Thursday, July 25, 2013

Moving to Rural Hawaii -- A Really Big Change

One of the hard things we found about moving here is that everything is so totally different from wherever you came from. It's sort of like moving to a foreign country where they speak almost the same language. When hubby and I lived in England, I experienced that same sort of sensation......I was mostly comfortable with the language, but everything was so different. Yes Dorothy, we're not in Kansas anymore! On top of it, switching from a urban/suburban life to a rural life was pretty drastic. 

So many of the people moving to Hawaii have the wrong impression about what they are moving to. They are seeing the world through rose colored glasses, for sure. We experienced a bit of that, but we were far more realistic than most people. I tried really hard to know what I was getting into. Athough we were running away from the stressful life and running to "paradise", we at least made an attempt to keep our eyes open and see reality. 

So what could be so different? about just about everything! 

1- Weather. We left damp cold winters, hot humid summers, snowstorms, ice storms, thunderstorms, heat waves. We moved to a mild climate, much like a perpetual first week of June in New Jersey. 
2- We left behind masses of mosquitos, ticks, chiggers, greenhead flies, strawberry flies, and fleas. We now battle constant ants, centipedes, giant cockroaches, and lots of spiders.
3- We traded snakes in for geckos. 
4- We had 4 major shopping malls within 30 minute drive with plenty of stores, restaurants, and businesses. We now are happy to have at least an Ace Hardware within 10 minutes. "Real stores" are 2 hours away. 
5- Before we had dozens upon dozens of restaurants to choose from and every cuisine you could desire. Now you can count our choices on one hand, and forget about foreign cuisine. Just be glad that the food is edible. 
6- We use to have choices when we wanted a service. Now we are glad to at least have an auto mechanic in the area, a hair dresser, a bank, a business service store, a gift shop, a drugstore, a dentist, a doctor, etc. No choices, but at least we've got one. 
7- We left behind the crowds of people and the traffic congestion. To find a crowd you need to go to the post office at 2 pm when it reopens after lunch. Traffic congestion is Sunday around the churches. 
8- We use to drive on streets with lots of traffic lights. Most were two lanes each direction. We were surrounded by high speed turnpikes and parkways. Now we have just a few simple roadways and no traffic lights. Not all of our roadways are even paved here. 
9- We left behind the nightlife. Nightlife now means going to bed at 8 pm. 
10- We left behind the stressful life, the suspicion, the fear, the major crime. It isn't perfect here, but I don't miss all that crazy lifestyle. I've come to appreciate the dull and boring, but the safe and relaxed. 
11- Winter/spring/summer/fall. Gone are the dramatic changes of the seasons. Seasonal changes still happen here, but they are more subtle. Oh, I miss to sound of Spring Peepers, the smell of spring, the scent of lilacs and hyacinths, the first warm day, the smell of autumn leaves, the crisp feel of the first frost, the sound of snowfall. But I surely don't miss freezing, sweltering, dealing with horrendous humidity on a hot summer day. 

Moving by itself is a major hurdle. But moving to such a different life is even more of a challenge, in my experience. Luckily I had some training runs beforehand. We had spent quite a bit of time living in England. We also spent time living in Taiwan. Thus I treated Hawaii as another foreign country. It made the move much more understandable. Not real easy mind you, but something that I had experience with adapting to. 

Leaving behind my city habits took a lot of time and even lots of effort. Adopting a rural viewpoint took even more effort. But I am truly pleased that we made the change. I don't ever want to go back to that previous lifestyle. Am I now a country hick? I truly hope so! 


  1. I moved to a village of about 500 people after living 10 years in very busy Miami. We have no traffic light and most of the traffic through our village - which is off "the regular beaten path" - is from tourists going up to visit our local landmark, the waterfalls.

    My setting is not as rural as yours and I am closer to a 'town' than you are, but everything else you mention is the same.

    I would not trade my life now for the one I led before.

  2. Hi, I'm from Hawaii too but it's so expensive to move in Rural Hawaii that I'm planning on moving to the mainland.

    1. For someone already living in Hawaii, I'm not sure what would be so expensive in moving to rural Hawaii. At least in Ka'u, housing and other expenses are considerably more reasonable than the rest of the state. This is one of the reasons people move to Ka'u.

      Housing is indeed far cheaper on much of the mainland. That's not a surprise to us Hawaiian residents. But I've seen people take alternate routes in the rural areas to skirt the high real estate prices. or lease into a hui an ohana a property caretaker
      ...make a deal with a farmer/rancher to park a tiny house on wheels in a secluded grove
      ...long term lease a piece of land and have an agreement with the landowner to be allowed to build a tiny house (unpermitted of course and to be left behind if you move, or at the end of the lease) land with a large lava tube and modify it for housing cheap land and live camping style or in a camper