A lot of people think about the idea of being able to call the Hawaiian Islands home
only a very distant dream. Something that is strangely unattainable, extremely hard to do, and pretty much impossible...
Usually when people tell me they wish they could move to Hawai'i, I respond to them
For some strange (and fucked up) reasons, a lot of people don't realize that they absolutely CAN move to Hawaii...
all you need to some courage, trust, and persistence.
If I moved there alone not knowing anyone - you absolutely can too.
Yes, it might be challenging finding a home to live in
yes, you will need to have some money saved
yes, the first few days, or weeks might be a little hectic...
but trust me - IT WILL ALL WORK OUT.
Heres what I did:
-I visited Maui with my bestfriend in 2013
-Fell head over heels in love with the Island life
-I decided my last year of college once I graduated that I was going to move from my home of Los Angeles, CA and fly to O'ahu.
-I visited O'ahu in March 2014 and couch surfed with a friend during spring break.
-I bought my one way plane ticket in Feburary of 2015
-I graduated college in June 2015
-I moved to O'ahu in August 2015
THE MONTHS PRIOR:
Months prior I was on craigslist looking at rooms for rent so when the time came to actually commit to something I would have a good idea of how it compared to what was being listed in the past.
This was the tricky (and definitely the biggest challenge to moving):
Everyone I contacted would not take me seriously because I did not live on the island yet, and they all wanted to meet me and have me come look at the home.
Of course, I wanted to meet them first too and obviously look at the room and home i'd be living in before I decided to commit - but I was living 6 hours by flight away so this was not an option.
I ended up finding a subleasing sort of deal with a group of guys who had found a new home to live in and were renting out their rooms for the remaining of the month until their lease was up. PERFECTO!
except.... they changed plans on me the WEEKEND before I flew to O'ahu.
Yes, 2 days before.
If worse came to worse I would have had to drop some money to stay in a hotel or air BNB, but my grandma was able to pull some loving grandmotherly magic and found some very extended family that were actually living on O'ahu on one of the military bases. They welcomed me with open arms and even picked me up from the airport!
I stayed in their home for about a week. And from the first day I got there I was looking for a room to rent and also buying a car...
The bus situation in and out of the base was a challenge so let's just say those few days were VERY long and exhausting and once I left the base I couldn't get back on until late in the day when my family could sign me back into the base.
After looking at a few cars I ended up buying a beautiful Kia Forte that was low miles and nearly brand spankin new (an older guy owned it and it was his prize possession... literally waxed it everyday)
I couldn't bring it onto the base so my new baby had to get parked in random neighborhoods and I still had to bus out of the base in the mornings (which was VERY frustrating to own a car and not be able to use it without taking public transportation to it...)
Exactly a week after moving to O'ahu and exhausting all the listings on craigslist, I desperately went to go look at this one room that had awful photos and didn't look like anything I'd want to spend that much money on... I went to the home and was blown away by how badly I had judged this place by the photos.
It was a beautiful, stunning, and amazing updated home with an amazing kitchen, garden, and huge bedroom for rent. It was so perfect and I loved everything about it... especially the fact it was in the town I was set on living in (Kailua) and was a block from the beach (!!!!!!!).
I moved in the next day...
It was higher than I had ever hoped to pay for monthly rent ($975 with all utilities included), but hey! options were limited at the time and I really just wanted to start my Hawaiian life.
and I can honestly say that I made the right decision moving in.
It was lovely, and a wonderful adjustment to moving away.
I lived with an older couple and their niece who was my age, lived in a studio above the garage. They would have their grandchildren over every Wednesday and we would all have big family dinners together.
We ate food from the garden and shared recipes and had very similar interests.
It was thee nicest house i've lived in to this day: with leaf imprints on the driveway tiles, rich bright colors on all the walls, bamboo flooring, and I even had my own entrance and lanai. It was my own personal paradise.
I got a job that same week at a local and very tourist juice shop, Lanikai Juice, as an assistant manager.
Pay was good. I had a management position. and I got cheap acai bowls everyday.
But.... the hours SUCKED! 4am wake up calls to begin with and I was thrown into a full time schedule- so by the time I got off work I was literally exhausted. No beach days for me, just making smoothies for tourists as our lines wrapped outside of the building. Yikes.
That didn't last long.
I quit my second week.
and got a job the next day down the street at a vegan cafe + juice shop.
It was amazing.
pay was less. but I got free meals, free smoothies, and kombucha.
my 25 year old boss was slightly (very) crazy and unstable and fired people constantly without reason.
She bragged about firing her whole staff twice already when I got hired and the damn place had only been open for 2 months at the time......
anyways, I worked there for 2 months until she went psycho
and that was the end of that.
During this time I was also doing work for a Kombucha company that I had been working with during my time in college. I would do a few demos a month for them at the local whole foods. I stayed with the job for 3 years, and it was awesome. and gave me a ton of time flexibility, allowed me to have other jobs without schedule issues, and also let me support a business I totally believed in and wanted to succeed.
So basically - Income was NEVER an issue. Was I making a ton of money? no.
But also, I wasn't working a ton of hours.
I had my free time, and I enjoyed it.
That was one of the main reasons Hawaiian lifestyle spoke to me so much... I felt that the people on the island would work to afford the necessities - and then enjoy the rest of their time.
Also, in Hawaii ALL of the things I was doing were free.
Hiking, swimming, beach days, slacklining, hooping, poi, surfing, biking.
SO MUCH ADVENTURING.
I was literally working to afford my rent, insurance, gas, and food. and thats it!
I was doing a work trade at the local yoga studio and would clean the studio once a week for an hour and get a membership through them for unlimited classes.
so that was amazing. hot yoga was my jam.
