Island Life

I grew up on a lake in rural Minnesota, spending June – August ensconced in an inner tube or paddling a canoe. The lake I grew up on is actually named “Farm Island Lake” because local farmers used to keep livestock on several of the lake’s islands to protect them from wolves.Of course, my friends and I were convinced that these islands had actually been created for our use. We loved to paddle out to the nearest island and poke around the raspberry patch, sun ourselves on the lawn outside the rarely used cabin and see what they were storing down their well. Awkwardly, the owners once showed up while we were doing this.

Since then, I’ve lived on two country/islands – Taiwan and New Zealand. I find it oddly comforting to live in a place that you can drive across in one day.

Do you live on an island? Would you want to?


Penny Dreadful

I have only ever lived on islands! In Australia growing up (though you couldn't really drive across it in one day…) and the UK now. Funny, I never think of either one as an island.

I love the idea of living on a tiny windswept island, drinking whisky while the rain batters the windows and scowling at the world.

Rachel @ Suburban Yogini

I too have only lived on islands, in the UK and Australia! Although to me having grown up on this tiny, freezing northern island that you can drive across in a day and 100miles makes a difference in the time of the sunset and the temperature, Australia didn't feel like an island to me!!

I don't think I could live anywhere landlocked…


yup, definitely. i live in little old new zealand, and have done so for all of my 20 years, save from two adventures to tonga and japan πŸ˜€

apparently something ridiculous like 95% of NZers live within 25kms of the beach, or maybe i am making up lies, i heard something like that on an ad once, but it is probably not the best idea to make a habit of trusting everything ads say… hmmm… in any case, the sea is CLOSE to pretty much everywhere, and i can't imagine living in a place without the sea nearby!! (aaaaggghhhh!!! panic!!!)

my favourite part of living on a country made up of islands is that when you fly domestically, from one city to another, you can see all of the country. you can see where it starts and where it stops; you can see that where you live is little and adorable, and the sea that leads to the rest of the world is so BIG – you can't help but thinking you live in an itty bitty slice of untouched paradise when it is cut off from everywhere else by water, while at the same time marvelling at how huge the world is compared to your wee islands.



I once had a boyfriend who lived on a small island — I had to take a ferry to visit him πŸ™‚ Once I got over, I could often hitchhike to his house if no one was available to pick me up (he didn't drive — first warning sign). It was quaint and nice, but I swore up and down I'd never live there. Too small, too many people up in your business.

However, an island like NZ? Yes, please! I have no problem with small countries. But if my island is small enough that I know most everyone else there, I'd prefer the island to be so small that my neighbors are mink or seals or fish.


Well, I grew up on Long Island and I intend to never go back! I lived on Oahu for 4 years and I wish every day that I could go back. There were definitely times when I missed being able to get in the car and drive somewhere entirely different, but at the same time I totally get where you're coming from. One of my favorite things to do was drive in a big circle around the whole island. (Well, around the east coast and up the middle, actually. But still.)
Now I live in Japan, on the island of Honshu. It's a MUCH bigger island, though! I rarely leave my little peninsula.


I live in Tasmania, which is the little island down the bottom of Australia. I love flying to Melbourne or Sydney and flying over the Bass Strait and up to the 'big island'. I'd love to live on a smaller island, though.

Karen Travels

I grew up vacationing in the 1000 Islands, on the St. Lawrence River between NY and Canada. I think the 2nd to last picture is from that area, perhaps??

Anyway, I loved when my dad boated around the islands with a single house on them – I would dream of owning my own little cottage on an island there!


Sounds like a true life Q&A–"I live (or lived) on a (tiny) island." Do it!

I worked on an island for 3 summers, taking a 20 minute ferry ride everyday to Madeline Island in Lake Superior (Wisconsin). So nostalgic for it.


I wouldn't mind living in Australia or NZ or even Long Island πŸ™‚ but my family and I visited Kelley's Island (off Lake Erie) last summer and I think it would be too small of an island to live on permenately. They do have some year round residents, but it would be very tough in the winter!


