Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Living Rural in Hawaii

"R" asked me what are benefits and detriments of living out in the country, living rural in my location in Hawaii. So here it goes. This is what comes to mind. 

The benefits I get from living rural:

...Elbow room. I don't have to live right up against my neighbor. In the past I've lived in a row home. I also lived in a small one room apartment. Neither experience was pleasant as far as I am concerned. Give me space! 
...Escape from human noise. City life was nothing but human generated noise 24 hours a day. 
...Listening to nature sounds. "Noise" to a city dweller is night time crickets, morning bird song. To a county gal, they're soothing music. 
...Beautiful night skies full of billions of stars and an incredible Milky Way. One just doesn't get to see them when living in a city. Country night skies are amazing. 
...The ability to handpick fresh vegetables just before making dinner. The flavor can't be matched by any supermarket or even farmers market produce. Same goes for the fruits I grow. I just tried freshly picked cauliflower this past month for the first time and it was remarkable. 
...Being able to eat lots of chemical-free food that I've grown myself. I'm so off of chemical foods now that I don't feel all the well when I eat them. A fast food meal would make me feel poorly for hours. 
...Not breathing in vehicle exhaust and chemical laden dust. Ok...ok..ok...I breath in SO2 from the worst polluter in the USA, our erupting volcano. But I'd rather be around this than those weird toxic chemicals found in the cities. I once took a walk around a down big city on a drizzly day. I saw that I had red, splotchy chemical burns on my lower legs afterward. Yikes! 
...The view outside the windows. Flowers. Wildlife. Trees. Scenery. Nature. 
...Clean snow that's really white! As a kid growing up in the city, it took a while to realize that snow didn't naturally have a grey dusting on top. So noticed that I mentioned snow and I'm in Hawaii. Yeah, I don't get snow on my farm, but it does snow atop our mountains. And anyway, I used to live in places where it snowed each winter. 
...#1 for me : living a less stressful life. It's a slower, less complicated lifestyle in the countryside that I've come to prefer. 

The downside of living rural:

...Spotty Internet. I live beyond the area where cable Internet or broadcast signals exist. So it's either satellite, dial up, or cellphone connection Internet. I'm using a cellphone signal, and that tends to come and go. 
...Spotty cellphone coverage. It comes and goes, but at least I get it. 12 years ago I had to run around my driveway looking for that elusive sweet spot so that I could make a quick, very short phone call. It's a tad better now that we have a signal booster. 
...No cable TV in my area. That's just fine with me since I haven't watched TV since moving here, other than the occasional show over at a friend's house. 
...There are certain things that I can't buy without driving 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Things like shoes, socks, underwear. Thankfully there's Amazon Prime. 
...Services are often hours or days away. I can drive 2 hours to get most services and reach the government offices. But the appliance repairman may not be coming to my area for days. I'd just have to wait. In fact, one time my clotheswasher stopped working with a tub full of wet clothes. There was no way I could get the lid open. Those clothes were moldy and beyond saving by the time the repairman arrived. 
...Not much choice in restaurants, doctors, dentists, other service providers.
...Also not much choice of stores, no movie theaters, no live theaters, no night entertainment. 
...No night life. Well, not quite true. Night life is reading a book or browsing the Internet then going to bed by 9.... actually 8 in my case. 
...Roosters crowing and dogs barking, neither of which bothers me anymore. But they took some getting use to.
...More insects. I don't recall seeing much in the way of mosquitos or other insects when living in the city. Of course, insects are just a fact of life in the tropical countryside. I don't get hysterical if I pick up a can of something and discover that a monster sized cockroach was using it as a hiding place. And you know, ants don't taste all that bad afterall. 
...Owning a vehicle is almost mandatory out in the countryside. In cities, one can use buses, taxis, trains, and shuttles. Bicycles and scooters often satisfy some of the transportation need. When I left the city, I had to buy a car and earn more money to pay for maintenance, gasoline, insurance registration, etc. And if I took it to the city, then parking was not only expensive, but often challenging to find. Way out in the country, not having a vehicle simply isn't an option for me. While I'd love to have a horse and buggy, that isn't going to happen around here. 
...Hospital is far away. Around here, a super emergency means a very expensive helicopter ride of which insurance pays very little of the bill. When living real rural, one has to accept that there's no hospital within 20-30 minutes.
...And this is downside that really bugs me --- I'm far away from the agricultural courses and other events. Every event is at minimum of 1 1/2 hour drive away. Then there's that drive home afterward when it's dark and I'm tired. As a result I miss out on just about all of them. It has to be a really good event for me to put the effort out and be willing to pay for an overnight hotel stay and meals, the gas for the truck, and a caretaker to tend to my livestock until I get back home. And while the event may be advertised as being free, it costs me a bundle. 


  1. I stay Kalaupapa, so I TOTALLY understand what you're saying. Dinner out and a movie at a theater require AIRFARE, hotel, and car rental! See, there's not even a movie theater topside on the island and the restaurants are even limited. lol

  2. Excellent reasons to live rural there.
    I might also add it gives you a legitimate excuse to buy some fun toys, like a tractor, quad, ride on mower and dare I say air rifle.

  3. That sounds like a real good excuse to me, George!