Life in Hawaii

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I’ve lived in Hawaii for 20 years. I want to give you the top pros and cons. In my opinion, it is the best place to visit, but not the best place to live. Many locals look at the state for what it has to offer and try to ignore the cons, but I am giving you the most accurate view of what life is like on Oahu.

Many times court reporters come out to Hawaii in search of the ideal life, but return to the mainland a year later because they find the cost of living too high and the time spent in traffic too great. Hawaii is in dire need of qualified realtime reporters, but can’t get people to stay long enough. If you are realtime, there will always be a job for you.

These are ordered randomly.

Pros:
(1) stunning views – ocean and landscape
(2) no winter (more sunshine = greater happiness, more exercise opportunity)
(3) Hawaiian time – no one is in a rush
(4) tight communities, friendly people
(5) best food of anywhere! – seafood, Chinese, barbecue, chili – you name it, we have it!
(6) rich history
(7) garden year-round!

Cons:
(1) high humidity – sweating 24/7
(2) lots of petty crime – rape, drug use, theft, i.e., everyone knows someone who has had their house or car broken into.
(3) a house with a stunning view is unaffordable
(4) traffic, crowded beaches – Oahu always in the top 5 for the worst traffic in the entire US
(5) accidents are so common, making traffic worse, parking spaces are too tight
(6) low-paying jobs – entirely tourism and military dependent
(7) highest rent/electricity/food bills of almost anywhere – below just Manhattan and certain areas of CA
(8) people can’t afford to live there, but stay, resulting in kids that raise themselves and that are poorly educated and usage of drugs is high
(9) the education system is one of the worst
(10) taxes are high, as it is a liberal state; unions are strong and the only way really to get a great job, but mainly only relatives get into unions
(11) homelessness is a problem without a solution since land is limited, prices are high, and tax money is low since people barely make enough to survive
(12) median home price is projected to be a million dollars in 2018; the affordable houses are all as old in areas where your commute would be an hour-plus into town each morning
(13) insects – lots of ants, flies, and mosquitoes; centipedes, geckos, and cockroaches too
(14) as in any expensive place, there is barely a middle class, just rich and poor

I think the worst part by far is the cost of living and traffic, but to me, what bothers me is that the culture of the youth is greatly lacking. A lot of them were raised by the poor public schooling system because their parents had no extra money to send them to private schools, and they have very poor grammar. They are very unambitious in general because of the island attitude. Many smoke weed, graffiti, and have beers on the beach. This results in adults that don’t parent well, don’t have a college fund, and don’t have a retirement. So the cycle continues. This affects the rest of the experience. If you have people that are constantly struggling, there is a lot of theft and graffiti, which affects everyone.

It is no paradise by any means, but it is definitely a place to visit if you can manage the 10-hour trip. It is a truly magical place because of the land. The water sparkles, the tradewinds blow, and the flowers are very fragrant. It is worth a trip because if you stay for a week or two, you will only notice one or two of the cons on the list. Only the locals have to live with the rest.

Stay tuned for my next post on the places to visit if you’re in Hawaii and the cities to buy in if you want to live on Oahu.

4 thoughts on “Life in Hawaii

  1. I visited HI for the first time last year for a friend’s wedding (we all live in the Bay Area, CA) and I thought Oahu was great – a place that I could definitely live in. That seems to be a common thought that crosses tourists’ minds but then you realize there is a great propensity for Island Fever or just feeling disconnected from the rest of the country. I also noticed the homeless and the ghetto areas, which started to make me change my initial perspective. It’s interesting that the cost of living is so high in HI, comparable to CA even – this really surprised me. What you see portrayed in tv and movies is so different from every day life (as is usually the case). Are you from HI originally? What keeps you there?

    • Hey H Lee,

      I moved away five years ago to attend college in Houston. Then I moved to Franklin, TN, which I like very much except for the winters. My parents are leaving in January after living there their whole lives. They are moving to Houston because my brother is attending the same court reporting school that I did and they want to be near him.

      I still think Hawaii is in the top spot to visit in the US, if people can manage the airline trip length and price. I am so glad you got to visit. It is a magical place filled with rich history and breathtaking views, as you well know.

      • Yes, I can vouch for what Melody has said. I too thought I would find paradise and had planned on staying. I went to the University of Manoa for a year to study Tropical Plant Science. After a year I decided to leave, because I didn’t feel I was getting the quality of education that I was paying for, island fever, cost of living very, very high (and I live in San Francisco now), and very low wages caused me to come back to California to finish school. I am very glad I made that decision. I do miss some things there though like: taking a swim every night in the warm waters and I do miss the snorkeling. It is a beautiful place to visit, but for me not to live. 😉

  2. I lived in Honolulu for 40 years. Awesome place to raise kids. Too expensive to retire there. Now I live in Virginia and I’m retired. But I can visit Hawaii any time and I have friends and family I can stay with. Best possible outcome!

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