Brett and I stopped at Starbucks on Monday to use the gift card we received for Christmas. As we sat outside in the sun to sip our drinks, I told Brett that I didn’t think I could ever leave Kaua’i; I love living here too much. He agreed and said he also couldn’t imagine ever living anywhere else. We both want to grow very, very old here.
- Aloha everywhere, every day: Aloha is more than just a word for hello and good-bye; it’s an expression of genuine love, friendship and compassion that comes from the heart. We experience aloha here every day, from the smiles we receive at the store, when we ‘talk story’ with a neighbor or even when someone stops on the busy highway to let us make our turn. We are still very much malahini (newcomers), and yet we are constantly rewarded with kindness and friendship like we’ve received no place else.
- Life is slower here: When you live in a place this beautiful, there’s no reason to rush through the day. If something can wait until tomorrow, you let it wait. If someone is standing in the middle of the aisle at the market to look things over, you stand and wait until they’re ready to move. There’s just no reason to hurry. A relaxed life has made for a much happier me.
- Yes, the weather is wonderful: We’re currently in the middle of “sweater weather” now – the last few evenings the temperature has dropped down to the lower 70s, and may even have gotten as low as 68°. We’re usually in the low 80s most of the year though. The sun shines almost every day, but even if it rains it’s still warm. There seems to be a brief hot, humid and miserable patch of weather during the late summer, but the trade winds eventually return and everything’s right again.
- It really is the Garden Island: Kaua’i is green. And lush. There are always flowers in bloom: plumeria, bougainvillea, heliconia, ginger, gardenias and many more. In the evenings you can sometimes smell the blossoms on the breeze. There is no gardening or farming ‘season’ because the growing season goes on year-round. I don’t think I will ever grow tired of palm trees.
- I see the ocean every day: It doesn’t matter whether I’m sitting on the beach, or walking along the rocky shore, or looking out at the distant horizon, or whether its color is deep blue, gray or turquoise: my soul fills with joy every time I see the ocean.
- The mountains are pretty spectacular as well: Kauai’s mountains are green, lush and imposing. After a rain, you can sometimes count a string of up to six or seven beautiful, long waterfalls cascading down their fronts!
- Sunrise, sunset: Awe-inspiring sunrises, and jaw dropping sunsets. Need I say more?
- Kaua’i is just the right size: I’ve never felt trapped here, even though Kaua’i is just a very tiny speck of land surrounded by the largest ocean on the planet. The main highway around the island is only 58 miles long, give or take, and mostly just two lanes, but we rarely have to venture more than 10 miles either direction from our home; everything we need or use is close by. A trip to the north or south shores, or to the west side is an excursion, and it’s sometimes hard to believe I’m still on the same island because the micro-climates and cultural vibe in those places are different from the east side where we live. The population of Kaua’i is only around 65,000, almost like a small town. It never feels crowded here.
- Eating local is a breeze: The weekly farmers’ markets here are amazing. Every week, all year, there’s a bounty of fresh-picked fruits and vegetables available for sale. And they’re cheap. Neighbors and friends often bring you fruit or other produce from their yard or garden. Locally-raised beef is also readily available and affordable, as is locally produced goat cheese. There’s usually someone in the neighborhood or set up by the road selling (or giving away) fresh-caught fish.
- Everything I need is available here: Or, if not, I can order it from Amazon Prime. Yes, the cost of living is higher here, but we planned for it before we moved and have adapted. I’ve yet to feel that I’m missing out on anything.
No one here cares what you look like or what you’re wearing. Age is respected. Your attitude is what matters most of all, not the house you live in or the car you drive. And, there is no place better to come home to than Kaua’i. Not just because it’s beautiful, but because I get to stay.