Many people dream of living on a tropical island like we have for the past six years. But like everything in life, there are pros and cons. The biggest pros of living on an island for us is the simplicity of our lives and being so close to nature. The biggest cons are lack of access to good education and healthcare, which are undoubtedly very important factors when considering where to live.
There aren’t many kids Charlie and Olive’s age in our town because families with older kids often move away due to lack of access to good education. Some opt to homeschool, which is the route we’ve chosen, and luckily the pandemic opened up even more online education possibilities.
But there’s not much we can do about lack of access to good healthcare. We actually know very few people who got covid on our island because of strict entry requirements, and most everything is outdoors with open air flow. But recently several acquaintances died of covid on our island. One person in his 30s’s posted that he couldn’t afford oxygen on his social media and then passed away that afternoon. Patients that cannot afford specialty medical care will not get it on our island and even basic things like oxygen are in short supply. Even if you can afford it, the intensive interventions available in the US are just not available. After a decade of living on our island, a good friend recently made the difficult decision to move back to the United States due to lack of access to good healthcare. She misses it terribly, but doesn’t regret her decision.
I know there are flaws with the American healthcare system, but when I visit from the Philippines, I feel so lucky to have access to American healthcare. The kids were able to get covid vaccines. We were able to get boosters and free covid tests. Olive has a crippling phobia of doctors (largely due to an experience in the Philippines), but the bedside manner of our doctor when she broke her finger a couple years ago was beyond incredible. Yesterday my 79-year-old aunt, whom I am extremely close to, had emergency brain surgery in the midst of a raging covid surge, and she is ok. We are all in good health (knock on wood), but if any one of us had any serious healthcare issues, we would undoubtedly leave our island. Life everywhere has its pros and cons.