I never thought, in all my fantasies about travel and island living, I would be sitting here trying to decide if I want to live in Hawaii or Key West, yet here I am. Both islands have good and bad to them and trying to figger out which would be the more better way to go is going to be tough. While I have discussed the pros and cons of each island in the past, with both being on pretty much an equal footing, it now comes down to things like how do I want to live and what do I want to be able to do depending on where I am living.
As I mentioned before, should I return to Key West, it means more than likely boat living. No marinas this time, strictly the mooring field. Mainly due to costs and a general lack of affordable slips so whatever vessel I would get would have to be comfortable and able to handle the winds of winter. It also means getting a dinghy and the constant work of running back and forth from shore to get supplies. But, it also means $335 a month for rent. A big plus. And if the boat is in good enough shape, maybe making the occasional sail up the islands now and then.
On the other hand, if I am able to find something affordable out in Hawaii, be it Maui or the Big Island, it means a nice and secure place in good weather. However, it may also mean having to get a vehicle to get around. And dealing with landlords, leases, and such. Plus there is the added cost of food in the islands compared to Key West. It’s a big difference and factors heavily into my budget. I like to eat and don’t want to go back to subsistence food again.
To help, I’ve been running spreadsheets comparing costs and income for both scenarios. I pretty much know how much I got coming in each month, and I can guesstimate the expenses based on past experience. There will always be unexpected expenses of course but overall, I can project out which would be the more better and less expensive island to live on. As it is, all things being equal, either boat living in the Keys or some place on the Big Island comes out almost even.
I also factored in some future expenses, for example, my iPhone is starting to show it’s age. The aftermarket battery runs down quick and gets very hot. This means a new phone is coming up in the fall. I may also be living someplace without internet so it may involve adding a carrier with tethering to the mix. I can afford it, providing my rent and other expenses don’t go overboard.
Ideally, wherever I end up, I would like to be in a financial position with a positive income flow. It don’t have to be much, a few dollars every month, but it’s important as opposed to draining the savings down over time.
Then there is quality of life. I know Key West quite well and there is never a lack of stuff to do there. It’s easy to get around by foot, bike, or bus, and the waters are conducive to going out and having some fun. And for some reason, I feel more inspired to write when I am there. As for Hawaii, I never really got to enjoy all which Maui offered, mainly due to expenses. The room was nice, and I needed the time to recover and relax, but towards the end, I found myself wanting to go do stuff, but couldn’t afford it. I kinda sorta feel like I missed out on really enjoying the island. If I find a more cheaper place, mayhaps I can enjoy the pleasures of the islands a bit more without all the budget concerns.
In terms of residency, I have everything set up in Hawaii right now. Moving back to Florida would not be a big deal. Costs to change back over would be negligible. It would take a few months but I see no big hurdles. The only real issue might be health insurance. I got free insurance in Hawaii right now and Florida is not health insurance friendly, but then the entire government seems bent on letting us all die so it may not matter. The only thing to consider here is if I change back to a Florida resident, it’s highly unlikely I will be going back to Hawaii other than maybe for a couple weeks vacation, so I need to consider this decision very carefully.
While there is a lot to consider, at least I am not on any kind of deadline. I would like to get the hell out of here by the end of July if possible but if the right situation does not come up I can wait a bit longer, I hope. For the moment I have to wait for some financial things to settle. In the meantime I will continue to look at the ads for both islands, and see what comes up. Should be most interesting.