was part of our thought process on whether and how we wanted to relocate to island living. To the OP, we are selling our residence in Miami although we still own a rental property in the same neighborhood as the house we're selling. So there is a potential place to 'return' should we decide to do so; we have no plan or intention of that but one never knows.

A note about hurricanes: as longtime Fl residents who have weathered (haha) many storms, the Keys aren't scary. South Florida and Monroe county building codes are extremely tough and in Irma despite the highly newsworthy pictures of smashed homes on Big Pine Key that were mostly trailers and modulars, most houses built to code did extremely well. Not saying a bullseye from a category 4-5 won't take out whatever is in its (narrow) path but we have a well built house, on stilts, with impact windows and doors so storms don't terrify us. In fact after Irma we bugged out of our Miami home which was without electricity for almost 3 weeks to go live in the Keys where the power came back on in 3 days!

On the whole we are enamored of island living and hope to do it for as many healthy retirement years as possible. It's distinctly different in what for us is a highly desirable way, and we will take the cons because the pluses so far outweigh them.

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Re: Island life?

Post by daheld » Wed May 08, 2019 7:39 am

Isabelle77 wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 7:45 pm
Perhaps not the same thing but my parents live on an island near Charleston, SC. It's lovely, except for the hurricanes.
I took a vacation a few years ago to Harbor Island, SC, which is just past Beaufort. I have always loved the author Pat Conroy, and he wrote of these isolated islands. The history of the low country and the Gullah people is fascinating to me, and it was a wonderful area to explore. I've not been to Charleston, but I really loved Beaufort and the surrounding islands.

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Re: Island life?

Post by Valuethinker » Wed May 08, 2019 7:47 am

pennywise wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 7:30 am
We are retiring to a house we bought 2 years ago in Key Largo; have been using it as a weekend/holiday getaway during that time. We live in Miami To the OP, we are selling our residence in Miami although we still own a rental property in the same neighborhood as the house we're selling. So there is a potential place to 'return' should we decide to do so; we have no plan or intention of that but one never knows.
I think there is a concern about Miami itself, which I believe is the 2nd most affected US city after New Orleans (which is mostly below sea level).

My main source on this is Jeff Goodell's book although I have seen some other stuff.

https://www.amazon.com/Water-Will-Come- ... =8-1-fkmr0

As I understand it the problem in Miami is the city is built on water permeable sedimentary rock (limestone).

Thus the whole infrastructure of the city, plus the very foundations of its buildings, comes under threat before the water sweeps in above the current dry line.

Pipes & sewers, cabling, parking garages - it's all at risk. America's Venice, in a way.

It will all have to be dug up, eventually, and relaid on trestles.

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Re: Island life?

Post by lthenderson » Wed May 08, 2019 7:50 am

pennywise wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 7:30 am
Although the Keys are a world class tourist destination the permanent population in Key Largo where we live is ~10,000. Population of Miami Dade county where we are moving from is ~2.7 million. You do the math for crowds, congestion and aggravation comparison :D .
As someone who lives in rural America, these population densities always blow my mind. Miami-Dade county is about 3600 people per square mile, Key Largo 670 and where I live, a whopping 14. I'm not sure I could imagine the congestion or aggravation. :shock:

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Re: Island life?

Post by GCD » Wed May 08, 2019 7:53 am

I can't opine on island life from personal experience, but I can speak to "test driving" a vacation location. We moved to a favorite vacation destination, Rapid City, SD. It also had the advantage of being in a state where I already had relatives and where there were several family owned ranches and farms. Nevertheless, it didn't work out. For a whole slew of reasons, a place you think is wonderful on vacation may not cut it as a place to live full-time.

Now moving to a vacation destination as a retiree might be a little different. But we had grade school age kids.

All kinds of problems. Too much to type. And we thought we had thought it all through fairly well and thought we had contingency plans for the contingency plans in case certain things didn't work out.

The whole thing was kind of a big fail. Fortunately our "exit" plan worked almost flawlessly and we escaped once we decided it was time to leave.

