I get this question so much – I think it is by far the question most asked of my by email from visitors to this site wondering if they should move to Hawaii – or not.
I can’t possibly tell someone, definitively, whether or not they should move. That would be impossible. Even with what most people tell me in their short email, it isn’t enough background information about them to really guess whether they could survive (stick it out) in Hawaii long-term. I do the best with what I’m given – but really, what does anyone know about whether or not you will make a successful transition? It’s a tough call.
Some people that seem like they have what it takes – turn out not having what it takes to live for more than a year in Hawaii. Others that seem like they are destined to fail and go back to where they came from (my friend Christian for instance!) – succeed beyond anyone’s guess.
As far as I can tell, here are some of the most important factors leading to long-term success for living in Hawaii. Yes, these are all my ideas, so you might not agree. If you don’t agree – let me know in the comments.
You like all sorts of people.You’re not a bigot. You grew up around many different types of people, and though you may not have got along with everyone – who does? You have friends from different backgrounds. Hawaii is a melting pot. From moving to Hawaii I know people from Germany, UK, Sweden, Jamaica, Guam, Fiji, Samoa, Tahiti, Japan, Laos, Thailand, Korea, China, Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, and all across the USA and Canada. If you think you were born better than someone else, you’ll find it really difficult to move to, and live in Hawaii.
You “get it” that living in Hawaii is a trade-off. The trade-offs are many. You’ll likely make less money than on the mainland. You’ll likely have a less fancy office, home, car, bike, boat, whatever it is that you had on the mainland. You might work six days a week, some work seven. Everything costs more. So, you’re making less and paying more for everything. This is life in Hawaii – if you’re not OK with that now – there is no sense in moving. Go to Hawaii on vacation and have a blast – you won’t have a blast living on the islands without this essential attitude.
Your skills are enough to pay you a decent salary. I have met countless people in Hawaii – waiters, waitresses usually – that come on a dream. They think that if they just wait tables for a while, something better will come along. Guess what? Nothing better is coming along, unless you have the skills to do something better. Waitresses aren’t getting pulled out of Red Lobster to go house sit for Robin Leech. If what you are is a waiter, in 3 years you will probably still be a waiter because you’ll make just enough to survive and you won’t have time to better yourself, take classes to learn any other skills. Do yourself a big favor and get the skills before you go.
You are friendly enough and likable enough to make new friends rather easily. There are many people that are not good at making friends, that end up in Hawaii thinking it will make their lives better – and all their bad personality traits – will melt off in the hot noon-day sun.
Guess what? Right… One of the things I have noticed is that people that don’t try to make friends – don’t. People that are not good at making friends- compromising, and giving something of themselves – don’t make friends wherever they are. There are lots of nice people in Hawaii. Get to know some, or you’ll likely be on the plane back to your hometown before long.
You don’t mind crowds. This is mainly geared toward those living on Oahu. Ok, totally geared that way – but, since most new residents of Hawaii do move to the most populated island – it needs said. It’s almost like NYC on a beach in Waikiki. There are so many people walking around, people on bikes, buses, cars, trucks, scooters. Rush hours on the highways are enough to turn a Buddhist monk purple. People’s worst comes out on the roads – and even in Hawaii this is true.
You are not bringing kids to live in Hawaii. I have said this time and again, but, I think one of the biggest predictors of success for life in Hawaii long-term is that you don’t have any kids to bring with you. The education system isn’t great. The social aspect – even less desirous. I see it as a horrible thing to bring your kids to Hawaii to live, unless they are young enough to get in with good groups of kids when they are that young and just starting school. Bringing a teenager? Please don’t. That’s all I can say… just please don’t…
Those are the top five things that are coming to mind at the moment. If more bubbles to the surface, I’ll add more later.
Moving to Hawaii to live can be the most amazing, wonderful, sun-shining out your backside experience of your entire life…
Or, it could be a hard to face failure…
Do everything you can before you go to ensure success!