One year ago, (February 18th, 2014) I left my comfort zone--the place I lived for 32 years-- and home: Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I left my family so I could find us a new home in our dream destination: Maui, Hawaii.
My wife and I vacationed in Maui in April of 2010. We got off the plane and felt "something." We experienced more than we planned for that trip. We got on the plane home changed.
We joked about retiring in Maui someday, but even the thought of it gave us a headache. When we thought about the steps that it would take to make the move, the whole thing seemed impossible.
In April of 2012, my father died unexpectedly of heart disease at 54. His death was a wake-up call. It helped us see that we had to make this dream a reality. He died with so many regrets and begged me not to follow in his footsteps. It took two more years, but on April 8th of 2014, our family made the move to Maui, Hawaii.
On February 18th of 2014, I made a solo trip to find a home here. I had researched and thought I was prepared, but I wasn't. I lined up several appointments to see places. Every time I went to see a place, there was at last a few other people/families to see the same place.
I saw fourteen places in my first two weeks here--each experience more depressing than the last--the highlight being a place that was listed on Craigslist for $1,400 a month. I went to the open house excited, only to find 36 other people there. In the end, three people went into a bidding war over the place. The winner settled on paying $2,800 a month. I was depressed.
A few days before I was scheduled to head back to Milwaukee--empty handed--I got a call about a place that I had seen, but given up on. The person who got the place couldn't come up with the security deposit. The landlord said if I could get to Kihei with the money, the place was ours.
I was staying in Paia (the north side of Maui) and had to hitchhike to the main bus station in Kahului. From there, I caught a bus to Kihei, and had to run a mile to meet the landlord.
I showed up sweaty and babbling like an idiot, but we got a three-bedroom, one-and-a-half bath for $1,300 a month, an unbelievable deal. We have been here for 10 months. Life here is far better than we dreamed.
It's possible for you
Every time I write one of these articles, I get flak. Locals (Hawaiian and transplants) here say, "Stop writing about moving to Hawaii because it's already too crowded. We don't want anyone else moving here." The other side says, "No one can afford to move to Hawaii, it's too expensive."
Here's the thing everyone should realize: life is short and time is precious. If it's your dream to move to Hawaii (or any dream destination), you can and should make that dream a reality. I'm not telling you it's going to be easy, and I'm not saying we should overcrowd Hawaii, but dreams are in our mind and heart for a reason.
You could live your entire life playing it safe. You could do everything just "right" and live comfortably. You could live life this way for years and die unexpectedly. You could come to the end of your life wondering what could have been. You could die with Hawaii on your mind and heart.
Moving here is hard, but it's possible. If this is your dream, I want this article to give you hope, or even more of a spark. You can research what it takes to move here. You can save up, sell your stuff and take the leap. It's going to take time, but it is possible.
You can even find a place despite all the competition. You can find a job and live your dream lifestyle here. If it's going to happen, you have to believe and take action. Talk alone won't get you here.
They say the first year is the hardest. On April 8th we will celebrate our one-year anniversary. I don't have to wait until then to tell you the move was worth the struggle. Life is Maui is pretty darn good.
Is moving to Hawaii your dream? What are you doing about it?
Photo: Author's own