So that would be my advice. Have an exit plan. If it turns out you don't like island life full time, have a way to extract yourself. Have a workable plan for how to deal with the drain of an island house you can't sell and can't rent, but still have money tied up in. That sort of thing.

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Re: Island life?

Post by finfire » Wed May 08, 2019 7:58 am

I test drove by visiting once. I liked what I saw and we moved.

One of the main downers: salt corrodes everything. Sand gets everywhere.

Other than that, sunshine all year, less traffic. All good.

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Re: Island life?

Post by Valuethinker » Wed May 08, 2019 7:58 am

mrspock wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 6:49 pm
Curious to hear from those who retired to “island” life, some place like the US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Hawaii or the Florida Keys:

What attracted you to this lifestyle? Did you “test drive” it first? How? Do you regret it? Do you ever get bored or get “island fever”? How do you deal with hurricanes? Are there any aspects which are better or worse than you anticipated? Do you maintain another home on the mainland?

Thanks, and I am looking forward to your responses!

(Mods, feel free to move this post... took my best guess as to where to post it.)
You neglected Long Island, Martha's Vineyard, Rhode Island etc. ;-).

I do know something about Salt Spring Island, which is a Canadian island sort of between Vancouver and Seattle. So there are American equivalents just across the international boundary line.

Pros

- lovely people
- very mild climate (by Canadian standards) - you can go fishing at Christmas!
- stunningly beautiful
- slower pace of life than the mainland
- Vancouver or Seattle only a short ferry ride away

Cons

- access, especially when the Strait is stormy - you can feel very isolated even though Vancouver is only a short ride away
- problems of a small community - everyone knows quite a lot about everyone else's business - gossip is integral
- things cost more - partly because of freight but also because of sub optimal order size - Costco is not about to open up on Salt Spring Island
- water shortage - groundwater access is strictly controlled due to depletion. You can have a building lot, and permission, but no water supply
- struggle with private forestry owners re deforestation/ clearcutting - there's actually a documentary about this

I think for young people in particular island life can feel pretty constraining. And many islands have quite bad drug problems.

Haida G'Wai (were called the Queen Charlotte Islands really the Aleutians but in Canada) you have all the above but you are a clear day's sailing from the tip of Vancouver island, and you have the First Peoples land claims (not illegitimate but does constrain your freedom of action). When the winter weather comes you can be totally isolated for weeks due to stormy strait & impossible to fly.

On the NE USA islands I would add cost of living, which is high-to-very-high. And occasionally brutal storms. They carve New Englanders out of the local solid granite rock, it seems, then wash them in the local storm waves.

I could also tell you about Orkneys (off n coast of Scotland) but that's getting even more off piste ;-).
Last edited by Valuethinker on Wed May 08, 2019 8:13 am, edited 1 time in total.

Valuethinker
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Re: Island life?

Post by Valuethinker » Wed May 08, 2019 7:59 am

GCD wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 7:53 am
I can't opine on island life from personal experience, but I can speak to "test driving" a vacation location. We moved to a favorite vacation destination, Rapid City, SD. It also had the advantage of being in a state where I already had relatives and where there were several family owned ranches and farms. Nevertheless, it didn't work out. For a whole slew of reasons, a place you think is wonderful on vacation may not cut it as a place to live full-time.

Now moving to a vacation destination as a retiree might be a little different. But we had grade school age kids.

All kinds of problems. Too much to type. And we thought we had thought it all through fairly well and thought we had contingency plans for the contingency plans in case certain things didn't work out.

The whole thing was kind of a big fail. Fortunately our "exit" plan worked almost flawlessly and we escaped once we decided it was time to leave.

So that would be my advice. Have an exit plan. If it turns out you don't like island life full time, have a way to extract yourself. Have a workable plan for how to deal with the drain of an island house you can't sell and can't rent, but still have money tied up in. That sort of thing.
Good advice.

fasteddie911
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Re: Island life?