So there you go...
FINANCES, JOBS, CAR, AND ROOM
done and done.
and it really wasn't that hard!
It just about having faith in what you do and setting you mind to it and making it happen.
WHATS MEANT TO BE WILL ALWAYS FIND ITS WAY.
people in Hawaii are also extremely nice and welcoming and will help ya out.
Hitchhiking is a normal thing there so you could honestly live that lifestyle if a car isn't in your cards just yet.
I bought a bike when I was living in Kailua and I can honestly say I used that thing more than my car. I remember saying to my coworker one day "I forget I own a car, because I own a bike"... which was so true. and so different than any place else I had ever lived.
Also I know everyone reading this isn't going to just get jobs in cafe's like I did - so I want to emphasize on how much money and work there is in the
It definitely depends on what island you move to and where on that island you live - but if you do move to busy islands like O'ahu or Maui there are tons of resorts to work at with plenty of jobs for people with all different kinds of skills.
seriously, finding a job is not hard. That seems to be everyones FIRST concern about moving there. If you're looking for a super corporate job then yeah, you might have a harder time. But, if you're willing to work in the tourist industry you won't have any issues finding a source of income.
During my time I worked in health conscious places that I mentioned above, as well as a surf instructor ( I know, WTF), and most recently as a nanny.
I got hired to be a surf instructor without much knowledge but a good attitude and a go-get-em personality and I ended up teaching a lesson that same day getting hired. Ironically, it was the first job interview I did in Hawai'i that I didn't wear a bikini under my clothes to.
I ended up doing sales and marketing for them in later months. It was a pretty cool experience and something that I never would have thought would come from this craigslist surf instructor job that I applied to because I thought it would be fun and allow me to be in the water all day.
So the next thing: FOOD COSTS
Yes food in Hawaii is ridiculously expensive. This is because most stuff is shipped from the mainland. And if were talking stuff that needs to be refrigerated (or worse, frozen) that heightens the price to double, sometimes even triple what were used to on the mainland. Dairy and meat eaters i'm talking to you. But that's cool because dairy and meat is fucking awful for you, the environment, and the animals anyways so maybe this will help you get off that crap.
Here is Hawai'i its bad for your wallet too...
I spent A LOT of money on food at the beginning. Yes, even the farmers markets are pricey too. Which I have no explanation for because this foods grows locally and is so abundant. Basically, they can charge A LOT because every damn thing costs so much in the grocery stores and they know they can get away with prices that are comparable.
anyways, rant over. heres the secret:
get a C O S T C O membership
Costco is a members only warehouse that has the same prices of stuff they sell regardless of what warehouse you are in. BINGO! When you shop at Costco you are getting the same prices on stuff as if you were in California. Fuck, it's not local which I really don't like. But they do offer a ton of organic produce and items at the warehouses on Oahu and Kauai.
I saved so much money once I figured this out.
Yes, I want to support local farmers as much as possible - but hey! maybe they could help me out by not charging an arm and a leg for a damn cucumber.
Since I'm a vegan - I would buy all my veggies in bulk and I never had a problem eating all of them.
I'm just going to mention that apparently there are a lot of people on food stamps and I have heard from others that they are quite easy to apply for and obtain -- but I never did this myself. So I don't have any more info for you besides that fact that this could be an option if necessary.
So there we go - food cost issues - SOLVED.
you now have a car (or a bike, or the knowledge that hitch hiking it totally cool here)
you have a place to live (my lowest rent was $500 - most expensive was $975)
you know there are jobs and tons of opportunity to find one you like
you realize that most of the things you will be doing in Hawaii are absolutely FREE
can't move because you're in a relationship and they won't go?
do it anyways.
there's tons of babes here
but more importantly, you have to do what makes Y O U happy
plus, they'll see how fucking happy you are and realize you are a gem for following your heart and doing what makes you happy and they'll realize they love you even more. Or they'll just see your photos in Hawai'i and realize they made a huge mistake not going. Their loss, not yours.
it'll make going home for holidays (or having them come visit and having a different kind of white christmas) that much more special. They'll appreciate you more and honestly, I can say that my relationship with ALL my family members grew stronger once I moved away.
And I always have fun stories to share with them when I am back home.
before you know it you'll have an Ohana of your very own on the island.
meetup.com is an amazing website for meeting people. There are groups of people that get together and you can search events based on your interests. Lucky for me, I totally found my spot in the vegan community on Oahu. (WHICH IS AN AMAZING GROUP OF BEAUTIFUL AND WELCOMING PEOPLE)!! I went to vegan potlucks, vegan cafes, and grocery stores to meet people as well. Before I knew it I had a solid group of friends who shared similar passions, morals, ethics, and interests as myself.
the outdoor lifestyle that Hawai'i offers makes it easy to meet people and do things with them that don't require just going out to a bar and drinking. Making friends at the beach is easier than you might think!
so that's pretty much it.
there i was, living in hawai'i.
I lived there just about a year.
of course taking little trips here and there back to the mainland and such,
until decided that Hawai'i is where I want to live and settle down and raise a family.
for now - I want to be on the go - exploring new cultures, meeting new people, and living in different countries.
so I left. but I absolutely know that I WILL be going back.
Hawai'i is where my heart is. It's home.
and I truly hope this post inspired you to take action if a move to Hawai'i is something you've been desiring.
I hope that you realized it can be done, and you CAN do it.
I hope that you now have the confidence to do this, even if it still scares you.
and I hope that you live that life you've always dreamed of!
MAHALO AND ALOHA.
Sending my love and light to you.