Forever Nomads (Well, Occasionally)

Illustration by Davide Bonazzi

The other day our son commented that while he thought we were crazy to come here four years ago he was happy things had turned out so well, especially for his sisters. He went on to let us know where he thought we should consider living once the Big Adventure ends, and why.

His comments and suggestions got us thinking about moving once again to a place we’ve never lived before and starting over. Brett and I have been asking ourselves for a while if we’re really willing to do that again, or would it just be safer/easier to come back to Kaua’i at the end of the Big Adventure. It’s been the hot topic of conversation between the two of us for several days now, and a more difficult question to answer than we imagined. But, we know our son has a unique perspective – he’s known us longer than anyone – and is watching us grow older in a different way than his sisters are, mainly because he’s older and at a different place in life than they are. We have been listening carefully to what he has to say this time and what he suggests and why.

Our experience on Kaua’i has been overwhelmingly positive, especially for our children. Both WenYu and YaYu blossomed here, and had many more opportunities to shine than they would have in their school back on the mainland. Their life back on the mainland would have also been far more competitive and materialistic than it’s been here, and life on Kaua’i has given each of them the opportunity to experience and absorb the concepts and ethics of aloha and ohana, which will stay with them always. Moving with the girls has made our experience here a better one for us.

Going forward though it’s pretty much just going to be Brett and me. Like everywhere else, Kaua’i is growing more expensive with the cost of living here climbing higher and higher. In the four years we’ve been here the changes are noticeable, and unfortunately more negative than not. We know the girls would visit us here over the holidays no matter what, but we realize those visits are going to be happening with less frequency as they each segue from college to working, marriage and perhaps children. Our son and family would also still visit, but those trips will be harder to make as their children grow older. We know that it will be easier for us to see the girls if we settle on the mainland, and it will be just as easy, and more likely, for our son and family to fly to the mainland as well.

After thinking about and discussing the points our son has made, and talking with each other about what we want going forward, Brett and I have decided we are willing to move somewhere new once again. We did it over and over when Brett was in the navy, we successfully made the move over here, and we feel we can do it once again. We’re still vagabonds at heart, and will forever be nomads of some sort, even if that’s only occasionally.

This past March I wrote about the things we would be looking for if we choose to settle in a new location including cost of living, taxes, walkability, culture, health care, travel & transportation, and weather. We’ve been looking at that list again this past week and have found that our priorities have changed a bit from when we first made the list. For example, walkability has moved up to the top of the list. We very much don’t want to own a car again if at all possible. In the four years we’ve lived here we’ve had to get in our car to go or do anything, and it’s gotten old. Although we love the slower lifestyle here on the island, we also frankly miss urban living. We ‘d like to be able to walk to buy groceries, visit parks, coffee shops or restaurants, and have access to more cultural events. Staying as mobile and active as possible is very important to both of us as we age further.

We have absolutely no regrets about coming to Kaua’i, and the past four years have been more wonderful than we dreamed. But, as much as we love our life here we realize it’s time again to try something different. We’ve sort of decided where we’ll go, and are at the beginning of planning for that. Travel will definitely remain part of the picture. Nothing is far enough along right now to announce anything, but you’ll all be some of the first to know when the time is right!


10 thoughts on “Forever Nomads (Well, Occasionally)

  1. Another adventure! I think that decision makes a lot of sense considering the travel required just to see family for all of you. I also understand the desire for urban living. I am a city person and although I would like to get away from the hustle and bustle of the big city from time to time, deep down, I know that, I cannot move to some small place even by the coast.


    1. Seeing our family as much as possible was (and is) the biggest factor driving our decision on where to settle. If not for family, Brett and I could and would happily stay here indefinitely, although I really dislike all the driving we have to do these days. The location we’ve decided on will be an adventure, but I think it’s going to be a very good fit for all of us.


  2. I understand. After nine moves in sixteen years, you would think we were done. When my husband retired we had built our “forever home” on five acres of pristine Flagstaff land. We planned it for three years and rented it out for two while we finished an overseas tour.
    We lived there for seven years, put our kids through school.The land and people changed. Jobs that paid a living wage dried up. We were tired of living to work.
    We moved to Kansas for a job. Seventeen acres of Kansas farm land- with a creek and everything. Amazing house.Seven more years- both of our oldest grandchildren were born nearby while their parents served in the military. But, they moved away. The jobs were no longer needed.Our nest egg was solid.
    And now we are in Delaware. We moved to help one of ours survive the “baby years”. She is through the worst. Taxes are low, we have beautiful gardens, hubby has a workshop.Three years- one tour? 🙂
    We are looking….. Maybe this time it will be for us? At 61 and 67, our kids are worried we will just keep moving. Maybe.
    Home is where you put up art (or lay your hat). I do not regret one move. It has been a crazy, wonderful life.


    1. We’ve made a home everywhere we’ve lived – we’ve never regretted a single one of our moves either. Portland was the longest we stayed in any one place – 22 years – but as our son put it the other day, “you two get restless after a while.” Moves and new locations have always been exciting for Brett and I, an adventure.

      We’ll probably end up eventually living near one of our kids, but we’re not there yet.


  3. As I said in my comment yesterday, I am sad that you’re leaving Kaua’i, but that may be for purely selfish reasons because I enjoyed living vicariously through your adventures there. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to live there and if I could do it, but as much as I love Hawaii, I think I’d feel too isolated there, so it will always be a place I’ll look forward to visiting. I think leaving makes perfect sense for you. With your kids all living in different places, you probably want to be in an area where it will be easier for them to visit.

    I’m going to guess you’re moving to either a large or medium sized city, and it has to have a Trader Joe’s!


    1. We’re genuinely sad to be leaving Kaua’i as well – this place has really worked its way into our hearts. If we didn’t have kids we’d stay here, but then again neither of us can imagine our lives without our kids. We want to be able to see them, and have the opportunity to get all of us together, and that eventually would be impossible here (it’s nearly impossible now).

      There will be a Trader Joe’s near us!! That was one of the first things we looked for location-wise: how far to a Trader Joe’s. There’s also a Target nearby – it’s the other store I’ve really missed here.


  4. Life is really just a series of adventures, so on to the next one for you two it appears!

    Hmm, someplace urban, walkable, offering mass transit and more affordable than Hawaii, and that you’ve never lived in. Boston is my first guess since you have a daughter there, soon to be two. Looking forward to finding out!

    Sad to learn it apparently won’t be San Clemente, though. That sure would have been fun! ☺


    1. Oh my, I would LOVE to be able to live in San Clemente again. Talk about having a place in my heart!

      We’re spending the summer in Portland after we finish the Big Adventure (so YaYu has a place to come to, and hopefully can find a job, and we can get together with old friends), but will move to our new location around the first of September. I’m genuinely excited – I think it’s going to be a very good fit for us!


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