As someone who finds myself in Hawaii often, it has occasionally been asked: Would you ever move there? So I can complete relate to today's guest post.
Moving to Hawai’i?
by W. M. Raebeck
(author of 'Silence of Islands—poems')
Though I’ll probably stay forever, and it remains something of a fantasy, there are tricky elements to Hawai’i life for newcomers from the Mainland.
Namely, the best thing about Hawai’i is also the worst: the remoteness. When you think of Hawai’i, you probably think of it as 'out there somewhere,' maybe near Fiji or Tahiti or Guam? Or perhaps it’s closer to New Zealand or the Philippines? Obviously, it’s far from the US mainland, but it’s near something else, right? Indonesia? The Cook Islands? Japan?
Wait a minute, where IS Hawai’i exactly?
Not until you live here a while does it sink in that you’re no longer near anything. Hawai’i’s closest landfall is California—2600 miles away. The Hawaiian Islands—totalling eight, and part of a larger (uninhabited) island chain called the Sandwich Islands—is the most remote archipelago on the planet!
Digesting that, your next adjustment is that you won’t be taking short trips anymore. Going away for the weekend, except to other Hawaiian islands, means flying all day Saturday to get there then all day Sunday to get home. Fun! Five and a half hours is our shortest plane ride to anywhere, and not including Honolulu stopovers. Plus the three- to six-hour time differential on the Mainland is another impediment. And, despite the challenges, when you finally do board a plane, it still feels like leaving your permanent vacation to take a temporary one. Ditching shangri-la to visit siblings in Syracuse isn’t everyone’s idea of a respite. But we miss those folks (and they rarely wash up on our shores).
Speaking of travel, let’s say you love road trips. Oops, three of our four main islands can be driven in half a day. Plus, your scenic byway will peeter out after fifty or sixty miles. So, all you can do is snap some pix then turn around and drive back—no charming B & B then resuming the road next morning. Nope, you’ll be back in your own bed in time for the evening news.
The tropics, indeed, are magical, the billowing tradewinds luxurious and romantic, the nights velvet and balmy. But the days can be bleedin’ hot. And we have to program our activities around that sizzle. In fact, most locals get up with or before the sun, since walking, running, gardening, or doing anything outdoors becomes unbearable by 9 a.m., and remains so ’til 5 p.m. You'll hear lawnmowers and weed-whackers are still going strong at 6 or 7 p.m.
Also, after a while, Hawai’i can seem something of a theme park. Though Covid has temporarily terminated tourism, normally luaus, hula dancers, surfboards, Hawaiian shirts, and ukuleles plaster the panorama. Hawaiian music pipes from commercial locales and Jeeps crammed with giddy visitors pile up at every scenic overlook, drive-up eatery, and tiki bar.
Or maybe you fancy cozying up to a fireplace on a wintry night with a snifter of brandy? We don’t have fireplaces—how 'bout a beach fire with some brewskis? Or you like going to Europe now and then? Europe’s a million miles from here. For us, the East Coast is the Far East. (And the actual Far East is almost as close as California.)
But we don’t mind the trade-offs. Remoteness is our saving grace—assuring genuine peace, clean air, and sparkling water. Our broiling tropics allow shorts and flip-flops year-round, a 12-month growing season, and fresh water falling from the sky. We swim all year in turquoise seas, gape at daily rainbows, and follow the phases of the moon. We greet each other with aloha and it’s not fake. Our towns are safe, neighborhoods friendly. We’re not 'poliitical' and we avoid disagreement. And though we're technically one of the United States, we perceive ourselves as separate.
So despite exhausting travel, no weekend getaways, scorching afternoons, and the commercial side of aloha, over here we have a saying that’s heard frequently and sincerely, "Lucky we live Hawai’i."
|Author W. M. Raebeck|
For more information about W. M. Raebeck, Silence of Islands and a chance to win a copy of the book, visit Blog Tour + Giveaway: Silence of Islands.
More posts about Hawai'i can be found here: