Hi, i love to grow tropicals and have lots of bananas, ee's, mandevillas, bird of paradise, plumeria and soon to have lots of tropical hibiscus. I'm wondering how many of you are from hawaii? The reason i'm asking is that I see it was voted the 2nd "happiest" u.s. state to live in. I was really happy to hear this, because my dream is to one day live in a tropical paradise. I hope to be in either, Hawaii, the USVI or lastly Southern Florida/keys.
I was wondering if any of you from Hawaii can tell me what island you live on, how you like the island, and how affordable housing is, etc... I plan to retire or move in the next 5-10 years. I don't have a lot of money so i would be getting a small 2 bedroom cottage type house.
If anyone knows of any good books or websites on living in Hawaii I would love to hear about them.
The best way to learn about living in Hawai'i is to be here. The tropical paradise that the hotels promote is not what you see on the street.
The beautiful plants that are seen here are from elsewhere on Earth. Here one makes their own paradise!
It is more affordable to live on the windward side of the Island. Buying land outside of Hilo is the least expensive.
Aloha Maureen, I live on the Island of Maui and I am "happy"!
All of our Islands are wonderful, each in its own way. We chose Maui because it has enough infrastructure to support jobs, etc, and yet it doesn't have a large city feeling to it such as some of the areas on Oahu. However, we seem to be building here like no-ones business and becoming less rural all the time. I recently went to the West coast and was rather horrified at the huge condos that are being built there.
I would start to do research on the different Islands at the library to see which Island most suits your idea of paradise. All of our Islands have a "wet" side, a "dry' side, and then there are cooler locations "upcountry". I live in Kihei which is hot and dry with some of the nicest beaches in the Islands, but in my heart I would prefer to live "up country" where it is quieter and has fewer tourists. I will never get my husband away from the sea though as he loves the beaches and the ocean.
Living in Hawaii anywhere is very expensive, all goods have to be brought in by barge and housing on my Island is very expensive, especially in the South and West coastal areas. There are areas here that are more "reasonable", but even they are expensive compared to the mainland.
I really think that anyone thinking of moving to the Islands try it out first by renting an Ohana (a cottage) and living there six months to see if the way of life appeals to you. Many people find that the slower pace of life and the distance from friends and family is not for them, and they leave after a short time. On the upside, you can't beat the beauty of the Islands and the wonderful, caring people you will meet here, especially if you take the time to get involved with the community. It's really nice to go anywhere on the Island and meet people you know and spend some time "talking story"! If you take away the tourists population we really are a small Island!
Good luck with your research on picking an Island - it's going to be a difficult choice because there is something for everyone here, depending on how you want to live. As Dave says, it's not like living in the Grand Wailea hotel!
I live on the Big Island in Kainaliu in the heart of the coffee belt. I agree with BHM and Dave. Island living isnt for everyone and every day isnt a vacation or beach day. Of course you cant get me to live anywhere else!
I live close to Dave...on the 'wet' side (east) of the Big Island...about 18 miles from Hilo. We chose this side because we liked the 'laid back' not much tourism aspect...we also wanted property with no neighbours and that is hard to find in Hawaii. Our side is not very developed. DON"T believe the real estate spins online...check with one of us first as to the location... They will sell you swamp and tell you it is waterfront. Prices are coming down...soon it could be really cheap!!!!
Living here I think the happiest people are those who have inner resources, where they can be anywhere and be happy and they don't need alot of outside entertainment. There is alway something to do/clean/weed/mow/fix/paint/read...I am never bored...and don't find enough hours in the day!!!!
This is not the place to ive if you have phobias about lizards, cockroaches, spiders or ants. We have no snakes...that is the good news.
Everything is more expensive than on the mainland...we just don't buy as much and shop sales and... i don't use makeup, lots of clothes, and I wear sandals all the time. Save money there!!! But I spend it on fertilizer and plants!!!
Oh you all are so nice to give me all this info to help me out. I'm going to come back later when i have more time and read up again and make notes and do some research. I have to go get dinner on the table. take care
Good point. Lots of folks do quit...and I feel sad for them.
What do YOU all think it takes to be happy here... in view of the 'rusticness', amount of rain, lack of 'big city' cultural events etc. I'm curious about this 'cause I am so darn blissfully happy yet others can't wait to get out of here.
