I have spent my life moving around. As a child it was not my choice. As an adult, sometimes I have moved for a specific school or job or to be with good friends or significant others. Sometimes it is a case of searching for something missing where I am.
I am nearing the end of a 2 week family vacation in Hawaii to visit my dad. It is a very unfair comparison – Alaska right now is cold and snowy, and I am too embroiled, while there, with work and school and child raising and apartment greening to get out and enjoy it much. Here I have nothing better to do than suit up the kid and head down to the beach. The last time I lived in Hawaii (the year my son was born) I ran screaming at the end of that year back to Alaska – back to my friends and paying jobs and cooler temperatures – it was sweaty work carrying a chubby infant constantly against your skin! Ants swarmed to the milk stains on my nursing shirts. We lived miles from the stores and I hated all the driving, but didn’t have the energy to bike up the steep hill with the baby in the trailer. We were desperately poor and that led to some extra relationship tension. I was a new, stay at home mom and found it hard to make friends with other moms – I attempted to go to one Le Leche league meeting before my son was born, and the meeting place had moved – I didn’t know where. Of course, as we prepared to head back home to Alaska, I finally found Le Leche League and started to form friendships, Gil was offered additional work by the neighbor and had worked his way into the county lifeguarding business. But still, I was very relieved to be back in Alaska.
The thing is, Hawaii is so much easier to be green in. Temperatures are so reasonable that the need for insulation, heating, cooling, etc is pretty much nil in most places. Fruit and nuts and veggies grow year round and are widely available even if you don’t grow them. The big Island has developed geothermal power. Solar hot water works year round, and could be unassisited by back-up heating methods – but then, who needs hot water anyway! Solar cooking would also be viable here year round. I am sorely tempted!
Land prices are high, and jobs are fairly scarce. I prefer the big island, but volcanic eruptions keep you a bit on your feet, and vog is killing crops. Bus service in Hilo isn’t that great, at least last time I was there (my dad lives in Honolulu and bus service is excellent – you can go almost anywhere on the island easily!) But I am ruminating on it. I don’t want to keep moving my whole life – that is unsustainable. I’d have to learn a whole new set of gardening/growing skills. I’d have to leave behind friends so good they are like family, an excellent job with a great company, and I may be no more happy that the last time I tried to live in Hawaii. We’ll see. I don’t see myself leaving Alaska for the next 5 years, at least, and I rarely can accurately predict or plan for longer than that ahead!