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Have you ever thought how your life would be different if you lived on an island?

I am not talking just about obvious things, like ferries, no four lane freeways, and no McDonalds. My thoughts are more about how living on an island actually affects your personality, your point of view, your behavior. Here are some examples, based on my own conjecture.

1. The laid back attitude. Whenever someone says the word island, what things come to mind? Relaxing, not having stress, enjoying the outdoors and the good life, right? Many visitors have told me that they think the people on San Juan Island are friendly and happy. And, I would have to agree. You do not see the stress and impatience that are so common on the mainland when people have to wait in line or follow a slow driver, for example. An islander won’t think about this difference, but after a day on the mainland or at the mall, coming home will seem like a breath of fresh air.

2. The small town grapevine. I used to tell my teenage kids that they could get away with nothing. That was because in a small town, everyone knows you and your parents and recognizes what you might be up to. Word gets around. It’s true and parents love that. Teenagers, maybe not so much.

3. Common ground. The islands have had their share of “tempests in teapots” as they used to say: people disagreeing on issues, especially related to land use or noise. But think of it, you are going to run into the opposition at the grocery store or at the high school games. There is no way you can get into a shouting match. This situation forces people to be civil, even to those that have the opposite opinion on things. It’s a good thing.

4. Spontaneity. On an island there are many things you can do without planning at the last minute. For many, this is the most delightful way to live. Pick-up games, pot-luck dinners, last minute invites, “gone fishing” signs on businesses. Recently the Washington State Ferry System has initiated the reservation system. I am happy to have it, but was puzzled that so many people were against it. I believe many of them thought the last minute idea of catching the ferry would no longer be available to them. Life has its compromises.

5. Uniqueness. Selling Real Estate here has taught me that the one thing people want in houses in uniqueness. No cookie-cutter developments for them! And islanders are always applauding the special, quirky elements of island life and people. And many of us do fall into the “quite a character” role when complimented on some unusual piece of clothing, unique transportation, funny attitude. After we are complimented we repeat the behavior more often and so it goes. Creative energy is obvious in the form of artists, writers, and musicians.

It’s really a great place to live if you like these things. I would not choose to live anywhere else. If you are visiting our island this week, enjoy your explorations and pretend you are living on an island. And, if you really do want to experience island life, stop by our office and we can help you meet your dreams of a unique house on a spontaneous island!

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Wild Encounters

Living in the San Juan Islands means that sooner or later you will come in contact with our local wildlife. The islands and their surrounding