It's really an interesting issue, what makes some people stay and others leave. Where I live has always had a highly transient White/European population. Even a lot of those spending a very long time here would move away on retirement. It was a place where public servants, and the military, would come, do their 3 years term, and move back down south. Banks and other larger institutions worked the same way. Then there were those escaping marriage/alimony or child support payments. And no doubt other straight out criminal types. They'd move on eventually, or be taken back to face the music. Only the Aborigines and Chinese really stayed long term.
That's all changing now (there's no escaping computers this day and age). We have the youngest average population of the country. Young people seeking adventure on the frontier still pour in, and worn out retirees still slip out. But more are staying. And a lot of that could be because modern technology and communications is making the world a smaller place. However, a lot of people still want the big department stores, the theatre/cinemas with more than just the run-of-the-mill entertainment, etc., etc., and closeness to family and relatives.
The Wet Season saves us!! I'm sandwiched between two world heritage areas (Great Barrier Reef and Wet Tropics)
4 meters of rain a year keeps the riff raff out lol. They come, they go :) But if we didn't have our wicked wet they'd stay and my paradise would be another Port Douglas or the Gold Coast. Ann
Heres why we're so special: http://www.wettropics.gov.au/pa/pa_default.html
Beautiful soil and lovely rolling hills at Mena Creek. We thought of trading in our "close to the beach lifestyle type" property for a larger ex cattle type property at Mena but decided to stay here in the end.
Living in a rainforest valley in the middle of a mountain range is a bit of heaven ( lovely, sheltered, privacy, linkage between upland and lowland rainforest, gravity feed water) and hell (ALLL of that water flowing down means a really high water table and poor drainage and not alot of horizon ) but the good out weighs the bad. Here's a shot of the little waterfall on the back of our property. We gravity feed from about 600meters up in the National Park.
OK...so I will bring in some of the reality of living here...especially on the E. side of the Big Island. This is really not a first world country...second world might cover it. Now, this is NOT bad...it is simply different. There is a different work ethic than on the mainland...a different sense of urgency. Many folks coming from the mainland find it hard to adjust to...they get frustrated and go back to what is familiar. Good medical facilities are ... well... scarce , doctors hard to find, good care chancey and you better know more than the average bear about your health because of all of this.
None of this is a problem...unless one expects something different!
Edited to talk about the flip side of this: ethnic diversity and an overall kindness that is in the air. My favorite bumpersicker is "Slow down, you aren't on the mainland"... Generally people give way at intersections, allow you to merge into traffic, take time to chat and enjoy flowers. Kindness is shared in so many ways...and living Aloha is beautiful.
"a different sense of urgency" - I like that phrase, and it fits where I am in southern Mexico as well.
I was very close to buying land on that side of Hawaii 20 years ago, around Pahoa. We spent a month at a time in different places and really liked that area. I noticed though that I would get a little itchy towards the end of our stays, that I would think about how difficult it was to leave. Not obsessively but it did bother me a bit that I couldn't just get in a car and drive as far as I wanted. From friends who lived there, I figured out that this was a precurser to what they called "island fever" when they would get the feeling that they just had to get off the 'rock'. That plus the higher costs for everything decided us against buying, don't I just wish I had bought the land anyway and held on to it? Hindsight!
extranjera...well, we would have been neighbours!!! I was born in Hawaii a gazillion years ago, and I remember my mother talking about Island Fever...I never have felt it!!! I yearn to return when I get on the plane to leave... Usually what I 'want' I find right here...in the house...someway or another. To watch the light changing, hear the birds...can't get too much better than this...
I think now that part of it was age, now that I'm older I doubt it would bother me. I don't feel that need to know what is going on elsewhere so much. The internet probably helps too. Plus, I grew up near LA and driving was part of the culture. I still get kind of a jittery feeling if I don't have a car available for some reason, silly I know. I do think it is something to consider for someone moving to an island from the mainland, good advice to go and rent and see how you feel after 6 months or a year.
I love Hawaii though, we also spent a lot of vacations there when I was in school and as an adult I got obsessed with diving and spent a lot of time diving off all of the islands. It's a beautiful state above and below the water. I see there is someone here from Kihei, we used to go there often to dive. Incredible and when the whales are there... unbelievable. It all worked out though, about 5 years after deciding not to buy that land on the big island, I bought a small place on the Caribbean in Mexico. That brought me here to retire and I am loving this area as well. As long as there is an ocean around and it is warm, I'm happy.