The photos and your childhood story make me think of Swallows and Amazons. I would love to live on an island for a while. πŸ™‚


I live in Puerto Rico, right next to the beach. You should come here sometime, Sarah. You'd like it!


I live on the Hawaiian Islands, Oahu in particular, but do enjoy island hopping on the weekends (when $$ and time permits). It's amazing how diverse each island is, and how much the people and nature vary from island to island. Makes for some awesome weekend getaways!


I've lived in Taiwan and NZ too! There's something about living on an island, and never being more than an hour from the water. I can't imagine anything else to be honest.


Yes I do! I live on the South Island in NZ. I love it and I want to live on a smaller island maybe Waiheke one day πŸ™‚


It must be one of those "grass is greener on the other side" things, because I was born and raised in Hawaii and have lived on these islands all my life… But I've always wanted to move to the "mainland" where I can road trip across the country! I would miss the beach, though πŸ™‚


Do I live on an island? Does Earth Island count? A blue planet in an ocean of blackness…

I would love to live in any of these places you've shared!


I was in Ireland and hot damn would I LOVE to live there (alas, the boyfriend's career and my health insurance require us to be in Los Angeles) ~ I've been to Australia but yeah, I'd suck up the cold for Ireland any day.


Love this poem:

If Once You Have Slept On An Island
If once you have slept on an island
You'll never be quite the same;
You may look as you looked the day before
And go by the same old name,

You may bustle about in street and shop
You may sit at home and sew,
But you'll see blue water and wheeling gulls
Wherever your feet may go.

You may chat with the neighbors of this and that
And close to your fire keep,
But you'll hear ship whistle and lighthouse bell
And tides beat through your sleep.

Oh! you won't know why and you can't say how
Such a change upon you came,
But once you have slept on an island,
You'll never be quite the same.

— Rachel Field


I lived briefly in Australia but never thought of it as an island. My parents live on a small island in the Canadian Gulf Islands, between Vancouver and Vancouver Island, and it's lovely but a bit remote for me for full-time living. The ferry dependence could get to me too… if they're not operating, you're not going anywhere.

The idea of my own island is very appealing, especially on a lake. So tucked away.


I just got back today from three weeks on Maui and the big island and I've decided I could NEVER live on an island, I'd get what the locals call "rock fever" in a matter of weeks.


I grew up on the peninsula of Nova Scotia, so I've always been close to the sea. Since then, my life has been drawing me to islands. I lived in Taiwan (though there were too many people and it was too congested a place for me to feel like it was an island!) and then next Turks and Caicos, which is tiny. It has a very small-town mentality, which I didn't like because of the gossip but did like because it meant meeting a lot of truly interesting people! One definite consensus amongst expats there was that you had to leave the island every 3-6 months, otherwise you'd get a sort of 'cabin fever' living in the secluded bubble of the life you've taken up. I'm now living in Mauritius – a much bigger island compared to TCI. You could drive around the coast of this island in a day vs 45 minutes one end to the other in Turks. It's so refreshing to just get in the car and drive and be in different surroundings! Overall, I don't think I'll ever live far from the ocean; I never really have. It's comforting to know that I'm surrounded by the sea. Whether it's an island or just near the ocean on the mainland, that's definitely what feels right.


I lived on Oahu for about 4 years and I don't think I'm cut out for island life. I love being able to get into a car and just drive to an unknown destination due East or West. Or even being able to buy a train ticket to nowheresville that is more than a couple of hours away in another state. I did get a lot of hiking and beach going done while I lived there, and I've lived in a lot of other places all over the US too. I'm glad to be in the middle now where I can explore in every direction.


Okay…I had read this post a while ago…and you mention you grew up in rural southern mn…so did i?? Makes me wonder if I know you. Either way I love your blog and follow it religiously.

Keep up the good work.

<3 M


I spent eight of my formative years in Taiwan, then moved to New Zealand πŸ˜€ Have also been to the US (albeit very briefly) Islands are awesome!


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