3 Months In Hawaii - What I have learned so far about relocating to the islands
So, I am at the start of my 4th month living in Honolulu. What a trip. I never thought I would be living here. Just 6 months ago I was vacationing here and now I call Hawaii home. This has been a one hell of a change in my life. I have learned quite a bit in my 3 months so far on Oahu. Here are some items that have stuck out to me.
1) It’s expensive here. I know everyone says it but yes everything is expensive here. Food and housing especially. Lucky for me I was used to a higher cost of living, coming from Los Angeles, but it is still a little shocking how much certain things can cost. I can’t imagine coming from the Midwest or south where cost of living is much lower. If you are familiar in living in LA, SF or NY, Honolulu is much more manageable.
2) You are not on vacation. I landed here on a Sunday and I started my new job the very next day. At no point did I feel like I was on a vacation living here. I think some people come here thinking that life will be like a vacation. It isn’t. It is hard work to live here, especially first moving here. I came here with about 4 bags. Clothes, computer and some DJ gear. My wife came with me the first week but then had to go back to LA to handle moving our furniture and more importantly handle moving our dogs. The first few months I was sleeping on a blowup bed and pretty much by myself.
3) Finding a rental with dogs is tough. I am not sure why. This island seems very dog friendly but finding a rental that takes dogs is VERY hard in Honolulu. It might be that the short-term rental market (VRBO, AirBnB) is so prevalent here that people don’t want pets to help with quick rentals. Looking online at apartments and rentals, when you filter your search with those rentals that take dogs, it cuts it down by more than half. Little dogs are easier to deal with when looking.
4) My situation was unique. To even consider moving to Hawaii, there were certain criteria in a job offer that I would need. I honestly didn’t think I was going to get an offer that I would seriously consider because I have read so many stories where people take less money in their positions to move to Hawaii. I honestly got an offer that I couldn’t refuse. That is not the norm here. I was very fortunate to get the offer I received, and I am very grateful that I was provided the opportunity to move here.
5) There will be hiccups. As I often say, “paradise comes with a price”. Moving here required a huge leap of faith for my wife and I. Lucky for me I already have friends and family on the island and those connections helped me quite a bit when moving here. Before my wife and dogs arrived in April, there were moments of depression. Wondering why I was doing this? Was it worth it? There was a lot of self-doubt. I have never moved away before. I have been in the same general area my entire life. This was a huge change that I am still getting used to. This was a personal challenge for me to do this. I still take it as a challenge every day. I am here to test myself, in my career, in my personal space, in my music. Regardless of the trials and self-doubt, this will be worth it.
6) Hawaii is beautiful. I mean I know that goes without saying. Before I lived here, I have been to the islands a lot but now I see it differently. I am getting to know the neighborhoods, the local spots. The people are beautiful. There is definitely an aloha vibe and it is real. That is one of the main reasons I love living here. The vibe is tough to beat. I am glad to be in Honolulu though. I don’t think I could last on one of the other islands. I do enjoy the city life and Oahu is the only island that has a major city. I discovered that I am very much a “townie” (the Hawaiian equivalent to “urban”). While I love the ocean and beach, I am pretty much a city dude.
7) Starting over as DJ actually a good thing. Lucky for me I have good connections here in Hawaii, so I have been pretty much been able to get regular gigs here so far. But I have to rebuild my name and brand here. People don’t know me here as well. So, I have to spread my brand, meet the players here, get involved in the scene. It helps that there are people that have spent time in LA here and know what I did in LA the past 27 years but yeah for the most part, it is me going after gigs, pushing my sound and brand out there. Not a bad thing at all.
8) I miss LA. I do. I love Los Angeles. It is my home. While I live in Honolulu right now, LA is always home to me. But LA will be there when I am ready to go back, I have a good plan to focus on certain things while I am here. Los Angeles is full of distractions and while I miss them very much, it also got in the way of me focusing on my relationships, my music and my IT career. All things that I plan to do while I am here. I do admit I feel isolated here. Not that this is a bad thing, but it is real. I miss road trips to the central coast and bay area; desert parties and I miss my music community in LA. But I will be back a few times a year until I move back to mainland. This is a unique experience that not many get to do in life. I get to live in Hawaii. That is pretty awesome. I don’t know how long I will be here, but I know that while I am here, I will enjoy my time here.