This was a great email I just received. It is from a man that bought and read the Moving to Hawaii book here at the site. There are some questions about what someone might do to supplement a meager income by living off the land. If you’re considering moving to Hawaii you should read this because there is also some good information about how he and his wife are thinking about moving to Hawaii. They appear to be doing it the smart way – they’re thinking a LOT about it before they move, and they have some savings.
* * * * *
So you said you like to hear from people that are thinking about going to Hawaii. My wife and I are. We are in the very early stages, almost just brainstorming. We are 24, no children, no pets, college grads, and Pennsylvania born and raised. I am currently applying for jobs with conservational groups that partner with Americorps, the Nature Conservancy, and Waste Management. We will not head to Hawaii unless I get a job. (I do plan to come to the island for interviews and to scout for a number of days). My wife can waitress, teach yoga, and work retail.
I know a lot depends on where the job would be, if I get one, but we are very much into simple living. I have seen some ads for small “cabins” on the big island that are off-the grid or partially off the grid, with solar and catch-water systems for under $1,000. Those are exactly the kind of living arrangements we desire. We are not into shopping or nightlife. We are very open-minded and tolerant. We hope to not have cars, but would get scooters or mopeds. We have a good financial cushion already and have more coming in through inheritance. We do not want to use all that much of it though since we plan to only be in Hawaii a year or two and would start a family back on the main land. But for example we were planning, for many years, a trip to St. Lucia that would have cost around $4,000 for 7-10 days and we think it would be far better to spend that money on a shot at living on Hawaii!
The jobs I am applying for would be $1300 a month, not much at all. I suppose the jobs she would hopefully find would be in the $7-10 range.
I also have some specific questions for you, if you don’t mind.
Would it be worth it for me to contact a leasing agent if I end up getting an offer and going to Hawaii to scout it out before accepting an offer or are sources like craigslist just as good for housing?
Also how easy is it for someone to catch/hunt for food? I know there are hunting areas around Hawaii for pig and goat and lots of fish. I am an experienced hunter and fisherman. Do you think it is possible to hunt and fish to supplement your food needs?
I am very thankful for your resources so far and your willingness to talk to me as I continue the journey of possibly heading to Hawaii.
* * * * *
Thank you for the letter, I’ll answer your questions as well as I can…
Thirteen hundred dollars per month is not much – right. If your wife pulls $1,500 – and I’m talking about clearing after taxes, I think you’ll be OK. Your lifestyle sounds like you could get by on that. If you’re talking about pre-tax income, that’s going to be pretty tough to live on. Because you have savings – you should be alright either way, but spending more of it if not making much monthly income.
Using a leasing agent is OK I think, if you know what you want. Personally, I’ve never used one. It is quite possible to walk, ride a bike or scooter, or take the bus, around to see apartments and rooms when you arrive. Plus, one of the things about living in Hawaii is that the range of accommodations for the price you’ll be paying (over $500) – is huge. Just like you can buy an absolute junk home for $500,000 – you can find rentals for $1,500 that you would never step foot in. There are some places for $600 that you would rather trade for a tent on the space instead. I think it’s better for you both to see exactly what you’re getting, and where you’re getting it when you arrive. Using a leasing agent could lock you into something you don’t consider ideal or even livable.
About hunting and fishing to supplement food needs – good question. I saw some wild sheep being hunted with bow and arrow, I think it was on Kauai – can’t quite remember, it has been a while. I was on a hashing run (hash house harriers) through the forest on Oahu when someone stabbed a wild pig with a knife and it fell down a hill in front of some of the hashers. So, I guess wild pig hunting is a possibility. Click this (hunting Hawaii) to see a Google image search that shows what is possible.
You can fish for ulua – the giant Jack Crevalles that can weigh over 100 lbs. The smaller ones are good eating. I’ve eaten jacks in Florida – and they’re delicious when they’re small. Some don’t like the taste though – admittedly.
You can spear fish for octopus and fish. There are reef fish and others with ciguaterra that can poison you, so you’ll have to know what you can/should eat and what you shouldn’t. On long hikes I’ve found lots of strawberry guava, regular guava, mangoes… so that may help you too.
I remember a Hawaii fishing forum I was a member of a long time ago. Wonder if they’re still live. You might search for that. “Hawaii hunting forum”… etc.
OK then, I wish you luck on your adventure. If you move, don’t forget to write me and let me know how it’s all going! People tend to forget to let me know they’re doing after they’ve moved – and I’m dying to know!