Currently, I’m located in Krk, Croatia. And while this is a short-term living arrangement, there’s a good dose of things I’ve learned about the reality of living on an island.
I’ve always loved the idea of using my digital nomad lifestyle to live in a more remote area, for example, an island. And while I absolutely love this opportunity and suggest giving it a try when possible, there are more than several important things to remember before heading off.
First of all, make sure the internet will be available, especially, if you’re traveling as a digital nomad. And not only available but actually good. There’s something about islands that make the internet connection be pretty low…
Besides that, check out the transportation options. Many islands lack any kind of a public transport and the only way to get around is with the car, bike or walking. And, of course, using a ferry.
Here are some other things worth mentioning…
The reality of living on an island
This post includes my conclusions both from this and several other similar trips to islands all over Europe.
While all islands are different, I’m sure most of this will apply to many islands all over the world. So if you’re planning a long-term trip or moving to an island, give this a read!
THE REALITY OF LIVING ON AN ISLAND #1:
Most of what you need will be in a distance
I love the remoteness of the island living but it can also be a curse.
In most of the mainland cities, you’ll find it rather easy to go to the shop, which, most likely, will be in around 5-minute distance.
Even more often, there’s not only one but several shop options, on each of the following corners, all around you.
But living on an island can mean dealing with one small shop rather near and maybe (possibly and hopefully) another bigger shop in a great distance.
Besides shops, there are many other things you might need or want to enjoy that you’ll need to cross five thousand miles to get there (yes, it was a song reference, there are no islands five thousand miles big (just kidding (or am I?!))).
It can be a coworking space, coffee shop, bakery, pharmacy, hospital, clothing shop.
Of course, you can always get lucky and actually live nearby to all you might need. (You lucky bastard) But mostly it will take a good dose of planning to make anything you need happen.
THE REALITY OF LIVING ON AN ISLAND #2:
It can get expensive
First of all, many islands are tourist attractions. While you might feel like you’re going for the unknown, you can also get very surprised.
Before coming to Krk, I found almost no info for tourists online. What to see? What to do? No references. Which made me think that this will be very local, very remote place. Ha, ha, silly me.
And the fact of, possibly, many tourists being all over the place, makes all of the basic pricing raise like crazy. All restaurants, bars, shops, they all become a place for locals to get some additional income from tourists who’ve come to spend. After all, what the traveling is for if not spending money? RIGHT?!
The other part that makes island living more expensive is the simple fact of the exclusivity. I mean, if you have one shop for three villages, you can easily put on any prices you like – people have no other choice than going for them.
Once again, this will depend on the island, its location and the overall scenery. But if you’re not sure what awaits you, be prepared to open your wallet.
THE REALITY OF LIVING ON AN ISLAND #3:
Loving the sea is a must
Yes, there are bigger islands where you can easily escape the view of the sea but most of them still smell like it and everywhere you go will feel like the sea is just nearby (because it is).
The air smells different, the weather is more unpredictable. The sea is in control not only of your views but also of your whole life.
If you dislike sailing, you might never get on it in the first place… If there’s a storm – no escape. The electricity and the internet can disappear within a blink of an eye.
THE REALITY OF LIVING ON AN ISLAND #4:
It gets boring
I LOVE the sea. I love being lazy, when possible. I love living in small cities, meeting all the same people. I adore everything about living on an island.
But it can get VERY boring.
If you like to explore your surroundings and hike or just walk around as much as possible, living on an island can be very exciting for a week… maybe two. But eventually, you realize that you’ve seen and experienced it all.
My guess is that living on a small island can be exciting for a month, bearable for maybe a half year.
Even if you’re not much of an explorer, there are some other things that might get on your nerves way too soon: all the same things in that one shop you have available, the same coffee in your local coffee shop, that one and only bus route.
However, it is true that very often we live in places with many options all around us and we never take a chance… So don’t let this boringness factor to stop you from giving it a try!
THE REALITY OF LIVING ON AN ISLAND #5:
It’s dreamy. And it’s magnificent. And fantastic. But it’s also damn hard.
When there is no public transportation to get you places.
When you have to walk uphill for most of your destinations.
When it’s impossible to ride a bike.
Or walk. Because there are no sidewalks.
When there is no casualty of the city.
When everything is about BEING CHILL.
It’s damn hard to be chill all the time.
Should you say yes to an opportunity to live on an island? Absolutely! Especially, if you love living remotely, you don’t have tons of specific needs, you love nature and are willing to give it a go.