Our Little Piece of Somebody Else’s Idaho

by Nora Dunn on January 8, 2008

Well, as it so happens on the river of life, we are moving along in our travels and away from our little paradise. In our time here we learned a ton of stuff about ourselves and how to treat the environment better. For example, you won’t ever see us without a hot box or a timer on our fridge. We think twice every time we turn on the tap, and have learned to not only have cooler showers but much shorter ones at that (no need to leave the water running when you lather up)! We are enamored with the vastly superior quality offered by natural health food stores (believe it or not, Kelly is an organic peanut butter convert!), and we’ll be growing our own sprouts if not our own food wherever we settle long enough to do so.

Our diets are primarily vegetarian now, and we so thoroughly enjoy cooking with fresh fruits and vegetables that we would be hard pressed to walk away from a farmer’s market without armloads of produce. We have largely moved away from overly processed foods, and we expect to continue to cook healthy yet delicious and frugal meals from now on, seeing the huge difference it made in our bodies and metabolisms in even two months.

However, life in paradise wasn’t as wonderful as we had hoped it would be. The location was terribly remote, and after enduring an entire month straight of rain and no sun (no exaggeration – it made the papers here), we had reached new limits of cabin fever. What do you normally do on a cold cloudy or rainy day? Well, probably convalesce and enjoy a movie, or play on the computer, right? Well, without sun and consequently without power that was impossible, and we worked our way through more books and puzzles and card games than we thought we had it in us to endure.

Internet is also a very necessary evil for me, and without power, not only did I not have the ability to write or surf, but accessing the net became an exercise in trekking to town, a 1-2 hour adventure each way of hiking, biking, and hitching.

And braving the cold (yes, cold!), wind, and rain to enjoy the ocean anyway wasn’t even an option. The waves were treacherous, so fishing, swimming, snorkelling, and even coast-hiking was impossible. We actually felt trapped in paradise.

So while people at home endured ice and snow storms, we endured our own form of winter, without any of the comforts or conveniences we used to take for granted. We have often likened our experience here to that of backcountry camping; the biggest difference between camping and what we had here was that our tent was made of cement.

But one of the key things we have identified that we love about backcountry camping is the ability to go home!

After one particularly icky rain storm, we had no less than 12 containers set up to catch all the leaks!

After two entire months here in Hawaii, we haven’t made it more than 15 miles away from where we are due to the extreme remoteness of our location and inability to get around easily. As travelers, this isn’t acceptable! So we are off to tour around the Big Island and see more of what this beautiful oasis has to offer. Then, we’ll probably settle down somewhere on the (sunny) Kona side of the island to open the next chapter of our Hawaiian adventure.

In the meantime, we have said goodbye to Rick & Iris and the permaculture paradise of Popai, in search of a more balanced life of travel, writing, fishing, scuba diving, sunshine, and beaches. For the last two months, we thoroughly enjoyed our time here, carving out our little patch of somebody else’s Idaho.

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