NEED TO KNOWS
1) You have to plan ahead. This means from everything to trying to schedule hair/doctor/dentist/grocery shopping/prescription pick up/lunch date/ etc. etc. on the same day, on the mainland, (if those services aren't offered on your island) to meal plans (so you know what groceries to stock up on) your life will revolve around ferry schedules, shorter operating hours for local businesses and lack of product/service availability where you live so you better make friends with your time management skills.
2) Seafood is almost free. You do need to make sure you have a fishing liscence to harvest crab, oysters and clams, and to fish for fresh or salt water creatures. There are limits on what you can catch and keep but the abundance of it here is amazing. If you do not like seafood, that's fine; us seafood lovers do not try to convert you weirdos...we prefer not to share.
3) You better like being outdoors. As on most of the westcoast islands, there is very little to do in terms of indoor entertainment, (other than the internet, movies, reading and excessive crafting). Having a love of the outdoors will greatly benefit your contentment with westcoast living. Whether it be hiking, biking, kayaking, sailing, boating, or just hanging out on the beach, there is no doubt that when you live on a west coast island there is way more to do outside than in.
4) People will talk about you. Make no mistake about it, in small communities people don't have a lot to do (see point #3) so even if your behaviour is squeaky clean, people will talk about you. Whether it's good or bad doesn't really matter, all that matters is that you develop a thick skin and get used to not caring so much about what other people (especially people that don't even know you) think. Don't take it personally, you're another subject on "Island CNN" just like everybody else.
5) There is probably no place more beautiful to live. When you realize that where you live may be frustrating at times but it is arguably one of the safest, most stunning, most amazing places on the planet to live...everything else seems immaterial. I once read a poem by Rachel Field that stuck in my heart that went "If once you have slept on an island you'll never be quite the same....you may look as you looked the day before and go by the same old name, but once you have slept on an island, you'll never be quite the same." It's very true. Time and space are different living on an island and if you can learn to accept and deal with the challenges you will find that you are one of the luckiest people on the planet to be surrounded by such stunning scenery and people and culture. Enjoy it! Be grateful for it!
6) It will cost a bit more. Naturally living on an island comes with increased costs. Ferry fare for one, is always increasing and because of that goods that are shipped over to the island, including fuel and other services will have a bit of "isolation tax" on them. Still, keep in mind that shopping locally is extremely important as you are contributing to keeping a roof over your neighbour's head. And if you don't support a business on your island, one day it just simply won't be there.
7) Thinking outside the box will help. Whether it's coming up with an original business plan or figuring out what to make for dinner when you only have five obscure ingredients in the fridge and the only store on the island is closed (watch for future posts on this issue) perfecting your lateral thinking skills will be a good idea. You need to learn to be flexible, innovative and creative in almost all areas of your life. This is not a bad thing; the resourcefulness you develop living on an island will be a skill you will carry with you for the rest of your life.
8) It's quiet..like really, really, quiet. If you need to get away from the constant drone of traffic and the in-your-faceness of urban living then an island may be the perfect, no is, the perfect choice for you. It's so peaceful here that you sometimes feel the urge to take a nap mid-day on a Saturday..go ahead....do it. .
I know that there should be more, at least a 9) and 10) but I have to get to the store before it closes........