Since moving to Maui over a year ago, I have written a lot about moving to Hawaii here on The Huffington Post.
I'm NOT advocating anyone move here, but I AM an advocate of people chasing their dreams. My father died expectedly in 2012 with so many regrets in his heart. His last message to me was, "Live a life of no regret." Since his funeral, I have lost 170 pounds, quit a job I hated to write/speak/coach full-time and moved our family from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Maui in April of 2014.
Life is short and time is the only thing we'll never get back. I'm an advocate of people not settling for a good enough life and chasing their dream--even if that dream is moving to Hawaii. If you're a transplant, you can't get mad at someone who wants to do what you did--that's hypocritical.
If your dream is to move here, one of the most important things to understand is that Hawai'i has a complicated history. You can't move here with a mainlander attitude--expecting things to be like just where you moved from. You have to respect what locals have gone through and what your moving here means to life for a local. Respect Hawai'i, its history, and people. Come here with an attitude of giving back, not taking.
Here are seven common myths about moving to Hawaii. If Hawaii is your dream, don't let anything stop you. Life is too short to let fear, doubt, negative voices, or self-limiting beliefs win.
1. It's too expensive
Before you send me hate mail, I do realize that living in Hawaii is expensive. However, if you compare living in Hawaii to living in New York, California, or several other places, you realize the talk of costs is greater than the reality of costs. Yes, there are things that cost more, but you're not paying $500 a month just to park your car--like in New York or crazy high taxes--like in California. If you move here and live simple, you can make it work. If you budget your finances, take on extra work (if you have to), or shift what you spend your money on, you can make it. People love to talk about how expensive it is in Hawaii. While it is expensive, so is life.
To put this into perspective, the median cost of a one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco is $3,410 a month according to The Huffington Post.
2. It's too crowded
Have you ever been to New York, Chicago, or London? How about Los Angeles or Shanghai? Those places are crowded. Yes, we live on small islands, and yes there are over a million people living on these islands (not counting tourists), but there is room. People move here every day, but there are just as many people moving OFF the islands. Every week I can look at Craigslist and see a bunch of "moving off the island" sales. People come and go. Hawaii is a finite resource, but there's still room because of the turnover.
If you look at this list by Wikipedia, they break down cities by people per square mile. You'll find the *city* of Honolulu at number 54.
3. It's too hard
Life is hard. If chasing big dreams were easy, you wouldn't be reading an article like this. I could list story after story of people who sold everything and moved to Hawaii with nothing but the clothes on their back. There are also stories of people who came and washed out. Again, that's life. With the right plan and crazy courage, you can move to Hawaii.
4. There's too much racism
One of the things we read over and over again before we moved was how much racism we would encounter. I can honestly say we haven't encountered any. It may be because I'm brown, or the fact that we live in a diverse part of Maui--Kihei. But, from what I've seen after living here for over a year, as long as you respect people and don't bring a mainlander attitude, you'll be fine. Is there racism in Hawaii? Of course, just like the rest of America.
If you look at this list from the Washington Post of the most racist cities in American, Hawaii is listed as "less than average."
5. You can't find a place to live
Finding a place to buy or rent is hard--one of the most difficult parts of a move here. There is a limited supply and rent control is like finding a white unicorn. Despite the circumstances, you can still find a place to rent that fits your needs. It may take longer than you expected, or you might have to settle for a temporary place.
6. You must have a million dollars saved first
Because of the high cost of living, you're told you should have a ton of money before you move. Now, I'm the first to tell you to have an emergency fund. There are people who made the move without one, but they are the exception, not the rule. You should have something set aside just in case. How much? Enough to buy a ticket back to wherever you moved from is a good starting point. But, you don't need a million dollars before you make the move if you have taken care of other parts of the move: a place to live and a source of income.
7. It's not what it used it be
This is the biggest myth I encounter every day, As soon as an article is shared about Hawaii, there is a line of people who talk about what Hawaii has become over the years. Each of us has a different perspective on things, so to judge what Hawaii is like now, compared to then, will be relative.
I can tell that after living here for a year, I still get goosebumps when I drive around Maui. It still feels fresh when I travel to Oahu. I will never get used to seeing the beautiful Pacific every morning while I run. Having moved from Wisconsin, I'll never get tired of the weather. Is it what it used to be? No clue, but it's pretty darn amazing to me.
I can guess what kind of reaction there will be to this article, and that's cool; each of us is entitled to our opinions. The one thing that I hope we agree on is that life is too short to waste it living life the way someone else thinks we should live it.
If Hawaii is your dream, just make sure you're dreaming it for the right reasons. If you are sure, put together a plan, have something for a rainy day, and take action. You only get one life to live, make it count.
Are you moving to Hawaii? What was your experience moving to Hawaii?