Can I make it in Hawaii alone? Will my spouse or partner and I be okay so far away from friends and family?
|Guide Series: Hawaii Living
Did you know that Hawaii is the most isolated population center on the entire planet? We’re almost 2,500 miles away from California, around 3,850 miles from Japan, 4,900 miles from China, and almost 5,300 miles away from the Philippines.
It’s hard to believe that you could feel isolated when living in state that has well over a million residents and close to ten million visitors annually. But, for many, that isolation kicks in and it’s often called Island Fever. So can this Island Fever drive people away from paradise?
Constant TurnoverIf there’s one thing you’ll quickly notice about island life it’s the constant turnover. Meaning, the large number of people who tend to leave the islands after being here for a short time.
In many cases, the reason for this is the military. Hawaii has an unusually high number of military bases and military personnel here, including government contractors that work for the military. In the case of the military, they love to move their people around every two or three years. It’s an odd system if you ask me, especially since my taxes are helping to paying for these ridiculously frequent moves. Military life is tough enough on kids and families, maybe letting them stay put for longer would help with that as well as save boatloads of money!
We also get a lot of temporary workers that are here for various jobs that may only last six months to a couple of years. On top of that, many people simply find that island life isn’t for them. It’s often said that many people who move here won’t last two years and only if they make it through their fifth year then they’re likely here for good.
There is certainly some truth to this and island life just isn’t for everyone. Of course, you’re a diehard Hawaii fan and have been dreaming of this move for many years. Certainly you’ll stand the test of time, right?
Living AloneIt takes a certain type of person to jump on a plane and move thousands of miles away from their friends, family, and hometown. Very few are up for this solo challenge. Those that have the best chance of success or going to be the fearless extroverts. If you’re the type that loves to talk to and meet new people then you’ll move here and quickly make friends.
Sure, some people you meet will be guarded and may not “let you in” right away. This is normal, we’re all so used to watching people come and go that we don’t want to waste much time with newcomers unless we know they’ll be here for a while. I mean, it’s always interesting to meet new people and learn a bit about them but there’s a boiling point where enough is enough.
This is why your neighbors, while perfectly friendly, may not take the time to get to know you right away. Don’t worry, that aloha is likely there but just takes time to come out.
So, if you can’t make friends here right away will you be okay on your own? The answer is different for everyone. In most cases you will be able to find some sort of folks that have common interests with you. It just may require some work on your part. Get out there, find some groups with common interests, volunteer your time, go to a beach or a park. The point is, you have to make a real effort to get out there and make friends or you will be living a very solo lifestyle that may break you.
Living With A Spouse Or PartnerIf you’re moving to Hawaii with a spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, or anything in-between then you’re going to be better off than moving alone. For one thing, you have the potential to have two incomes which is huge here!
But there is also the simple fact of having somebody you know that you can rely on and fall back on as needed that helps a lot. What if you get sick, need to go to the hospital, or your car breaks down? Having a partner with you makes all of these situations infinitely easier to deal with.
A partner also makes exploring that much easier and more fun. Any time you move to a new place you have to get out and explore your new world. The same applies to Hawaii, only more so. You’ll want to see the beaches, take a hike to a waterfall, or try a new restaurant. This is always more fun with somebody, not to mention safer, and it will make everything a bit less daunting compared to going it alone.
Family Is Far AwayAre you close with your family? Are you the type that talks to your mom or dad on the phone daily and sees them in person at least once a week? Well, you may have trouble adjusting in Hawaii if that’s the case.
Sure, phones work here just fine. But the difference in time zones can make things a bit more difficult at times. For example, if you’re getting off work at 5pm then go home to wash up and deal with dinner it may be 7-8pm by the time you’re done. 8pm in Hawaii will be at least 11pm on the west coast of the mainland, later everywhere else. Phone calls don’t always work out so you have to plan ahead.
As for the weekly face time you had with good old mom and dad, well that may be harder to deal with. Sure, you can Skype them and for some that will be pretty good. For others, it may not be enough. Flying back to see family can be expensive and getting time off of work may not be easy.
Maybe they can come and visit you, who wouldn’t want to visit Hawaii after all? If you were lucky enough to afford a place with a guest room then you’re ahead of the game. Otherwise, mom and dad need a hotel on top of that expensive plane ticket. For some, the financial issues won’t be a big deal. For many others, lack of funds will really dictate how little you see your family in person. It might be just once a year during a holiday, or even far less.
ConclusionThe bottom line is that living in Hawaii can be wonderful. But you have to be realistic about making friends and how often you’ll see your family. Is seeing them once a year enough? Or, are you the type that needs to spend time in person with your family more often than that? If that’s the case, Hawaii may not be for you.
Many think they can handle the distance and loneliness that Hawaii adds to their lives, and some can. Others can’t and end up packing their bags and moving away from Hawaii after just a year or two. But like they say, if you find yourself here after five years then chances are good that you belong in Hawaii.
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