I live on the windward side of Oahu. This is my second time living here. I moved back to the mainland after a couple of years in the 1990s. I really missed all my friends and felt very isolated. It is going better here now, but still very hard in the beginning. I agree that it would be best to try it out for a long period first before making a commitment. Living here is very different than vacationing. It is very expensive, Costco helps and I don't buy anything other than food. There isn't any heating expense and I found a place that didn't need airconditioning, but the rent/mortgage is 2-4 times what it is on the mainland. I would have thought that gardening would be a breeze here but this is paradise for the pests and it is actually very hard to grow garden vegetables here. I joke that my tomatoes are about $200 a pound after building raised beds, compost bins and screening in the beds to keep the birds from eating them all.
You can't beat the weather and the people are very nice.
Keep telling me about your home. The US Army has decided that I will be visiting my Grandsons there after June 25th so I'm really excited abut seeing your islands! And hearing about them! Kids will have a guest room so we won't have to worry about some of the "tourist" $$
Welcome GG - we are always happy to welcome back a daughter of the islands.
About vegies: think HYDROPONIC!!! (static water systems) for most of the stuff. Local stuff...no worries!!! Hint: Wing Beans grow great, are totally edible and taste wonderful!!! I think that buying locally at local markets beats growing the stuff...and is just as gentle on the world.
I was in Hawai'i 2 years ago. My wife and I loved it. I long and yearn for the day where we can return to the islands. I left a bit of myself there. I guess I'm a hawai'ian at heart. I think Carol put it best when she mentionned "an overall kindness that is in the air". This is something we quickly identified when we came in contact with hawai'ians. This is not the mainland. Upon waking on the day of our return to Florida, I remember telling Gail we could call the airline and postpone our return a week or two. She declined and THAT was a big mistake. Big tears formed in the corner of my eyes as the plane taxied and finally lifted off the runway.
I still listen to Israel Kamakawiwo'ole in my car every day, humming along and wishing I were there. We shall return. It's not a threat, it's a promise.
We live on the west side of the Big Island (dry side). Although, we are living in an apt. we do grow some vegetables in pots on our lanai. We are at the 900 foot elevation and have a nice breeze most of the time and a temperature that averages 81 degrees everyday. I have a house in So. Cal. and would not trade where I live here on the islands for any place else in the world.
As to the question of expense...it is expensive. It takes very little to entertain us so there is a savings for us. Golf is our down fall but fortunately live on a golf course that is affordable ($25 a round to ride; $20 to walk.)
I agree with other posters that you should rent for a time and try out different sides of the islands to determine your lifestyle.
Yes...I agree. 8 years ago we rented a little house and drove EVERYwhere...all the big roads and backroads. We knew where there were big forests...where it rained ALL the time and exactly what we wanted. We found it!!!
Hi folks! I'm reurrecting this thread for the simple reason of "island fever". Compared to my tiny island home, any and all Hawaiian islands are HUGE! But, after living here as long as I have, I would never be happy for any length of time anywhere but someplace like an island. As Carol said, you must have inner resources. An ability to be happy with simpler things, a good book, gardening, a glass of wine at sunset. Some folks arrive here expecting something different, and turn around very quickly to go back to "civilization"...which to me is a complete misnomer. It seems much more civilized to be kind and friendly than to scurry around in tin cans that billow poison or shove elbows with strangers in a shopping frenzy. Many people on Kwaj get "rock fever", and can't wait to get back to shopping malls, traffic and crowds. Funny thing though, they nearly always heave a great sigh of relief when they return to our tiny island home. Some never really feel it IS home until they have left once and come back. The smell of the reef hits you the minute you leave the plane. It's not a smell that all will love, but to us it is ambrosia. Then you move inland just a bit (truly a bit...maybe a block, we are only 1/2 mile wide!) and you smell the plumeria and other island flowers and it hits you like a warm hug. I could easily live by the ocean in a small town in Mexico or along the Spanish coast...maybe the Carribean. But areas of the Hawiians, tiny islands in Indonesia, or here on Kwaj suit me just fine. Good luck and do that research!
Amen to that, Shari. I believe that when people find the world IN them they don't need to look for it somewhere else. And, as far as I am concerned, I would much rather live somewhere where everyone is happy living, than somewhere where the energy is negative and no one cares about being there. Let them go... more room for me! This also is not for someone who 'needs' family or friends they have left behind for they will never be happy. I adore my granddaughter and I think it is a pity not to have a more constant relationship with her...but we make our relationships what they are...quality time is better, for me, than all the time.
I have always purported that inner peace, self-reliance, and being at peace with one's self are top-most qualities in a person. If you don't like yourself, aren't autonomous and are living an inner turmoil, no place in the world will be right for you.
