95% Paradise

Someone asked me the other day if there was anything I didn’t like about living on Kaua’i. Didn’t I miss all the shopping opportunities I’d find elsewhere, not just for clothing and such, but places likeWhole Foods and Trader Joe’s? Didn’t I miss all the restaurants, coffee places, etc. that I’d enjoyed back in Portland?

The answer was no, I didn’t miss those things (well, I do miss Trader Joe’s still, but just a little). Our move here has been a very positive experience for us, and we’ve adjusted well to island life. Kaua’i is home.

But surely, my friend asked, there must be something that bugs you?

I couldn’t think of anything on the spot, but after some reflection came up with two things that make my life here just a tiny bit less than ideal:

  • After three years here I am no closer to adapting to the humidity than I was when we arrived. My skin loves it, but the rest of my body doesn’t, and I dislike the way I feel overall when the humidity climbs, which along with feeling like a wet, sticky mess sometime includes occasional  headaches. I know air conditioning would take care of it, but we don’t feel like putting an air conditioner into a rental property, or paying the electric bill that would result from running it. I’ve developed some tricks for staying cool(er) and more comfortable, but overall I still really dislike the humidity.
  • I’m often frustrated that we have to get in our car to go anywhere around here. Compared to Portland ,where it was very walkable, it’s not so easy here. There are few sidewalks, and unless we wanted to live in what’s a tsunami-warning zone (we don’t), houses are typically located far enough from the commercial areas to make walking an unpleasant chore, not counting the heat and humidity. Just walking up to the main road from our house can turn into an adventure, with cars speeding close by. Brett and I had dreamed of living somewhere after retirement where we could walk to our favorite coffee shop every day, but that’s just not possible here. I’m very grateful for the beach path, even though we have to get in our car to get to it, and I have to admit it’s nice to be in the car at times with the air-conditioning.

And that’s all I could come up with. I also don’t care for the big toads here, but am willing to put up with their occasional appearance in our yard in exchange for living in a place that has no snakes.

So no, life on Kaua’i isn’t perfect, but it’s practically perfect for me!


11 thoughts on “95% Paradise

  1. I don’t know what place would be paradise for me. I don’t think I would like your wild chickens/roosters, but that’s a small quibble! We have the humidity here too – but cool weather, more like Pacific Northwest.


    1. The wild chickens and roosters are a pain, but they don’t make me as crazy as other things. As long as they’re not screeching, or tearing up things we’ve planted, they’re pretty interesting to watch. And, some of the roosters are drop dead gorgeous!


  2. I love Hawaii (all the islands I’ve been to) but I don’t know if I could live there mainly because of the distance from the mainland. If I lived in Hawaii and all my family were 10 hours away, I know I’d hardly ever see them, so for me, that would be the #1 thing I wouldn’t like. But if I were to live in Hawaii, I’d probably pick Oahu because that island has the best of both worlds (urban and rural). I liked Kauai the one time I was there, but it is a little too rural for me. Same with the Big Island. I was only on Maui a few days so I’d need to go back there again to determine.

    I don’t know how big your current home is, but you could get a portable air conditioner. That way, you could bring it with you if you move again. You don’t have to install it in the window and can move it around to use in any room very easily. They sell them at Costco. I have one I use downstairs in my house and have been very happy with it.


    1. The distance from the mainland may be a problem once all the girls are over there for college and/or end up settling there. But that’s something to think about in the future, and for now we love it here.

      We looked at the portable air conditioners, and I know people who have them and are happy with them, but they still need to be vented, at least the ones we’ve seen, and our landlord does not want us cutting a hole in the screens, which is how it would need to be done. If there’s one that doesn’t need to be vented, we haven’t seen it.

      Oahu just has too much traffic for our taste. More store, yes, but I couldn’t deal with having to spend so much time on the highway, stuck in traffic.

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      1. The portable A/C I have needs to be vented, but I don’t have to cut a hole in the screen at all. The vent is on the inside of the window and the screen is on the outside. I guess it depends on the type of windows you have.

        I agree about the traffic on Oahu, but I always time it so I am driving during off-peak hours and I haven’t had any problems. If I lived and worked at a 9-5 job, I’m sure that would be difficult unless I lived in Honolulu, which I hear is very expensive. But I love Hawaii and agree it’s at least 95% paradise (probably more like 98%!). If I could afford to live there and could deal with being so far from family, I would do it!


      2. For our style of windows we would have to vent outside, and it would require us to cut the screens :(.

        We have traffic here on Kaua’i – we do not go through Kapa’a in the late afternoon! Even the bypass slows down.


      3. Oh yes, we got stuck in the traffic in Kapa’a. The hotel we were staying at was near there so we didn’t have a choice, but after getting stuck there once we made sure we didn’t drive through there in the late afternoon again.


  3. Well, if those are your only two complaints, I can say I have those two problems in our corner of the Midwest (humidity is seasonal, of course) and I don’t have your weather or scenery. 🙂 So you’re right! Not so bad. 🙂

    It’s tough to find some place that has everything, and I think 95% is stellar.


    1. The humidity in the Midwest is worse than it is here, and it’s worse than that in Florida and places on the east coast (I thought Maryland was the worse). And, all that humidity is child’s play compared to what they get during the summer in Japan. But, it comes and goes here. Yesterday was flat-out awful – you could have sliced the air with a knife, but today is lovely and not too bad. The summer we arrived, 2014, was particularly awful because the trade winds died off for a while, so hope we don’t ever get a repeat of that!

      I agree – no place is perfect, but this place is almost there for us.


  4. Laura, I was wondering whether you expect that most of your foreseeable health care needs can be handled on Kaua’i? I ask because a few years ago my brother had an accident while vacationing on the island. He slipped on some rocks at Ke’e Beach and fractured his skull. Because there was no neurosurgeon on Kaua’i, he had to be taken by emergency air ambulance to O’ahu and operated on in Honolulu. It didn’t occur to him that he could have an accident for which he would have to go to another island for specialist care.


    1. For now yes – it seems that most things can be covered here now, but we knew coming over that we might have to be med-evacuated to Oahu (Trippler Military Hospital) for some things. Actually, our son worries more about this than we do, at least for now – he would like to see us living in a less rural area, and be closer to things on Oahu. But for now we’re staying put.


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