Living in Hawaii in 1990’s vs. Today – Change?

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Here is a note from a woman that will be deciding with her husband about moving to Hawaii soon, I’ll call her “Sharon”. Sharon has a couple of concerns, that I think I can address. If you as a reader have anything to add – feel free. I know a lot of you must have something to say – for advice on some of these notes, but I don’t often get any comments about that. Feel free to say it from your perspective, it might help a great deal for people considering moving to the Hawaiian Islands. I know I have a rather jaded – anyone can do it if they WANT it bad enough – outlook. There are many people that have tried to move to Hawaii, failed, and are now jaded the other way. Let us know of your experiences too so this blog doesn’t become too one-sided.

I’ll respond within the body of her note to me…

Sharon: Hi, or should I say aloha? I saw your videos about your book. A couple things concern me like the crime and prejudice (if we move, we have to bring our kids).

However, my question is more about health services. I have cancer, stage four, I’ve done all the chemo that’s available and radiation where I live, and I wanted to know if there are any cancer centers on Oahu. Where I live, the only place you can legally smoke is in your home, car, or outdoors. Being a cancer victim, I need to know if places I’ll be frequenting (e.g. restaurants, social events, etc.) will have people exhaling toxins in my air.

Peter: Good question Sharon – and yes, it is smoke free. From the site – with the complete article here.

The Hawaii State Legislature recently passed a comprehensive Smoke-Free Law that will affect employers statewide.  Smoking will be prohibited in all “enclosed and partially enclosed” businesses, state and county facilities, or places open to the public.  The law takes effect on November 16, 2006.

About cancer treatment centers on Oahu – I am pretty clueless, having not needed anything in that direction. Here is a Google query on the subject… I found the first 5 links look very relevant: “Where is best cancer center on Oahu?

Sharon: I also want to know about the lifestyle in general. I visited Oahu decades ago for a few days during my honeymoon but I’m worried that didn’t give me an accurate view of true island life, especially now that two decades have passed. Years later when traveling, I chose to visit areas locals frequented rather than the tourist spots so I could get a true representation of local life (e.g. Morocco). I didn’t get to do that in Oahu.

Peter: I would say that anyone visiting Oahu, or any of the islands is not getting an accurate picture of what it would be like to live there. Not at all, and probably especially not on your honeymoon. Living in Hawaii and visiting Hawaii are vastly different experiences. Please read my book, “Moving to Hawaii 2012”, you can find it at,, and here on the right side column. The price is just under $5 and you’ll have a better idea what life in the islands might be like for you after reading it. You can also click here to see most of the articles I’ve written about Hawaii on the site here, most of them leaning toward the focus – living in Hawaii and moving to Hawaii.

Sharon: Can you tell me if things have changed since the early 90s or is Hawaii a place that’s slow to change?

I know it changed drastically from the 60s (when my grandparents went) to the 90s (when I went). If so, what’s changed other than the increase in restaurants and such? I don’t expect you to tell me everything that’s changed, only the ones I might have concerns about when moving there with my family.

Peter: You know, I don’t think things have changed much from the 90’s. That’s my perception of it anyway, some may disagree. Sure things change, but, there isn’t any more land to build upon on Oahu – things cannot change that much. There isn’t room for more people to live comfortably, and the growth rate of residents in Hawaii hasn’t been that phenomenal that the population doubled in the couple decades. It’s actually quite a bit the same each time I go back.

Sharon: Three of my four kids are graduated, the fourth is still in high school. My oldest and third daughters are outgoing (social butterflies) yet in many ways shy like my second, my second is very sensitive, my third is a special needs child (she has Selective Mutism so she has speech issues and, therefore, social anxieties like fear of peer acceptance and prejudice against her). She is 15 so she still has a couple years of high school left.

Peter: Are you saying you are going to bring your child with special needs to a completely different environment, and change everything she knows? I think that’s probably not a good idea. Maybe wait until she graduates school where you are presently, and move later. Hawaii, if anything, is a social place. It’s packed with people and the people are from all walks of life, and many different countries and ethnic backgrounds.

Sharon: For the most part, I’m like a single mom ’cause my husband works out of state five days a week or more. Right now his contract is in Kansas, shortly he may be in another state, never know which. No matter how close to home he may travel, it’s rough, away from home is still away from home.