My wife and I have been blessed with those 3 qualities but canadian weather and Gail's arthritis conspired to permanently disrupt our life, causing us to uproot ourselves and move away from our former life. Since arriving in Florida (a peninsula, not an island), we have found those 3 qualities again and we live at peace almost in paradise.
Still, I would like to go see Shari's island and return to Hawai'i. Hang on tight to your dreams but be careful what you wish. It just might happen.
I've really enjoyed reading this thread. I think in a previous life I must have lived in the Islands and hopefully in my next life I will be back there! Island people sound like my kinda people! Three very important things to me are honesty, kindness and happiness. I think we make our own happiness on this earth but without honesty and kindness, we won't have the happy.
One of my favorite sayings is "Bloom Where You Are Planted" ... and for this life, I am planted and blooming on the peninsula of Florida but I would still prefer the slower pace of a small Island! We've visited the Islands of the Bahamas in the past and my favorite Island was a very small one with no motor vehicles anywhere on island! The only mode of transportation was golf carts, bicycles and feet! A laid back, quiet island lifestyle is the best ... where the year round dress code is t-shirt, shorts and flip flops.
Maureen, I hope your dream of moving to the Islands in the near future comes true, and I wish you much joy and happiness in your adventure and travels!
Lin, you described my island as well. Ha Ha. Maureen, I guess what all this boils down to is that island life isn't for everyone, but for many of us, it is the only way to go. Besides, we all need non-islanders of similar temperment to go visit every once in a while, so its all good. It's kinda like those people that say they long for a simpler time like the 1700's or 1800's. Never thinking about how unsanitary everything was, lack of clean water, refrigeration and communication. Yep, simpler all right.
As our own personal polarbear says "Be careful what you wish for"...but if island life really is for you, well then you have the wonderful dilema of deciding which one. Have fun!!!
Shari, have you ever thought about writting a novel/book? I think you would be a good candidate for such being that you have and show the ability to keep people interested in reading along with adding pic's for visualization.
Rachel, well thank you very much for the compliment! I've been writing off and on since high school...back when dirt was young. I've had a few things published, but nothing to write home to Mom about. I enjoy writing for my friends and family now, and that's about it. My Mom saved all the letters I wrote while we lived in Saudi Arabia and keeps threatening to put them into a book, but I plead with her not to since I may want to go back some day...(NOT!!) I think I get much too descriptive which leads to eyeball fatique.
RachelLF, First time I printed one of Shari's articles (she declines to be one of our writers right now, maybe you can bring her out of retirement, I certainly can't) Mike went nuts. Who is this lady? Is she a professional writer? Is she an English teacher? Love at first word. Of course, I only shared with him because I was already in awe.
Where to start. ,,,geez... It is beautiful no doubt a land of dreams. But you better like rain especially if you live on the windward side. Kaua`i is the rainiest island on earth, Kaua`i is aprox 30X30 miles across length and width. It is basically an old dead volcano sticking out of the ocean.
Kaua`i has no freeways. When i first moved here 30 years ago Kauai had 2 stop lights. Now my guess is 20. The population has doubled in the time i lived here from 30,000 to 60,000. Because there is basically only one road, with many offshoots, we have traffic problems.
Real estate is expensive. Local folks feel pressured because foreign outsiders have driven property values so high, It is the most insular and culturally local of the larger islands, though, some Big Islanders might want to debate this. Kauai is very much like its own little country.
One of the things that makes Kauai Kauai is it is hard to get to. We had a big to-do recently when they tried to bring a fast super ferry to Kauai. It was really a sight to behold watching swimmers, surfers and paddle canoes blockade the harbor.
There is crime on Kaua`i like everyplace else. However, I never shut my doors. I don't even have locks on my doors. Many times the front page news is Orchid shows.
They do not call it the garden island for nothing. The island is basically a riotous tropical garden. Oh and one more thing. Kaua`i has thousands, yes i said thousands of feral chickens. They are everywhere and i mean everywhere.. In the Walmart parking lot, the county and state building grounds. and in my back yard. Kauai also has lots of dogs.
Ok i will try to drum up some photos
In the mean time i am off to take a swim in the ocean and play with the fish
Aloha from kauai
Aloha! I have loved Kauai since I spent a few glorious weeks there about 15 years ago. We did everything! Helicopter over the canyon, riverboat up to the waterfalls, cruises along the Napali coast...had to see it all. Such a beautiful place. Really looking forward to any pics you can post Thomcat! So glad you have joined our little band of cyber mauraders. We have fun.