Post by fasteddie911 » Wed May 08, 2019 8:36 am

Have friends and family in hawaii, including retirees, though most of them born and raised there. I've spent lots of time there (vacations, summers, etc.). Living there is different than visiting. There can be a honeymoon period for sure and its length probably correlates to where you're moving from, so a 'test-drive' can be tricky. COL is an issue, amenities and healthcare can be more limited, tourists, things can get monotonous, isolation and distance, costly to travel, hurricane potential and weather concerns, cultural differences. Island fever is real. It's not for everyone. If you grew up in it then it's probably easier. But plenty people leave within a few years (not sure about retirees though). I think Hawaii is one of few States that had population decline the past few years and domestic out-migration the past decade or so. Possibly viewing your move as a 2-3yr stay may be better as opposed to setting down roots.
Last edited by fasteddie911 on Wed May 08, 2019 9:44 am, edited 3 times in total.

The Wizard
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Re: Island life?

Post by The Wizard » Wed May 08, 2019 8:51 am

Member Sandtrap has some experience with this topic.
Perhaps he'll chime in...
Attempted new signature...

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Nicolas
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Re: Island life?

Post by Nicolas » Wed May 08, 2019 9:06 am

The last time we visited Hawaii I thought it was comical when I saw a contest being advertised where the prize was a trip to Las Vegas. Why would anyone want to win that when they’re already in paradise?

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Re: Island life?

Post by Vanguard Fan 1367 » Wed May 08, 2019 9:07 am

mrspock wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 6:49 pm
Curious to hear from those who retired to “island” life, some place like the US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Hawaii or the Florida Keys:

What attracted you to this lifestyle? Did you “test drive” it first? How? Do you regret it? Do you ever get bored or get “island fever”? How do you deal with hurricanes? Are there any aspects which are better or worse than you anticipated? Do you maintain another home on the mainland?

Thanks, and I am looking forward to your responses!

(Mods, feel free to move this post... took my best guess as to where to post it.)
I lived on Barbados for 9 months. I definitely got island fever. I got to where I really missed getting in a car and driving for hours.

I didn't have the cash for a boat or a small plane.

TravelGeek
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Re: Island life?

Post by TravelGeek » Wed May 08, 2019 9:28 am

Nicolas wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 9:06 am
The last time we visited Hawaii I thought it was comical when I saw a contest being advertised where the prize was a trip to Las Vegas. Why would anyone want to win that when they’re already in paradise?
It’s called the 9th island. Something about Vegas makes it very attractive to Hawaiians for vacation (I can’t quite understand it either). Perhaps this story explains it: https://www.kcbx.org/post/journeys-disc ... d#stream/0

renue74
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Re: Island life?

Post by renue74 » Wed May 08, 2019 9:40 am

I spent 2 years in Oahu when I was in grade school. My dad was in the Army and based there.

I remember it being a "slow life," and centered around the water. Each weekend, we would often visit different beaches, have picnics and basically hang out. Surf, swim, snorkel, etc.

As a child, it was fun, but I could see it getting old. Maybe that's why many folks only spend part of the time there. A change of scenery is good.

fasteddie911
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Re: Island life?

Post by fasteddie911 » Wed May 08, 2019 9:50 am

TravelGeek wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 9:28 am
Nicolas wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 9:06 am
The last time we visited Hawaii I thought it was comical when I saw a contest being advertised where the prize was a trip to Las Vegas. Why would anyone want to win that when they’re already in paradise?
It’s called the 9th island. Something about Vegas makes it very attractive to Hawaiians for vacation (I can’t quite understand it either). Perhaps this story explains it: https://www.kcbx.org/post/journeys-disc ... d#stream/0
Locals (who aren't necessarily hawaiian btw) get island fever too, and I think a little bit of it is that they probably see Vegas the same way mainlanders see Hawaii, it's just so different from their norm that it's a nice change of pace.

silentfaith
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Re: Island life?

Post by silentfaith » Wed May 08, 2019 10:13 am

Gotta tell ya that living on a nice big roomy catamaran with sat tv and all the goodys that a regular home has is by far the best life style earth has to offer. We did just that for 12 years on a 8 month every year schedule, the remaining 4 months were holed up for hurricane season. We have a trawler now and cruise the Keys cause gettin older but livin the island life is PURA VITA. If your able go for it.

alexander29
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Re: Island life?

