Although I've never lived in a tropical paradise full time, I've certainly traveled extensively and spent considerable time abroad visiting family members––when I was younger, I'd spend entire summers away––so I know what it's like to be in a place like that and what to expect.
But people who live in more temperate climates don't. They think it'll be sunshine and beauty 24/7. And while the sunshine is certainly a plus, they're bound to be knocked flat on their butts if they had to deal with torrential rain or other inclement weather. Oh, and did I mention the bugs? They're enormous. And terrifying, to say the least.
After Redditor redditindisguise asked the online community, "People who live in a tropical paradise that folks often daydream about, what are some things about living in this climate year-round that aren't so dreamy?" people shared their stories.
Here's an exhaustive list to start.
Ex-Hawaiian (the Big Island) here. Windward (rainy) side fun...
LFAs (Little Fire Ants). These are NOT the fire ants you see on the mainland. They are invasive little gold abominations that nest in trees and fall out and land on you and begin their incredible painful bites. Will also partially blind your pets by biting them in the eyes.
Rats. You live in a jungle, you got rats. Even if you can keep them out of your house, they love to gnaw on your car's electrical wiring.
Rat Lungworm disease. You don't want to know.
Termites. Swarms a couple of times a year. Will emerge in your house at night, drop their wings, and become horny little worms.
"False" Blister Bugs. Insanely attracted to light, will find a way in your house at night and fly up to the ceiling lighting fixtures, then clumsily drop onto you at random. Don't swat them; that's when the "blister" part happens.
Coqui frogs. Chirp "Co-KEE!" all night. Cute in their native Puerto Rico; deafening as an invasive species in a tropical jungle, where upwards of 10,000 per acre will screech for sex partners. You have to turn your TV's volume up at night. You can hear them driving down the highway if your windows are down.
Dengue fever. Usually not fatal.
Jungle Rot. Any exposed wood will not withstand 150 inches/year of rain and humidity. Water seal is ineffective. Paint constantly or replace your deck/stairs every few years.
Plus, the usual: cockroaches, mosquitos (see Fever, Dengue), humidity, and hurricanes.
All that said, we would still be happily living there if we lived on the leeward (dry) side, which has very few of these issues. But, we couldn't really afford it there; houses start at around $700K.
Well, that was traumatizing.
Still unconvinced? Still want to venture into tropical paradise? Let's continue.
"Your appliances burning out..."
Power going out all the time despite the $1000+ you pay for utilities in a home only 2 people live in. Your appliances burning out and needing to be replaced due to the frequent power surges. The groceries and gas being extremely expensive. Just the general high cost of living.
"The omnipresent mold..."
The omnipresent mold that loooves humidity.
"I'm talking about..."
It's hot. I am not talking about your garden variety kind of hot, I am talking about a searing, humid miasma of what it must feel like inside the mouth of a dog. It's awful.
"It's only a tropical paradise..."
It's only a tropical paradise half the year. The other half is unbearably hot, humid, and rainy.
"The chain on our garage door opener..."
The cost of living is insanely high due to limited space, a lot of homes being bought as vacation homes, and everything needing to be imported. Traffic's awful because it's a small island with a moderate population but tons of tourists (the pandemic has done wonderful things for traffic but decimated our economy). Salt air from the ocean makes any metal rust incredibly quickly, so if you scratch your car you have to get it fixed right away. The chain on our garage door opener also has to be replaced more often than usual. And, yeah, lots of bugs.
You are in a constant state of being between damp from sweat, and wet from rain. It's uncomfortable, and you cannot get away from it unless you are showering, swimming or are wealthy enough to afford powerful aircon. You are tired all the time because you can't sleep. Your clothes are always stained and literally rot off you from being constantly saturated in acids that are contained in your sweat. How's that for a start?
Still want to go a tropical island paradise?
Do you really? Think hard.
"It's also hard..."
I live in Hawaii. While it's so beautiful here it is also very easy to stop seeing it. You get focused on your daily life and stop taking advantage of the things that tourists come here to do. It's also hard because my friends are total homebodies and I prefer doing things outdoors with other people.
"Time passes weirdly..."
Former Hawaii resident, now Florida. Time passes weirdly without the pronounced seasons. I hate snow, but it is hard to get into the Christmas spirit without it (grew up in the PNW).
Also, the beach problem. When the beach is five minutes away, it's fun at first. But then you reach a point where you're like, "...it's five minutes away. I'll go another time. It's always there after all." And then suddenly it's been months and you haven't gone to the beach.
"Lived on an island..."
Lived on an island in Thailand for a while. It just gets really sticky all the time. Sometimes it feels like nothing ever fully dries. And of course, technology and infrastructure are way behind mainland standards.
Loved it anyway.
I'm not a fan of being buried under snow right now (hooray for living in the Northeast!) but some of that sounds awful, doesn't it? Why can't a happy medium exist? Now if only Southern California wasn't so prone to wildfires...
Have your own thoughts after living in a tropical locale? Sound off in the comments below!
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