In early 2014, I hosted a “365 Things to Do in Hawaii” community meet up at Keauhou Bay to meet some of my readers who had recently made the big move to the Big Island. It was fun to hear all the stories of why they came and what they planned on doing for business, lodging, schools, etc. All of them said they had read my blog to help them make the exciting transition to island life. However, I kept feeling that I could offer even more advice and connections to people who feel they have been called here or just want to do something interesting/adventurous for a short time. So, I wrote a book, “How To Move to Kona” released in December of 2014 and those meet ups became the genesis of the Kona Newbies group on Facebook.
Our Family’s Arrival To Hawaii
When my husband and I stepped off Aloha Airlines with two small children in the spring of 2005, we came not knowing much about the island, the culture, the climate, housing, etc. because no one was blogging about the island or moving here. Heck, GoogleMaps/MapQuest was not even available yet. In fact, no one even knew what a blog was and Facebook was still a few years away! (I wrote a six page email to my friends about spending Christmas with a 4 foot tall tree in a condo in 80 degree weather with a toddler and a four year old-this was before the advent of Facebook, Skype, FaceTime, Google Hangouts and such.)
What We Wish We’d Known
We came in the middle of the housing boom and we had five condos to look at. That was it. “Pick one” our Realtor said. Talk about finding the lesser of two evils..all the condos we looked at needed major help and the prices were crazy, so we did not have much to choose from in our price range. We knew nothing about the school districts, which as a family with two kids, is one of the most important things to consider in a community.
We found out, belatedly, that elevation makes a big difference for where you want to live. Also, knowing about VOG was important back then.
(My husband is reminding me that we had moved here to spend only a year and that we thought we would sell the condo after the year was up and go back to our “happy little life in Silicon Valley”. Funny how life does not always go the way you expect sometimes..;-)
We also did not have a CLUE about how expensive it is to live on an island, so we should have taken it a bit easier that first year on going out to have seaside dinners!
I still wish I would have known about alot of these issues before moving here and it sure would have been nice to connect with someone before I showed up to ask questions.
Making a decision to pick up and move your life 2500-5000 miles away from your family, friends, work and home is a huge jolt to the system. It can be exciting, rewarding, adventurous, expensive, crazy, fun and scary.
Sharing the Aloha and Our Insights
When you are called to live here..and you want to stay, being of service to others is helpful. In that vein, I shared my insights, experience and the experiences of others who made the move successfully to the Big Island in my book and many people gleaned valuable insights and many to this day, come up to me in public and thank me!
So, I am updating the book.
I had hoped when I first conceived the book that it would be a bone fide “find it on Amazon” book, and it was! But now it will also be an ebook you can download with live links that I can update as time goes on.
Here is what is in the book:
2. Finding a job and why you should bring your own
3. Where to live and why you can’t decide until you get here
4. Why Hawaii is the most expensive place to live
5. What you should bring here and what to leave back home
6. Thinking ahead…things you can do to be part of the community from afar
8. Expectations you need to leave at home about living in Hawaii
9. Who you need to know and why they will make your life easier as a resident.
10. Interesting facts the locals know about your new island home.
11. How to create community so you find a sense of place in paradise, otherwise known as “How to Avoid Loneliness”
13. Resource guide on businesses you will need to make your move ALOT easier.
14 . Six things you can do to save money as soon as you arrive.