You forgot to mention that they are unusually beautiful chickens - like everything else on Kauai. I watched a mother hen with 9 babies cross the highway. Cars were zipping past but but everyone swerved to avoid the family and they all made it safely to the other side. Chickens are truly a way of life there.
I have to say, I toured both the Big Island and Kauai and loved them both. Each island has several very distinct sections and it was so much fun to see how the topography and the ocean change as you circumvent the islands.
We were there in April 2007. Here is the breakwater that guards the entrance to Nawiliwili harbour. There are rainbows just about everywhere in Hawai'i. Can't see a rainbow? Wait a few minutes.
Someone once corrected me after I had said Kaua'i, pointing out that it is pronounced Hawai'i. She had never even set foot anywhere the islands. With one look, Gail silenced me before things got ugly. She is a saint. She saves me on a regular basis: SuperWife!
Speaking of rainbows...it was on Kauai that my DH and I and two other friends drove through a rainbow! We were in a convertible, and watched each other change colors and then "WaaaaaaaY COOOOled" it all the way to wherever we were going. It was a rare and truly special experience.
I always stop for the baby chickens and their moms. Fortunately they seem to be smart enough to stay out of the middle of the busy main roads. They do occasionally cross the road with is very cute seeing the hen followed by her trail of chicks
I tend to yell at the roosters, who do go into the middle of the roads. They appear not to be so bright and seem to have a death wish. I yell, YOU STUPID THING!!!!!!!!!," as i try to avoid them. Then i generally think, as in every time i think this, their heads are so small they must not have a lot of brains for that big body...hahahaha
While we are discussing interesting hawai'ian trees, could someone please tell me what these 2 pictures represent? The top one was seen at the Hawai'i National Botanical Gardens (Papaiku, HI) and the bottom one was seen at the Dole plantation on Oahu.
It has been 2 years and I still couldn't identify them by myself.
No. I am sure it was HAWAI'I TROPICAL BOTANICAL GARDEN
27-717 Old Mamalahoa Highway
Papaikou, HI 96781
The place is built into a ravine and you walk down the steep incline while looking at all the beautiful tropical specimens. Then you realize you'll need mountain goat DNA to get back here. I seriously considered building a little house down there and remaining there for the rest of my life because I never envisaged I could climb back up there with my heart problem. Luckily, they have golf carts to take you back up. I tipped the driver handsomely; he had certainly saved me a trip to the emergency room. One of my friends decided to show everyone what great physical shape she had. Well guess what: she made it to the top but if the hill had been 20 feet higher, she would have collapsed before she got to the top. Instead, she collapsed onto the first available bench she saw, by the side of the road.
We live in the Kailua-Kona area just a few miles from Mlassi in Kainaliu. We retired here four and a half years ago and have had no regrets. We came from a beach area of California so the ocean and its activities were important to us. We had a 40' by 100' lot and though after many years of trying we converted much of our sand to soil and grew quite a few things on our little lot, this is a gardener's paradise in comparison. We have closer to 1/2 acre here and grow limes, lemons, papayas, bananas, mangos, figs, and a variety of greens as well as many tropical ornamentals. But living here is not for everyone. Our daughter is grown, our parents are gone, and we go back to California often to see friends and family. Also we can do volunteer jobs instead of getting up at 5 daily to teach in public school as we did all of our working lives. We have good health insurance too, so we are very lucky compared to people with families who are having a hard time staying employed and suffering with the high cost of living. We are used to, and comfortable with a multi-ethnic population and the many customs and values that brings with it. We are never bored, though we are sometimes frustrated with the lack of responsiveness of local government, We have no city government here, only a county that encompasses nearly every climate zone on earth, and is as big as many states. the center of power is on the other side of the island even though something like 65-70% of revenues are generated on this side, mainly through resorts and tourist related business. Most of the people we know who retired here after many visits are here to stay, but we know of many people who returned to the mainland too.
After the big Hurrican Iniko...the chickens were blown around with the wild Kalij(sp?) Pheasants and the crosses made beautiful wild chickens!!!
Anyone with any serious health issues should consider living on Oahu. The outer islands have relatively few doctors, even Kaiser HMO sends anyone with a pimple to Honolulu for treatment. This is NOT an area for the timid, the faint of heart and health nor anyone who is dependent upon others.
I would not live anywhere else in this world! Except maybe New Zealand!