Should I Move to Hawaii?

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Shortboard Surfer on Wave at North Shore, Oahu, Hawaii

Copyright 2011, Christian Van Dyke.

I’ve written a number of posts about living in Hawaii and moving to Hawaii. Sometimes I contemplate it myself as I sit here in Thailand and think about all the amazing waves I’ve been missing over the last 6 years. It’s enough to bring tears to my eyes!

Hawaii is the ultimate wave location. I don’t think any place in the world beats it. If you’ve surfed, bodyboarded, bodysurfed in Hawaii – you may have become addicted. It’s a real addiction. It’s the ultimate experience on the planet I think. Move to Hawaii if you want to live among awesome waves and you can make a lot of money – over $5,000 per month. Or, move if you don’t care about money and want to survive on $2,000 per month. Plenty of people there do so. It will be a tough existence I think – but, possible. What in life is easy – right? Hawaii is worth the sacrifice for many people. Heck, there are homeless people moving to Hawaii. What a perfect place to move to be homeless – right?

So, over the past couple of days I’ve been looking at moving to Maui, Kauai, or Oahu again… Possibly even Big Island, but I think I’d be happier at one of the other 3 islands I mentioned.

Hawaii has a magnetism about it. It’s a draw that pulls on you from the time you leave. If you’ve lived in Hawaii and then moved away – you know exactly what I’m talking about. There is something addictive about living in the islands, Hawaiian Style. It’s hard to believe you actually left one of the greatest places, perhaps THE greatest place in the world to live. You will second guess moving away probably for the rest of your life.

I find myself in that spot now… move back to Hawaii and start over, or stay? Here in Thailand my lovely wife and daughter and I have enough. We’re quite happy here. Thailand or Hawaii?

In thinking about “Should we move to Hawaii?” Here are some positive reasons to move:

  • Our baby girl will grow up in an amazing place, loving the water, swimming, snorkeling, hiking, boating, etc.
  • I’ll be 5,000 miles closer to my son.
  • We can make as much, and save as much living in Hawaii – as Thailand.
  • We have good residual income at the moment – which should last a couple years – enough to get us established in Hawaii
  • There are jobs in Hawaii for what I do, and I should be able to get something making $60K pretty quickly.
  • The temperatures in Hawaii are even more ideal than Thailand. It’s quite hot and humid in TH – all year in the south.
  • My daughter and wife can learn English to a degree that it sounds perfectly natural.
  • They both can have citizenship in TH and USA.
  • My wife can have a better understanding of me – because she’ll see how things work in Hawaii – USA.
  • Thailand is extremely difficult to understand. I understand America. I don’t like it all the time – but I ‘get it’.
  • Hawaii has the same types of activities as I have now to do.
  • It need not be a permanent move. It can be for 4 years as our daughter turns 5 and needs to go to school. Where is a better place to school her Hawaii or Thailand? That’s like asking where should I fish – a puddle or a swimming pool? There is no good answer.
  • It would be a great experience for my wife, who has not been out of Asia.
  • We’d be closer to my family – which would mean I get to see my neices, nephews, and everyone – more.
  • I could list another 100 small things that would be relevant to whether we – or anyone, should move to Hawaii – but I think these are most of the big reasons for moving.

There are some reasons not to move to the Hawaiian islands at this time for us too:

  • Thailand is fine – we’re happy here. Why change things?
  • We’ll pay 3-4 times the cost of our housing right now – and get 1/4th the space we have.
  • We’ll pay 3 times the cost of food. Etc… all costs are much higher in Hawaii obviously.
  • There is more stress living in Hawaii than TH. But there is much less stress living in Hawaii versus the mainland USA.
  • Traffic on Oahu – if that’s where we go.
  • We’ll have to buy a car, furniture, etc.
  • It is tough to start a business there. I love to start businesses – and Thailand is so much easier to do so.
  • Initial costs to move would be around $7,000.

So, other than cost – there isn’t much reason NOT to move to Hawaii. In fact, that is always the situation – right? Doesn’t matter if you’re in the mainland US, or somewhere else in the world like we are – it’s always a decision of cost. Spending the cash to get to Hawaii, get set up, and thrive. Right?

Well, there is the immaturity factor or the kids factor. If you don’t want your kids to grow up in Hawaii – you’ve got a valid concern. If you’re 19 and thinking about moving to Hawaii – it could be a great thing, or a tragedy – depending entirely on what you’re looking to get out of it. If you’re a single mom moving to Hawaii with two kids and limited job opportunities – you’ve gotta be realistic.

There’s no doubt that we can. I know enough about the islands to know just how to go about everything. There is some uncertainty in my mind because I’ve not been in the USA for 6 years now. I’ve acclimated to Thailand’s culture. I’m very laid back now. I’m less stressed than ever in my life. We’re happy here, and pretty unsure where we want our family to grow up… Hawaii or Thailand, or possibly, though not likely, some other US mainland location… Utah? Colorado?

Have you recently moved to Hawaii? Are you glad you did? What problems did you face? What advice would you give to others making the move?



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. Alicia 12/07/2018 at 2:15 am - Reply

    Does anyone know what the best middle and high schools in Hawaii are? What Island is best for kids? I want to move her too. I just want to make sure I’m making g the right decision too. Thank you!

  2. gabriel 02/01/2013 at 8:54 pm - Reply

    hey man i just wanted to say i thought this site was awesome. see me and my wife and two kids wanna move to hawaii…thats where my wifes originally from.and shes finally tired of the cold. we live in oregon.
    i got alot of information reading abt your site. exactly what i wanted to know. because see im really worried about moving there for fear we may not make it lol…. anyway im a welder and make abt 43 thousand a year.. and my wife has an accounting degree.. do you think we would make it and live ok? or good even?.. anyway hope to hear from you soon.

    • Vern 02/05/2013 at 3:32 pm - Reply

      Hi Gabriel,

      I think it’s not a matter of whether you have job skills that are needed on the islands as much as it matters how hard you are willing to go look for one. Welders are needed all over. I don’t have any insight into whether or not there are consistent openings in that field. I’d guess – yes, but it’s just a guess. What you’d really need to do is to go to the islands with the idea in mind to research the job market and see whether or not jobs can be found easily.

      Good luck to you!



  3. Elizabeth 10/04/2011 at 9:24 am - Reply

    I have horses…what kinds of accommodations are there in Hawaii to keep horses or find suitable boarding for one’s horses, and is the climate not suitable for these animals…(bugs, tics. etc.) Can homes where horses may be kept, available, and reasonably priced? Are there hay farmers where one may purchase hay for the animals? Eliz.

    • Byron 11/29/2011 at 12:12 pm - Reply

      I don’t live in Hawaii, but have visited several times. There are a few ranches on the North Shore of Oahu and in the upcountry on Maui. I just googled oahu horse boarding and got several hits. As for for climate – it is wonderful. Never bitterly cold and never sweltering hot. It will get comfortably cool in the evenings, if you are by the ocean and alittle warm during the day if you are inland. Bugs are minimal compared to what we have in KS. Housing can be interesting. Land is at a premium, so having a house on the land that you keep your horse on would be exceptionally expensive. The one advantage right now is that their real estate market is still depressed, so there are deals to be made – if you can find something that fits what you are looking for.

      If you haven’t visited Hawaii, you really should take a vacation there and look around, not as a tourist, but as a potential mover. This will give you a much better idea of where you would like to live and where the stables are. Then when you do your research you will have a much better idea if something fits your wishes.

      Best of luck.

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