Post by alexander29 » Wed May 08, 2019 11:02 am

We live on a “sorta” island in the Pacific Northwest, connected to the mainland by a bridge so no ferry hassle. It’s gorgeous, with a friendly city of 15,000 and a good hospital. What you really have to think about are the trade offs between urban and rural or semi-rural living. We’re much less congested than Seattle or Vancouver, more relaxing, more wildlife, cheaper view housing, beautiful parks a few minutes away. But it’s a trek to big-name cultural events or sports, the mall, and even at this scale we have industry, traffic, and pricey housing. Oahu is way different than the Big Island, and our piece of paradise is busier than the ferry-connected San Juan Islands. We have a temperate climate but we also have very dark winters. “Island” is probably less important to one’s lifestyle than overall population, climate, isolation, latitude, and economic opportunities or the lack there of.

ERguy101
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Re: Island life?

Post by ERguy101 » Wed May 08, 2019 11:39 am

I dream of this... I frequently find myself browsing available condos in St Maarten, in the Caribbean... But then I think about if I moved everything there, and then that hurricane came like it did a couple of years ago, wipes the whole island out, no power, then you're stuck in a third world country with nothing. Scary.

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bligh
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Re: Island life?

Post by bligh » Wed May 08, 2019 11:50 am

Everyone enjoys different things and most things can get monotonous, frustrating and boring after a while. The way I approach these types of things is to make 1 or 2 years plans to experience something. At the end of the 1 or 2 years you decide if you want 1 or 2 more years of this or if you have an itch to do something else. You might be craving the island life simply because what you have right now is different from it. You might start craving city life after having lived on an island for a year or two, or you may find that this is what you had always wanted your entire life! Decisions do not have to be permanent. Keep your options open.

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Re: Island life?

Post by pennywise » Wed May 08, 2019 1:52 pm

lthenderson wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 7:50 am
pennywise wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 7:30 am
Although the Keys are a world class tourist destination the permanent population in Key Largo where we live is ~10,000. Population of Miami Dade county where we are moving from is ~2.7 million. You do the math for crowds, congestion and aggravation comparison :D .
As someone who lives in rural America, these population densities always blow my mind. Miami-Dade county is about 3600 people per square mile, Key Largo 670 and where I live, a whopping 14. I'm not sure I could imagine the congestion or aggravation. :shock:

My husband's cousins moved to Key Largo in 1978(!) when it truly was a remote outpost and they all bemoan the congestion constantly. For us, it's paradise and for them it's akin to living in the middle of NYC....guess it's all about one's frame of reference :wink:

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Re: Island life?

Post by sixtyforty » Wed May 08, 2019 3:50 pm

Our neighbor of 14 years recently moved to an island in the Caribbean. Bought a house, became a citizen and is living the life. She is an avid diver and seems to like it just fine. I get a kick out of hearing refer to her friends as her "Island friends". She may end up coming back to the US someday, but one thing is for sure she is racking up a lot of great experiences.
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Re: Island life?

Post by Mr.BB » Wed May 08, 2019 5:00 pm

Our goal when we retire is to take 2 to 3 months a year and spend a month in Hawaii (Maui's our favorite), maybe a month in Europe somewhere, and a couple weeks somewhere else.
We visit Hawaii all the time but living here full-time is not the same as visiting; as the saying goes "absence makes the heart grow fonder."
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."

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Re: Island life?

Post by Sandtrap » Wed May 08, 2019 5:17 pm

1 Island "culture". (IE: Hawaii's local culture is so different than the mainland that it might as well be another country, in context).
2 Pace (what pace? there is none) IE: what time? . . . . when I get there, you get there, everyone gets there.
3 Food (the most authentic best of every culture everywhere) thus. . . . . . weight gain!
4 Ethnicity and culture (like Noah's Ark, a little of everyone on the planet. . . wonderfully diverse and rich)

5 No long road trips. You have to get on a plane to go anywhere which is time and money and hassle. OTOH, you don't really want to go anywhere.

