This says it all about our lives on Ometepe Island. We want the best of all worlds. How does one decide to stay or go? Is it possible to have Gypsytoes and Stickytoes together? If so, how does that work?
Here are some of our considerations in deciding to stay or go.
In 2016, we traveled to Colombia, Fiji, New Zealand, Las Vegas, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania. We accounted for all of our expenses and income for 2016, and we actually saved money and came out ahead when we balanced income vs expenses. We own two homes, we have no mortgages and no expenses for our home in the states. Our trusted friends live in our house, collect our mail, and they even took care of our old cat, Tokyo, until she passed away this year. The small amount of rent goes into a special account which we use to pay our property taxes, rental insurance, and for repairs on the house.
If we were to sell our house on Ometepe Island, we would be free to travel the world, but it would come with a price. We would continue to live only on our monthly income, and try not to dip into our savings, yet it would be difficult because we would have to pay a monthly rental fee, which we don’t have to now. Traveling is expensive. We aren’t backpackers anymore, and we like to stay in Airbnbs throughout the world. It is doable, but will take some work to stay within our budget.
The older we get, the harder it is for us to live in a tropical climate year-round. The rainy season brings toxic mold, mosquitoes, and all those nasty tropical diseases. The dry season brings the oppressive heat, the wind, and the bone-drying dust that infiltrates every nook and cranny, even in our bodies.
We try to escape during the worst of the dry season. But if we can’t run away, we have our plunge pool and lots of fans. We sweat just getting out of bed in the morning, but we’ve gotten used to it and hide out in the house with the windows and doors closed to keep it a little cooler.
We spent the month of April in the mountains in Mexico this year. Sleeping on top of mattress warmers and snuggled under blankets was heaven. But, living there full-time, I would get tired of the wet and cold winters. As much as I dislike extreme heat, I wouldn’t want extreme cold, either.
Of course, we could move constantly to avoid the extreme weather, or we could take frequent vacations from Ometepe which require reliable house sitters.
House sitters, renters, or new home owners?
We’ve explored these options and have had many experiences with house sitters. Most of the time we have been very fortunate to have wonderful house sitters. Yet, occasionally, we get some doozies and that’s where the problems start! That is when I want to sell because sometimes it takes several months to fix the problems that occur after we return!
Plus, I feel like we are in maintenance mode, now. For 50 days in a row, after we returned in June, something broke everyday. Our internet tower was struck by lightning and blew out our router, we had leaks in our roof from huge downpours, our dune buggy broke down at least every other day, my iPhone died, the electricity from the mainland wrecked havoc with my electrical appliances because of the surges and brownouts…you get the picture, right?
We could rent our house and hire a property manager. That seems like a good option, but then again, I don’t want to deal with the hassles when problems occur…and they always do.
Another option would be to build a little house for like-minded people or a permanent caretaker. I really like this idea! But it entails finding the right people. That may not be so easy to do. The cost of building a small house wouldn’t be much and a caretaker could always be available to watch our house and pets when we traveled. I like the idea of a little boomer community, too where we could live inexpensively, yet share in the responsibilities of the gardening, and watching each other’s homes and pets when we travel.
I have made one decision! I am keeping my library whether we stay or leave. Maxwell, my librarian will graduate with a degree in English this year. I couldn’t ask for a better or more responsible person to run the library. He recently got married, and professional jobs are very difficult to find on Ometepe Island.
If we leave, I will set up a bank account for him where I can transfer money into his account for his pay and the library. If I need money or supplies, I can always have a fundraiser and Maxwell has been such a loyal employee. The tiny elementary school needs him!
Making life altering decisions of whether to stay or leave are never easy. Yet, it has forced me to clean out my house, recycle clothes and electronics, do house repairs, paint, and give away lots of things I do not need. It has been good for us to look toward the future. We are very fortunate that we have many options and have recognized the importance of not burning any bridges from our former lives.
If we decide to sell, we know it won’t happen fast, so we will continue to live our peaceful and simple lives here until that day comes. Meanwhile, we are planning our next trip to Uruguay and Argentina for next March. We will be looking for an adventurous couple to house sit for us on our island of peace. Let me know if you are interested.
Gypsytoes or Stickytoes? Is it possible to have both? What do you think?