How to Move to Hawaii (or anywhere you want)

Beautiful Mauna Lani Hotel beach.

Beautiful Mauna Lani Hotel beach.

You can do it! You can move or travel to anywhere no matter how much or how little money you have. You can.

As a life long lover of winter, my friends and family were quite surprised when we moved to Hawaii. Other friends, couldn’t believe we could do it. Most people who ask me about it wonder, “how do you just move to Hawaii?” “Isn’t it expensive?” or “Isn’t it hard to do?”

Believe it or not…not really. The hardest part is generally figuring out where to go once you get here. In our case, after figuring out the cheapest flights here (out of San Jose, CA; one way; on New Year’s Day), it was a matter of making hotel reservations and then finding piece of land we both liked and could afford. We stayed in a hotel for 10 days while we found the land we liked and then lived in a tent — in Hawaii — while building our house (we ended up selling the house and getting the one across the street, but that’s a whole other story!).

I think what amazes people the most, aside from the pictures I post of fresh avocados the size of your head and tropical beaches in January, is that we just decided to go. And then we did. Therein lies the biggest hurdle of all. People write to me all of the time and are truly flummoxed that we have done some of things we have done. We have lived in Alaska. We have traveled around the country in a renovated school bus and then an RV. We moved to Hawaii. We owned restaurants – including one on our favorite lake in Wisconsin until we decided we didn’t really want a bar in our basement.

We are not millionaires (yet, I’m working on it). And somehow we keep doing all of the things we dream about. HOW? My friends want to know. Well, it’s really simple. You have to decide to do them. I know a lot of people who think they want to move to a tropical island or think they want more money or think they want to travel a lot, but when it comes to giving up some of the other things — the trappings, if you will, of their comfortable lives — they won’t do it. They don’t really want to drive around and sleep in unfamiliar places. They don’t want to potentially be stuck on the side of the road in the Yukon Territory while their husband changes the fuel pump in their school bus and then drive the 50-odd miles to the nearest gas station to retrieve more gas for the school bus because it leaked all over the place and then drive back again and then head out — again.

They don’t want to be cold, like I have been dragging behind a sled dog team through the snow trying to upright my sled while it was moving so that I could slow my team down a big hill.

Because while these sound like great adventures (and sometimes they are, although I could do without snow and ice in my bra), they require a little planning, and a desire to get off the couch. Really, isn’t it just much easier to watch the travel channel and go to work on Monday than it is to actually go do things? For some people it is. My father is a great example. I love my dad and have begged him, over the years, to get on a plane and come visit us wherever we are. I have offered to pay. My father said, unremarkably, that he didn’t need to go to Alaska (or Hawaii) because he could see it on TV — and doesn’t like to fly.

Well, OK. There’s no arguing with that. For him, it’s not even about the money or the cost of it. For him, it’s about being unwilling to get out of his comfort zone. He’s happy with that and that’s great for him. To his credit, he doesn’t lament about not having adventures – he truly doesn’t want them. And that’s OK! It’s like people who don’t want children. I am so glad that there are people who just know they don’t want them — instead of all of the people who think they should have them, and then neglect them — or worse. I, obviously, am not one of those people! I wanted lots of kids and had them (I have 8), and I wanted lots of adventures and keep on having them.

So, how do you move to Hawaii? Or Alaska? Or Canada? Or Australia? It’s really simple once you DECIDE TO DO IT. Just decide. Picture it in your head. Picture packing up your stuff, saying goodbye to friends and family, promise to post a lot on Facebook or Instagram, and then figure out the steps you need to take in your life. There is no one path. Some people get jobs first and then relocate. I have always worked from home on the computer, so that’s not been an obstacle for me. Figure out, through your research, where in this new place you want to live. In Alaska, we picked the Kenai Peninsula because the weather is a little more mild and it’s near the ocean. In Hawaii, we picked the Big Island because it has more rural land available.

Your biggest task, though, is to decide. Make the decision and follow through. Remember, you can always go back to where you were – but if you get to the end of your life and you didn’t try, you can’t unregret something.

Go Forth! Kill it. Be Brave. You can!