Our Fifth Best Islands to Live On

It's summer again. Time for island expats to rattle the constructs of my life. You know, with insights ("The more you know, the less you need") that make me question everything. It's my fifth Best Islands to Live On campaign, my fifth year touting the merits of moving to an island ("Make a life, not a living") and my fifth year declaring how I'll soon be taking the plunge. Yet here I stand, five years in, still taking island toe dips from the mainland ("Just do it").

I'd feel ashamed, but my wife and I have made changes. We sold off lots of our belongings, downsized from a house to an apartment, and live in a neighborhood that raises eyebrows for, well, the wrong reasons. Our life has been condensed to its essentials. The rest? We really don't miss it. We do more with less and, strangely, doing so doesn't smack of compromise. Not when these efforts go toward our island dream life that sits on the horizon. And on the horizon is where it stays. There's excitement in that. We don't even know the "where" yet. One month we're thinking like Kiwis; the next we're into Kuna Indians. And we relish the debate, all while scrimping, saving and following tenets of life that target living, not stuff. "Forget all that prep. Just go!" We're close, but for now we love how our future life shapes our daily one. The anticipation, the way our vacations target specific islands — everything we do shares a goal. It's enough to make me wonder if the "shopping" for an island life trumps the "doing." Either way, it feels like a good way to live.