Peter: You didn’t mention anything about finances, so I guess you’re set. That’s good! At least you’ll be able to find the best help for your daughter as she attempts to adjust to the profound change that awaits her if you do decide to move before she graduates.

Sharon: Mahalo and hope to hear from you soon.

Peter: No problem, I hope I helped a bit. You’ve seen the videos already…your best bet is to read all the articles written here (over 200) and read the book about moving to Hawaii. Please strongly consider holding off on your move until your daughter graduates high school…

Best of life to you and your family!




About the Author:

I’ve lived Hawaii since the mid ‘80s when I moved here at the age of 21. I arrived site-unseen in Honolulu with zero contacts and about $5k in savings. I worked from nearly zero and today Hawaii has given me the greatest gifts in the world in all aspects: spiritually, financially, romantically (married since early ‘90s w/ 2 children), and most important, peace. My goal with this site is to share the magic of this Land of Aloha and help others who are on a similar quest.


  1. Lloyd Elliott 05/25/2014 at 2:44 am - Reply

    Hi Vern, I have being reading of your many comments about Hawaii; I am used to island living, but I need a more exotic type of living. Hawaii has being on my mind. I am single,senior, in excellent health and just need to get away from the many headaches that other places offer. I would like to keep up with your news letters until I can arrange the trip.
    See you again soon.

    • Vern 05/27/2014 at 7:42 pm - Reply

      Hi Lloyd,

      I was sending out regular email a while back but my priorities have changed and I’ve focused on other issues. Jon Blum at has a great site filled with info and he does still send out regular newsletters. Sign up over there! Aloha and best of luck and life to you!

  2. Michele Muir White, Maui Real Estate Guru 03/19/2013 at 11:18 pm - Reply

    Aloha Vern,

    After reading Sharon’s concerns about moving to Oahu and being stage 4 with cancer. All I can say is Queens Medical Center saved my mother’s life more than 16 years ago and she was stage 4 with ovarian cancer. They even serenade you with ukulele as you leave the hospital after treatments. Back in those days they were advanced enough to practice “Healing Touch” therapy. Does Oahu have the best cancer treatments in the world? Don’t know the answer to that question but Hawaii does have the “happiest”, “healthiest” population base in the U.S.

    Aloha and best wishes to Sharon.

    Michele Muir White R(S), ABR, SFR Maui Real Estate Guru
    Coldwell Banker Island Properties

  3. Trixie 11/19/2012 at 4:29 pm - Reply

    Aloha Vern, just came across your site and have been reading your articles for the past hour. Yes, I am planning a move to Hawaii. I’m even more determined now after doing more research and reading your articles. I am 23 years old living in Washington state. I am in the process of transferring to a university with my associates degree I can’t do much. Although, I am stuck between moving to Hawaii to create a new life, or going to school in Washington then move. Thing is I’m so unmotivated to apply to schools here because that would mean I would have to stay here for another 2 years. Here are some reasons why I chose Hawaii as an escape, besides all of the wonderful things Hawaii has to offer I also have family there that I can live with and not have to pay rent or only a small amount. I also work at a hotel, and can easily transfer to hotels in Oahu. Sheraton Waikiki, Moana Surfrider, Sheraton Princess etc.. I have a couple options. Hawaii pays the highest employees for front desk agents with a salary of 34,000 a year. I don’t think I would be needing a car I would just take a bus to Oahu, my family lives in Kaneohe. I personally think I can do it, I just need more research and insight on how I would be surviving there. I also plan on going to school there for Tourism and Travel management. I won’t be able to afford out of state tuition since I won’t be a resident until after a year so I would have to wait a year. I guess I’m writing to you just to get some insight on my move. What do I need to look into more? What I should prepare for? Thanks for your time

    • Vern 11/19/2012 at 5:33 pm - Reply

      Hi Trixie,

      I think if you have family there already – you should just GO! How many people have that opportunity?

      On I have a book notice in the upper right hand side – go get it for $4.99, and read it. There is a TON of information in there about moving.

      Also, go see the videos at youtube I did about moving to Hawaii – here is the first one, there are 4.

      I think if you think you can make it, based on your work and living conditions- you should, without a doubt, go. Everyone plays it conservative, and few risk it… yours isn’t much of a risk. I think much better to experience the world, rather than get locked into the traditional ways of living… I left home at 18 to go into the Air Force and was lucky enough to get stationed on Oahu. Anywhere would have been better than remaining in Western Pennsylvania – I assure you.

      Go where your heart is…

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