Da Simple Life, Da Island Life

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This post about discovering the island life in Hawaii was originally published in 2007. It has since been updated for accuracy of links and content. 

It appears that we have nailed down the next step to our adventure; and it takes us to (of all places) Hawaii! Island life will be ours.

You may recognize that Hawaii is out of left field for us, since our original initial destination was Costa Rica and Latin America in general. Well, dear reader, read on!

One of our research tools in searching for free accommodation opportunities has been the Caretaker’s Gazette. It is a classified system that connects people who need places to stay with people who need their places cared for in one fashion or another. Some listings are for house & pet-sitting during vacations, to required ranch hands, to managing hospitality properties, to agricultural properties, etc. The common theme to all listings is that in return for whatever the required chores or duties are to care for the place, you have a place to live. Sometimes it is temporary, sometimes permanent or semi-permanent arrangements.

Caretaking as a lifestyle often appeals to people who aren’t tied to the idea of needing a permanent home (hmmm…..can you say “Professional Hobo“? Hello “Freedom 30”!), and want to have more free time to work on their arts, businesses, or nose-picking techniques.

We rarely gave any of the listings much notice for whatever reason…..

TEXAS: Couple required as Ranch Hands to care for 60acre ranch. Animal husbandry skills required. 2bdrm house provided, utilities incl. Extensive background check required.

ENGLAND: Housesitter required for the period of August 23rd thru Sept 14th inclusive. Care for poodle, who needs 3 walks/day, at least 4miles. 2 friendly cats also to care for. Furnished condo with all the amenities provided.

….and so it goes, as an example.

However, after reading one particular listing for a position in Hawaii, I was strangely enthralled.

CO-CARETAKERS WANTED for a Big Island of Hawaii, 76 acre, beachfront, sustainable homestead/land trust in sunny Kapoho.Ecological, health conscious, drug free, responsible, energetic,fit, stable couple (age 20-40’s) wanted to co-caretake an offgrid (solar and wind) educational living project, that supportsfair, responsible, sustainable, and healthy living. Work/tradein exchange for housing: 13 days per month, four hours per day.Involves feeding chickens, milking goats, coppicing nitrogenfixing trees for green manure and fodder, and gardenmaintenance. Stipend available for extra days. Six monthsminimum but ideally desire lifetime commitment. 20 foot ferrocement yurt shape or 20 x 40 foot wood house with panoramicocean views, rain water catchment, hot shower, stove,refrigerator, wireless internet, surfing four miles away,snorkeling 1½ miles. We share excess organic eggs, goatmilk (kefir, mozzarella cheese, feta, and yogurt) vegetables,and tropical fruits. Desire pet, child, and auto free. Countybus transportation is free.

I wasn’t sure exactly what appealed to me in the listing as it actually sounds somewhat gruelling, so I showed it to Kelly, who had the same confused enthralled reaction. Neither of us planned on Hawaii being our next destination, but something about the project spoke to us.

So of course one thing led to another to another, and now we have plans to be in Hawaii at the end of October to be Rick & Iris’s future co-caretakers! They are a couple whose mission is to leave as small a footprint on earth as possible. They achieve this by living completely off the grid, and providing most of their needs off the land, and recycling everything back to the land. Everything. We mean everything!

They need the caretakers half of each month to give themselves some extra time for work (Rick is a doctor and Iris is a nurse), and Rick is currently working on a book as well. We appreciate their views, and are inspired by what they have built so far.

There will certainly be a learning curve for us, as we aren’t accustomed to milking goats or growing our own food, but we’re up for the challenges that we know lay ahead. There is also a noble sense of accomplishment we have by knowing we will have sustainable living techniques under our belt, as we feel that our future travels will be well aided by these techniques, and the ability to teach them to others in need.

Not to mention the idea of working four hour days for half the month in exchange for a piece of simple paradise seems pretty sweet too! I look forward to using free time to work more on my writing, Kelly will work on his music, and both of us will work on hiking, surfing, snorkelling, bicycling, and our tans!

We are committing to a 6 month period, with the opportunity to extend our stay should we all find it is working well. Our intention is not to stay the rest of our lives in Hawaii, but we also don’t have anywhere we need to be, and have the absolute freedom to stay as long as we wish.

What happened to Costa Rica, you might ask? Well, as far as we have been led to believe, Central & South America will still be around for a while, and we are still quite drawn to these places. However, when opportunities like Hawaii present themselves, we are very proud of our ability to recognize them and have the flexibility to move on our instincts.

And although the plane tickets aren’t booked yet, we have no current reason to assume that this won’t transipre, and we’re really excited about living “da simple life” on a little piece of paradise.


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