I’ve been asked on more than one occasion if I or any of us in our family ever suffer from rock fever, or if we feel that we are trapped out here in the middle of the ocean on this tiny island, with absolutely no way to escape other than to get on an airplane.
Although rock fever is a very real phenomenon for some people, I can honestly say I’ve never experienced it, or any sort of “trapped” feeling since living here on Kaua’i. I love living here.
I couldn’t live anywhere where I couldn’t get in my car and drive whenever I wanted to get away, I’ve heard people say. But, when I’ve queried those same people about where they drive, or how far from home they typically go, many admit to never traveling more than a few miles away in their cars. If they do drive long distances it’s on the Interstate, with stops at brand-name hotels and restaurants along the way. Many people opt to fly if they’re traveling any distance, which is exactly what we do whenever we want to get away.
Don’t get me wrong – I enjoy road trips. I traveled all over the U.S. as a child, and Brett and I have driven across the mainland more than a few times, from the east coast to the west for change of duty station moves, with loads of sightseeing included along the way. We’ve taken to the road to visit family, or attend special occasions like graduations and weddings, and we’re looking forward to a couple of road trips on the mainland in the future. But, the reality is that most of the time we stayed pretty close to home, no matter where we lived, with our longest drives typically things like an occasional 80-mile trip out to the coast when we lived in Portland, or down to the campground for our annual camping trip, or up to Miami a few times when we were stationed Key West, or to Washington, D.C. when we lived in Maryland.
Rock fever is a frame of mind where one convince oneself that they need to be able to get in their car and escape from wherever they are. Here on Kaua’i though I can escape to someplace different simply by driving to the end of the road on the west side, with its different climate and lifestyle than what we experience here on the east side. The same is true whenever we head to the north shore. Each part of the island enjoys its own microclimate, and driving 20 miles to north or south provides the same change in scenery and temperatures that the 173-mile, three- to four-hour car trip to the campground did back in Oregon. Daily driving distances here are shorter overall, and after living here for a while and adjusting to those distances, a trip of more than 20 miles or more takes on a similar feel to long-distance journeys back on the mainland. We know if we do feel a need to go further we can get on one of the many flights that leave Lihue each day for the other islands. It might not be as inexpensive as driving, but it’s still very doable. Each Hawaiian island has its own unique climate, culture and sights to see. Kaua’i is not like Oahu which is not like Maui which is not like the Big Island and so forth. Adventure awaits!
Rather than feeling trapped, seeing the ocean every day, and looking out to the horizon gives me a feeling of great freedom. I wonder about what lies beyond the horizon, of the places I might visit, the cultures I might experience, the foods I could try. There’s a world out there beckoning me to explore it. In the meantime, I get to live in one of the most beautiful, friendly places on earth.
Rock fever? Not me. Besides, how can I feel trapped when I’m surrounded by all of this?