I just received a question through our contact form from a girl who is graduating from high school and she wants to go to Hawaii for a year just to have the experience. I wish more young people would do this!

But, that isn’t saying I recommend everyone should do it. Here’s her note:

“Dear Vern,
My name is ___, I’m currently 17, and am from the East coast. This coming year is my last in high school. From the start of junior year my plan has been to take a year off before college and move to Hawaii. I’m sure you can imagine that my parents are not too pleased with my decision, but it has been a dream of mine to live in Hawaii for years. I am realizing now the sooner the better and that I should just go for it.
I’ve only just come across your website and have already found it quite helpful. I haven’t read much but I feel that you may be targeting a very different age group. What I would like to know is how I can make it for a year or more, with out experience or credentials. I assume that I would find a simple job, just enough to live off of for the time being. I guess what I am really asking for is your advice, anything you can give me. The main things I need to know are; which island is best to stay on, how to find a place to stay, and how to find a job (not a career) that will work for me.

Thank you for your time,
Sincerely, ___

My response:

Aloha! Wow, I don’t get many letters from anyone in their teens looking to move to Hawaii for any length of time. It does happen, but it isn’t the norm. You’re right, when I write I am targeting an older group – probably forties or so who are ready to make a major life change, and Hawaii seems like a good place to do it.

In a way, you’re right – the sooner, the better. That makes a lot of sense because so many people let ‘life happen’ and then they can’t seem to work it out how to move to Hawaii in later years. If there’s a way to make it work now – better to go now. That’s for everyone, not just you, but it’s my advice for everyone considering a move to the Hawaiian Islands. There may never come another time when it’s possible to go – so go now.

That said, there needs to be a real serious consideration on your part about finances. I’ve had people write me to say they couldn’t find a job waitressing or waitering for months in Hawaii. They spent all their savings and were going to have a hard time getting money up to return to the states.

That’s not a good position to be in.

Do you have $5,000 to spend if you move? I’d say have that much to spend and have another $2,000 for emergency and bail-out plan.

With this, you can give it a shot and try to get the all-essential job to keep you there for a year. It doesn’t make sense to spend much more than this to attempt to find work. If you can’t find a job in two months, really ONE month, I would say it might be better to pack it up and come back later when you have some skills or maybe know someone in Hawaii that can help you make the transition over.

You know?

Some people find a job in three days. Some just don’t find one. It must have something to do with personality. In some restaurants it must have something to do with how you look.

If I were you, I would start searching Twitter and Facebook to find people talking about living in Hawaii. Talk to people that are waitressing. Find people in google searches who live there already. I think we’re talking about only on Oahu, and then probably in Waikiki. You haven’t mentioned that you’ll buy a car to get around, so probably you’ll be walking, bussing it, or bicycle. All those work in Waikiki. It’s a great place to walk around, many people are walking.

Find a room in a house, or find a very small apartment – studio. I don’t know about sharing a place, but if you find someone you get along with – yeah, I guess. I’d never share a place!

And that’s about it. If you have the cash saved, I’d say go for it. If not, save it up. Take a year off after your freshman year of college. It seems like you have such a burning passion to go – if you can swing it financially, go check it out!

Best of luck to you!


Article originally written by Vern Lovic and opinions are his own