Still Adjusting…

I’ve been out here in the middle of the Pacific ocean now for 6 months.  It’s been quite the interesting experience suddenly living where everyone said I could not.  The weather continues to remain near constantly sunny and mild.  I haven’t been too cold nor too hot.  Have had no need for ac nor heat.  And I can wear the same old clothes everyday and not have to plan for anything else.

Looking north from Kahului towards the mountains before the vog moved in.

I haven’t been able to do any real island exploration yet, preferring to learn my way around, see how the expenses shake out, and generally get a feel for making this permanent.  After the hell of the past 2 years, I really just needed some peaceful tropical island living and Maui has delivered plenty.

There are plenty of places I want to go see here, and things I want to do.  But the bus only goes so far.  I’ll need either a bike or a vehicle to get more around and right now I’m not spending money on neither.

But, it’s not all paradise and rainbows…just kidding.  It totally is.  But, there are some things I am still dealing with.

Despite being here since last Sept. I am still operating on Eastern Standard time.  Try as I might, it’s been a big adjustment to living 5 hours behind what one is used too.  I find myself eating supper in the mid afternoon.  I go to bed early, sometimes around 9:00pm and wake up around 3:00 in the morning where I get on the computatator and do some stuff, as morning in the east there are things happening where I can make a few dollars.  I guess when one spends 61 ½ years living in one time zone, it’s not so easy to switch to another.  It’s not a big deal, just takes some adjusting.  When I go back to the mainland I suspect I will have some jet lag to deal with.

The other issue, and a bit more serious continues to be the cost of food.  I started to keep track of my spending at the beginning of this year and I found myself going way over budget on sustenance.  This included not just groceries but eating out.  I was going to the Moose every Sunday for football and enjoying a club soda along with a cheeseburger plate (cheapest item on the menu).  Still, it wound up being $17 each week with tip which adds up over time.  Now the season is over so I won’t be going back for the near future.  But overall, food is expensive and it’s becoming an issue.

I can find deals on a cut of meat, some vegetables and such for dinner.  But the extras are where the costs pile up.  A pound of butter is $7.  Same with a gallon of milk.  Forget about any ice cream.  Bread is also out of reach.  I enjoy good, fresh produce but again, it’s pricey.  Organics are popular out here along with local grown stuff, but damn, it all costs too much.  Used to was, I could walk into the grocerteria in Key West and walk out with enough food for a couple of days for under $20.  In fact, $10 a day was my food budget.  Not here.  It’s unpossible to walk out with a small bag full for under $20.

Bulk buying is very popular out here and you do save more better by buying in bulk.  But I am limited in what I can carry at any one time so it has not worked out for me so far.  I need to manage the food budget more better and still have room to go out and enjoy some of the good places to eat without breaking the bank.  Just takes some time I guess.

The one issue of course is rent.  I’m paying $800 for this room in this condo and it is every bit worth the price.  Utilities are included, got access to the kitchen, could not ask for a more better location, and I get along with the landlady.  But having something for just a $100 less a month would make a big difference.

I am working still online bringing in some cash through book sales, affiliate ads, some website work, and Amazon mTurk which used to be a decent money maker, but has really gone downhill lately.  I need to find some other income sources online and I am looking.  It won’t take much and I don’t need a whole lot but even a little bit more will make a difference.  Or I can start living on survival food.  Pretty cheap and given the current state of the country, may become necessary anyways.

Don’t get me wrong.  I am making enough to live on out here.  It would be just a bit more better if I was bringing in a little more, or cutting costs back a bit.

Which brings up this spring.  I still don’t know what will be happening come May.  I am assuming I will have to move out when the landlady’s son returns from school.  The question remains, what to do then?

Chances are pretty good, despite my aversion to doing so, I will be flying back to Pa. to spend some time with family.  This is with the assumption the country is not swallowed up in civil war or burning from nuclear fires.  Seriously…we are in a lot of trouble with the new corporate dictatorship.  But if I do fly back, it will only be for a month or so.  Come the middle of June I will go elsewhere.  Preferably back here to Hawaii assuming I can find a place to stay at least for the summer, with the plan to return here to the condo come Sept.  I could wind up on the Big Island which has more cheaper rents.  Oahu is probably out of the question or at least for a very short term.  I really have no desire to live in Honolulu thank you.  Just a big city.

I peruse the ads every week keeping an eye on any prospective places I can move to out here.  It’s a bit too early to plan but never hurts to look.  The one good thing is I’m not tied into any kind of lease in my current place.  As nice as it is and as well as we get along, I don’t have to come back here nor is the landlady obligated to bring me back.  I’ll just have to see how the rest of the spring and summer play out.

Going back to Florida for awhile is always in the mix.  I still haven’t become a Hawaiian citizen yet and I have plenty of time to decide.  One thing about Florida over Hawaii is it’s more cheaper for a retiree to live there.  Way fewer taxes and once you get out of the Keys, more options for cheaper rent.

Like I do for ads for places out here, I peruse the Florida ads for sailboats about once a week.  Hey!  You can take the captain out of the boat, but you can’t take the boat out of the captain.  Boat living could be a more cheaper option this time around.  Marinas north of West Palm Beach along the Intercoastal are cheap and live aboard friendly.  Going back to the Keys would mean living on the hook in Boot Key or the Key West mooring field.  $328 a month.  I’ve found some decent deals on boats and once I got the initial purchase out of the way, along with fixing the motor, new lines, haul out and painting the hull, new rigging, new interiors, insurance, dinghy, dinghy motor, new cannons, shot and powder, cutlasses, new swashes with buckles,  and Darwin knows what else, boat living could be a pretty cheap option.

But if I did go back on a boat, what happens when I return to Hawaii?  Can’t leave the boat tied up to a mooring ball nor at anchor.  It won’t be there when I get back.  I could put it on the hard in a boat yard but it would be cost prohibitive.  I go back on a boat, it would wind up being long term and it could be years before I got back out here.

Same if I went with an rv of some sort.  Plenty of places to stay in Florida, but not the Keys.  Then what to do with it when I leave.  Storage is expensive and not a good option.

I only mention Florida because despite how much I love it out here, I do on occasion, get homesick for the Keys.  It’s just I spent so many years trying to get there and when I did, and left, I regretted it.  So I went back.  And left again.  I don’t regret it, given where I am now, it’s just a piece of me will always belong in the Keys, no matter where else I go.

Anyways, things could be worse, and they have been in the past.  At least I’m not dealing with drunken landlords, bedbugs, mortgage payments, dead end jobs, asshole bosses, nor crushing debt.

When your problems involve not much more than deciding on which island paradise you want to live, then life is pretty goddam good.

Capt. Fritter