Friday, March 2, 2018


"J" is considering moving to a tropical region, so asked, "What have been some of the challenges of living and farming there?"

My, where do I begin? My blog covers most of the challenges we've had. But some I haven't covered so far, such as compromised medical care availability, lack of availability of certain goods and services, lack of selection of stores and services, lack of a variety of restaurants and good dining, lack of museums and "culture". Generally, it's a lack of selection that's the issue. Of course, that sense of lack is based upon my experience of growing up around Philadelphia, where everything is incredibly abundant. Gee, back there, within a 20 minute drive from home there were 4 giant shopping malls! But here on Big Island, the closest mall is 1 1/2 hours away (in a good traffic day) and is quite a bit smaller than any of the malls I had back in NJ. But lack of selection of goods can be solved via the modern Internet. has been a major relief for remote places like Hawaii and Alaska. Of course, larger goods have to be freighted in. Not much one can do about the poor selection of restaurants, other than learning to cook one's own. And we're worse off when it comes to lack of cultural venues. You just suck it up and live with it. Lack of services is a headache. Sometimes one has to wait for weeks or months for specialized services....especially in medical specialties. I hear that getting medical service is getting difficult in many parts of the US mainland too, so perhaps Hawaii isn't all that different, except we are made up of islands. Sometimes one has to fly to another island for a specialist. 

Our first challenge, while getting through the shock of moving, was adjusting to a new culture. Yes, Hawaii is part of the United States, but things work differently here. Adapting to a new way of thinking wasn't something I had anticipated. I should have, but I hadn't. 

Creating our house and farm was a major hurdle, but we knew that challenge was part of our new life. But what I hadn't really given enough thought to was the fact that our lifestyle would need to change so radically. It was difficult shedding our lifetime of habits and creating a new lifestyle. 

Learning to live as part of a community was something new for us. I love my community, but the whole concept was strange in the beginning. I learned that having friends is totally different from being part of a community. 

As for farming, there were lots of challenges, some of which are ongoing. Taking raw land and creating a farm and building a house involves passion, labor, and time. Learning to grow food and raise livestock in the tropics has been a challenge. It's quite different than on the mainland. Staying interested, willing to learn, and flexible are important. I've been at this for ever a decade and I'm still learning new stuff, seeing new pests & diseases I haven't had before, dealing with new problems. 

Changing our diet was another big adjustment. We went from being primarily commercial food eaters and daily customers at restaurant/prepared food primarily homegrown and local foods. 

There are challenges with every relocation one makes, but Hawaii added the factors of physical isolation, tropical climate, and cultural differences into the equation. We met those challenges and made the move. No regrets! 

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