6 Rock Fever. Claustrophobia. Water people do not get this since an island is surrounded by ocean. Land and Mountain outdoor people might get this.
7 Congestion. There are a lot of people in very small areas on an island, and a lot of cars, and small homes squeezed next to small homes. A small car is a must.
8 Cost of living (can be extreme in every way).
9 Taxes, bureaucracy, red tape.
10 Language: . . IE: "Howzit bruddah (sista girl). . . we going da kine? . . . or what?"
11 Friends: (more than you can handle. . . sincere. . . heart to heart. . . Aloha Spirit as long as you reciprocate) (adapt is a must).
12 Dress code: (what dress code?)
13 Weather: partially cloudy, cool trade winds, blue skies, humidity, all year round.
14 Mosquitos and other crawling things (no winter freezes to keep them in check)
15 Food (everything is about food).
16 An island is an island. Nothing like it.

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Re: Island life?

Post by Starfish » Wed May 08, 2019 5:51 pm

lthenderson wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 7:50 am
pennywise wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 7:30 am
Although the Keys are a world class tourist destination the permanent population in Key Largo where we live is ~10,000. Population of Miami Dade county where we are moving from is ~2.7 million. You do the math for crowds, congestion and aggravation comparison :D .
As someone who lives in rural America, these population densities always blow my mind. Miami-Dade county is about 3600 people per square mile, Key Largo 670 and where I live, a whopping 14. I'm not sure I could imagine the congestion or aggravation. :shock:
3600 per sq mile is very low, rural/suburban.
A grew up in a city ~20k/people per sq mile and is definitely not a crowded city. I still go there every year, there are people on the street but sometimes is pretty empty and there is plenty of space. Because is small enough (300k) it doesn't even have traffic jams.
Somewhat denser cities around (but still not very crowded) have 2-3X the density. In Asia you can get 100k/sq mile, that is crowded. Even Monaco, the richest and highest life expectancy city in the world, has 50k/sq mile.
For most foreigners America is very empty.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_c ... on_density

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Re: Island life?

Post by Mr.BB » Thu May 09, 2019 12:17 am

Sandtrap wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 5:17 pm
1 Island "culture". (IE: Hawaii's local culture is so different than the mainland that it might as well be another country, in context).
2 Pace (what pace? there is none) IE: what time? . . . . when I get there, you get there, everyone gets there.
3 Food (the most authentic best of every culture everywhere) thus. . . . . . weight gain!
4 Ethnicity and culture (like Noah's Ark, a little of everyone on the planet. . . wonderfully diverse and rich)

5 No long road trips. You have to get on a plane to go anywhere which is time and money and hassle. OTOH, you don't really want to go anywhere.

6 Rock Fever. Claustrophobia. Water people do not get this since an island is surrounded by ocean. Land and Mountain outdoor people might get this.
7 Congestion. There are a lot of people in very small areas on an island, and a lot of cars, and small homes squeezed next to small homes. A small car is a must.
8 Cost of living (can be extreme in every way).
9 Taxes, bureaucracy, red tape.
10 Language: . . IE: "Howzit bruddah (sista girl). . . we going da kine? . . . or what?"
11 Friends: (more than you can handle. . . sincere. . . heart to heart. . . Aloha Spirit as long as you reciprocate) (adapt is a must).
12 Dress code: (what dress code?)
13 Weather: partially cloudy, cool trade winds, blue skies, humidity, all year round.
14 Mosquitos and other crawling things (no winter freezes to keep them in check)
15 Food (everything is about food).
16 An island is an island. Nothing like it.

Hawaii No Ka Oi
Malama Pono
Kimo :D
+1
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."

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Re: Island life?

