I guess I have two homes - one is my "hometown" which is on Oahu, and the other, of course, is here. I have lived on this property for nearly 16 years. This is the longest stretch of time I have ever lived in the same location, ever. My childhood and young adulthood was fairly peripatetic.
When I first drafted this post, I started to compare Kailua and the Big Island. In a lot of ways, Kailua has to win hands down. However, the median house price there is $800,000, if I kept a horse it would be at a stable at $500/month, and the lots are the size of postage stamps. You don't care, because there is the beach and all these other things to do, but growing food would be difficult.
Even after 16 years here, in a lot of ways I have more of a support system on Oahu. My parents are on Oahu. People I grew up with are there. Here people are either shy or unfriendly - most of my friends are from work. I know a lot of teens and young adults because I taught them or their siblings, but that's a different thing altogether. When I left my last school to come here, I left my social support network behind. It was hard.
But because I can have a house here, and enough land to make Oahu friends freak out (only 7.5 acres, but that's a lot there) and can have sheep and chickens and horses, it does make it worth it. When I first got here, I didn't understand the weather (Kailua is very easy to predict), the perpetual clouds were depressing. Now I find them beautiful and even comforting (when they aren't pissing down torrential rain for three months straight). It's cooler and greener here, the traffic is still minimal, and there is space. I can't hear my neighbors. My neighbors are nuts (I have some early posts about how they shot my dog and, even after a decade and a half, still won't wave at me), but their business is theirs and mine is mine.
I miss my parents and the beaches and seeing people I have known nearly my whole life. Even though I wouldn't want to pay the stable fees, I miss riding with other people. I even miss restaurants (there are some here, but it's sad) and social activities, although I am too busy to really do them. But I am so grateful for my land and my animals and my garden, even if it is a little defunct right now. I appreciate the soft clouds and humid but comfortable air on my mountain. I am even grateful for the Volcano - even though the vog is horrible when it comes our way and I tend to take the eruption for granted and rarely go see it. I love my new job and I love the friends I left at my old one. (I wish I could see them more often).
Sometimes, making steps to homestead, even a little, means losing other things. I think it is worth it. Particularly since my parents get to visit sometimes, and my daughter who moved away. My dad and stepmom, in fact, are on the island now and I get to see them tomorrow! Something to look forward to!