Living on an Island

Recently (in September, after the easiest person to help move left for school) my dad moved from the city to a small island in the Puget Sound. Where it’s nowhere near as remote as Nim’s Island (comment if you remember that movie), it is still very different than city life. For Thanksgiving break this week (a week off from school! Yay!) I am home and living with my dad in the building we called out cabin when I was growing up. Now it’s apparently the house.

At the time of writing this, I’ve been here less than 24 hours. In those 24 hours, more than 12 of them were without power. And about 6 of them without running water. I am in my ‘loft’ (it was amazing when I was 5, but now that I’m almost 21, it’s kinda small. I have a curtain for a door, and with the slanted roof, there are some spots I can’t even fully sit up. However, it is large enough to accommodate a full-sized mattress pad! But not a full mattress….) typing on my laptop with a flashlight set up to create a little bit of light.

Here are some of the things that are different for me than living in the city


Yes, this is a very millennial teenager-y thing to say, but it’s much harder when it comes to shopping. In the city, I was living within walking distance of the mall, which while it didn’t have much, it was a good hang out spot. It also had a Starbucks (I don’t even think there is one within a 30-minute drive here – off the island). For most of my childhood, it had 2! There was an American Eagle (my favorite brand of jeans) and a small little (cheap) boutique called Etiquette. Most of their stuff was even cheaper than the stuff at Forever 21!

There was a Bath and Body works, which, even though my skin is sensitive to their products so I can’t use them anymore, I still love walking in to get free smells. And the candles they sell there are AMAZING! The Red Robin was also a great meet-up spot. There was also another mall within a 30-minute drive that had an Apple store. I am an Apple fanatic. Ever since their first iPhone came out (and I learned how to use the internet) I would stalk their website for information on their products. I wanted an iPhone ever since they first came out!


A different branch of shopping is food shopping. There was a farmers market within walking distance on Saturdays, and a Trader Joe’s and QFC, again within walking distance. The QFC was also 24-hour, so when I needed to get food that my family didn’t have for Christmas (not on Christmas because of work schedules), I was able to run across the street (literally) and be back within 10 minutes.

Since I haven’t been living here, I am not sure how the food shopping is. My dad goes into the city once a week to play with an orchestra, so I believe he gets food then. There is also a QFC a 20-minute drive from the island.

One of the things I need to get while I’m here is a pair of jeans for chemistry lab. We are going to drive into another city tomorrow, but where we used to live it would have been so easy! And have taken less than the few hours it’ll take us to go there, shop, and get back.


Electricity and the Internet. The island barely has any internet connectivity, which is a good and a bad thing. It’s nice not to be sitting around watching YouTube all the time, but it would be nice to have that capability.

I believe in the 8 years we lived in the city, we only had 2 power outages, and they didn’t last for very long. There is a storm right now and the power has been out all day. We also don’t have running water anymore! And no hot water. No refrigerator. Barely any light. No heating system (although we have a wood stove). No water = no shower, no brushing your teeth (well, I could, but I wouldn’t be able to get the toothpaste off the brush afterward), no using the bathroom (at least not inside….), no washing your hands, no cooking, no coffee pot (my dad was complaining about this one), no drinking water (thankfully my water bottle still has a little water left), etc. I am very empathetic towards people in areas of the world that live this way all day every day.


Fire alarms! When living with other people (and with cheap technology that the apartment complex had), we had many many fire alarms. Very few fires, but many alarms. Here in the house, the only way the fire alarm will go off is if there is an actual fire. Several hundred households vs. 1 household. There is a lot less chance of it going off. Which is GREAT!


Garbage disposal. The last few times my dad has come to visit me at school, he has brought several bags of garbage with him in the car to dump at my school. In the apartment, we would just have to walk down the hall to the garbage disposal. The room it was in was disgusting because some people were too lazy to put their garbage in the chute, but it was still easy to dispose of stuff. Here we don’t have a garbage collection service. They wouldn’t even be able to get down our road!


We are composting! I sent several emails to the apartment complex asking to get compost, and they finally complied last year! However, they didn’t execute it very well, so it was extremely difficult to compost. But out here (in the woods) we can easily compost! And it creates less waste for my dad to drag out to the garbage dump.


Bugs. I am fine with bugs. They do a lot of good for us. Without the mosquitos, what would spiders have to eat! The bugs are all part of the ecosystem. I am fine with bugs. However, I am not fine when they invade my space. Bugs are supposed to live outside, not inside. Right now I see a cobweb on my (not on – no power!) string lights, and it’s bugging me! (no pun intended). When I was younger I also had a bunch of red carpenter ants that for some reason decided that my loft was the best place to be. I have never once since gotten into my loft without looking first. I can still feel the stings from when I sat down and the feeling of reaching for the light switch and not feeling smooth plastic but a layer of ants and their little legs crawling around.

My dad and I have spent a long time getting rid of all the spider webs all over in here. There are still more, and there are probably more spiders too. Alive and dead. I am just glad that since the house is in use all the time and not just as a cabin, there are no longer dead (and alive) spiders in the bathtub.


It’s QUIET here! I love it! In the city, we were always hearing construction noises and garbage trucks and sirens and people yelling at each other and getting drunk, and our neighbors playing the TV too loudly and getting too worked up over Football. Even in college, EVERY weekday there is always either a leaf blower or mower going, which you can hear from anywhere on campus. And the garbage trucks and sirens are just a thing to live with.

But out here we barely hear sirens! Because there are not that many people living on this island. We do live next to a state park, so there are occasionally loud people, but usually just in the summer months. There are no leaf blowers. The only mower that we can hear is when we go out and do the mowing ourselves. There is a little construction noise at the moment because there is a house going in next door, but compared to the city it is nothing. And since there are hardly any people, we don’t hear people yelling at each other!

So this was just a small list of the pros and cons that I’ve found about living on an island so far. Maybe after I’ve been here a little longer I’ll make a longer ‘Part 2’.

Comment down below which out of my list you’d like the most/the least!



4 thoughts on “Living on an Island

  1. Heidi J Sewall says:

    Being without power is tough for me. In the city (Woodinville, WA) I rarely lose power, and then only for a short time. I haven’t been inconvenienced by a power outage in many, many years. Lucky me! I like the power so I have heat, can cook, and can have hot water. Otherwise, I sort of like having it get dark early. It is fun to curl up in front of the fire and read a book, or just go to bed early.

Let me know what you think!