Post by Misciagno » Thu May 09, 2019 2:24 am

fasteddie911 wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 9:50 am
TravelGeek wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 9:28 am
Nicolas wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 9:06 am
The last time we visited Hawaii I thought it was comical when I saw a contest being advertised where the prize was a trip to Las Vegas. Why would anyone want to win that when they’re already in paradise?
It’s called the 9th island. Something about Vegas makes it very attractive to Hawaiians for vacation (I can’t quite understand it either). Perhaps this story explains it: https://www.kcbx.org/post/journeys-disc ... d#stream/0
Locals (who aren't necessarily hawaiian btw) get island fever too, and I think a little bit of it is that they probably see Vegas the same way mainlanders see Hawaii, it's just so different from their norm that it's a nice change of pace.
I was told something similar on Oahu when I was there on business once. I asked some police I was working with, half jokingly, where Hawaiians go on vacation. They both replied immediately in unison, “Las Vegas”. It’s apparently just a given.
"History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes." -- Mark Twain

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Re: Island life?

Post by Pacific » Thu May 09, 2019 2:45 am

Nicolas wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 9:06 am
The last time we visited Hawaii I thought it was comical when I saw a contest being advertised where the prize was a trip to Las Vegas. Why would anyone want to win that when they’re already in paradise?
You "visited" Hawaii. I "visit" Hawaii numerous times a year. It is a wonderful place to visit and has, for most of the year, fantastic weather, but I would NEVER live there. Corruption that would put states like New Jersey to shame. Traffic that would put any big city to shame. HCOL. High crime. Unexpected racism. Many many things that you do not see by visiting.

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Re: Island life?

Post by Valuethinker » Thu May 09, 2019 3:13 am

Starfish wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 5:51 pm
lthenderson wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 7:50 am
pennywise wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 7:30 am
Although the Keys are a world class tourist destination the permanent population in Key Largo where we live is ~10,000. Population of Miami Dade county where we are moving from is ~2.7 million. You do the math for crowds, congestion and aggravation comparison :D .
As someone who lives in rural America, these population densities always blow my mind. Miami-Dade county is about 3600 people per square mile, Key Largo 670 and where I live, a whopping 14. I'm not sure I could imagine the congestion or aggravation. :shock:
3600 per sq mile is very low, rural/suburban.
A grew up in a city ~20k/people per sq mile and is definitely not a crowded city. I still go there every year, there are people on the street but sometimes is pretty empty and there is plenty of space. Because is small enough (300k) it doesn't even have traffic jams.
Somewhat denser cities around (but still not very crowded) have 2-3X the density. In Asia you can get 100k/sq mile, that is crowded. Even Monaco, the richest and highest life expectancy city in the world, has 50k/sq mile.
For most foreigners America is very empty.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_c ... on_density
Good points, all.

The problem is one of auto-mobility that creates congestion and a sense of being "crowded".

Americans are car driven. Public transport is seen as inferior, often is inferior - unreliable, dirty, unsafe. I remember taking a bus in Baltimore (in the 1980s) and thinking "never again". With few exceptions American cities that I know don't have good public transport - even when they do have light rail, etc, cities are so spread out that your destination station is miles from your actual destination (the LA problem).

Many people work in suburban office parks or "Edge Cities" which are really only reachable by car. That's even true in Toronto, say, a city with relatively good public transport but greater Toronto has the public transit system of a city of 2 millions, and a population of 6 million.

Biking is at best awkward and at worst suicidal. People have died right under my office (London). American cities often don't have anywhere to walk, outside of downtown.

Every so often you find a city that got lucky, and resisted highways being blasted into downtown - Vancouver in the 1960s. Boston has had The Big Dig.

British cities other than London are, btw, also very bad for traffic congestion. Birmingham was "motor city" when it was rebuilt after WW2 bombing and it still suffers from that.

If you have 1+ cars per household, a place can have bad traffic quite easily. Austin TX residents complain of it.

The advantage of density is it creates opportunities for public transport. I can't remember the exact numbers, but I think the estimate was you need 20k people per square mile for a subway, 8-12k for light rail (these were Toronto planning numbers, from memory).

You have to go to towns in Europe - Germany, Netherlands, France - to see public transport done right. And Denmark and Netherlands are very pro bicycling.

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Re: Island life?

Post by BionicBillWalsh » Thu May 09, 2019 3:42 am

Bob Sacamano wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 6:20 am
BionicBillWalsh wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 9:47 pm
mrspock wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 6:49 pm
Curious to hear from those who retired to “island” life, some place like the US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Hawaii or the Florida Keys:

What attracted you to this lifestyle? Did you “test drive” it first? How? Do you regret it? Do you ever get bored or get “island fever”? How do you deal with hurricanes? Are there any aspects which are better or worse than you anticipated? Do you maintain another home on the mainland?

Thanks, and I am looking forward to your responses!

(Mods, feel free to move this post... took my best guess as to where to post it.)
I live in Hawaii.

Not retired, but mid career realized that living in the Midwest sucked and that life was too short to not be where I wanted.

As far as test driving, my family did spend a lot of time on vacation on our Island over about 10 years and I critically evaluated my professional opportunities. Ultimately I took a giant haircut in income but couldn’t be happier as our quality of life improved dramatically. And all of my financial goals are still well on track.

One life...

As far as hurricanes, I have a solar system and back-up battery storage system that I can run on pretty much indefinitely as long as the sun shines a few days a week. Couple that with Costco and some very good fruit producing trees in my backyard-yard and I feel more secure in the middle of the Pacific than I ever did in Tornado alley.
this is awesome. kids? what field are you in? those are the two biggest things - as well as proximity to family.
Yes, two grade school aged kids. Medicine. Family comes to visit often. Why wouldn’t they, free lodging in Hawaii.
Saltwater has an amazing ability to wash away many of life’s troubles

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Re: Island life?

Post by yakers » Thu May 09, 2019 6:55 am

Manhattan is an island 😉 would work for me if it didn’t have much winter

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Sandtrap
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Re: Island life?

Post by Sandtrap » Thu May 09, 2019 9:18 am

Misciagno wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 2:24 am
fasteddie911 wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 9:50 am
TravelGeek wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 9:28 am
Nicolas wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 9:06 am
The last time we visited Hawaii I thought it was comical when I saw a contest being advertised where the prize was a trip to Las Vegas. Why would anyone want to win that when they’re already in paradise?
It’s called the 9th island. Something about Vegas makes it very attractive to Hawaiians for vacation (I can’t quite understand it either). Perhaps this story explains it: https://www.kcbx.org/post/journeys-disc ... d#stream/0
Locals (who aren't necessarily hawaiian btw) get island fever too, and I think a little bit of it is that they probably see Vegas the same way mainlanders see Hawaii, it's just so different from their norm that it's a nice change of pace.
I was told something similar on Oahu when I was there on business once. I asked some police I was working with, half jokingly, where Hawaiians go on vacation. They both replied immediately in unison, “Las Vegas”. It’s apparently just a given.
1 Las Vegas is heavily promoted and discounted in Hawaii. Flights are short and inexpensive. Hotels are also inexpensive.
2 Many locals have "family" or relatives or friends that live in Vegas (inexpensive homes compared to Hawaii) and/or children that attend school there. Given the "hanai" concept of (anyone can be extended family) and "Aloha Spirit", that means a million reasons to go there and "know" people and the familiarity of shared island culture.
3 Weather and dress code (none. . . shorts and slippers are fine). Most locals do not want to be cold, the one's that do go to Reno in the winter.
4 Because of Hawaii's UHCOL (ultra high cost of living), nearly everything in Vegas is affordable.
5 Oahu has between 800k and more on one tiny island with terrible congestion, etc. So, it's nice to get away and take a break from it all without breaking the bank.
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Sandtrap
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Re: Island life?

Post by Sandtrap » Thu May 09, 2019 9:22 am

Pacific wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 2:45 am
Nicolas wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 9:06 am
The last time we visited Hawaii I thought it was comical when I saw a contest being advertised where the prize was a trip to Las Vegas. Why would anyone want to win that when they’re already in paradise?
You "visited" Hawaii. I "visit" Hawaii numerous times a year. It is a wonderful place to visit and has, for most of the year, fantastic weather, but I would NEVER live there. Corruption that would put states like New Jersey to shame. Traffic that would put any big city to shame. HCOL. High crime. Unexpected racism. Many many things that you do not see by visiting.
Yes.
Unfortunately the island of Oahu nowadays is not what it was decades ago.
However, the outer islands are wonderful.
UHCOL (ultra high cost of living).
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ThankYouJack
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Re: Island life?

Post by ThankYouJack » Thu May 09, 2019 4:52 pm

I've spent some summers in Hawaii. Definitely a different vibe and culture than the mainland but something I could totally get used to if I wasn't working.

The weather is amazing especially the ocean temp. Some variation is nice, but definitely better than any other state IMO.

The beaches are world class. But after months they start to loose their luster if you go to the same beaches everyday. Still can't complain.

The sun is brutal. UV index is way up there to the point where if I missed any spot of sunscreen I would get sunburnt in that spot within an hour or two. We could usually tell the vacationers by the people who were pale as just arriving and the people who were sunburnt as a lobster as they were near the end of their trip. When I returned my girlfriend different recognize me because she said it was like I was a different race - even my hair was much lighter. Skin cancer would be a slight concern if I lived out there permanently.


Anyway, I love warm weather, outdoor activities, especially water ones and think wintering in Hawaii would be ideal. Or spending 3-6 months a year there. I just need to figure out how to do that with a young family and job! :)

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Re: Island life?

Post by ThankYouJack » Thu May 09, 2019 5:07 pm

Sandtrap wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 9:22 am
Yes.
Unfortunately the island of Oahu nowadays is not what it was decades ago.
However, the outer islands are wonderful.
UHCOL (ultra high cost of living).
Still seems quite a bit lower than another place I've lived and would love to eventually move back (Santa Barbara).

https://www.bestplaces.net/cost-of-livi ... a-ca/50000

Both amazing places - I need to keep saving to make the dream come true! :)

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Re: Island life?

Post by michaeljc70 » Thu May 09, 2019 6:37 pm

My brother lives in the Keys. It is great if you get tired of things because you get to replace them every few years when a big hurricane comes through. His house is built up to on "stilts" (they are concrete). Sometimes they finish replacing everything before it is destroyed again :oops: . In all seriousness, they love it. Not for me. I don't think if it were for government subsidies they would be able to afford it (the insurance). After the last big hurricane FEMA was there giving them all kinds of free stuff.

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Re: Island life?

Post by WhyNotUs » Thu May 09, 2019 11:13 pm

Not retired but lived in HI for a while and owned a farm there for more than a decade. You either get the culture or you probably won't have that much fun. It is expensive and there are plenty of obstacles to ease. Also a tough place for families unless you have big $$. I never had island fever but saw it in others and know that it was real.

Keys are somewhat easier in that you are not thousands of miles into the Pacific and the culture is only mildly distinct. You can hop in the car to Miami on a whim from northern Keys and have access to cheap flights too. Friends spend winters there and we visit, it is nice but Hawaii has a heart connection for me that FL does not.

To each his/her own.
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Re: Island life?

Post by mrspock » Fri May 10, 2019 2:37 am

bligh wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 11:50 am
Everyone enjoys different things and most things can get monotonous, frustrating and boring after a while. The way I approach these types of things is to make 1 or 2 years plans to experience something. At the end of the 1 or 2 years you decide if you want 1 or 2 more years of this or if you have an itch to do something else. You might be craving the island life simply because what you have right now is different from it. You might start craving city life after having lived on an island for a year or two, or you may find that this is what you had always wanted your entire life! Decisions do not have to be permanent. Keep your options open.
Very true, my ideal setup is to have two places. But the cities I like are a bit expensive :/ . I actually live in a west coast beach town, but it doesn’t really have the island vibe here... just a beach vibe.

So far Port Douglas in Australia has been my absolute favorite spot, but it’s not super practical for an option, the Florida Keys come second as I do like you can drive to the mainland, and the general laid back, non-commercial vibe down there. Hawaii my jury is still out... I need to visit more and for longer. I do like it’s a short trip over to Australia, good vibe, less chance of hurricanes (I think?) and just plain gorgeous but it’s pretty remote.

Maybe I’ll do some multi-month stints and see how I like things in various places.

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