When I think about Hawaii, only happy memories flood my mind. To me, Hawaii is the most amazing place to grow up. You truly get both worlds. There is an amazing city life with a small town feel where you are only 3 degrees separated from the person standing in front of you in the grocery store. Anywhere you go, you are usually less than 30 minutes from dipping your toes in the pacific ocean or a hiking to a breathtaking view. Not to mention, the food is incredible and so diverse. I still can't stop thinking about all the food!
The decision to move away was an extremely difficult decision for our family. We just couldn't imagine leaving everything we knew. From our family and friends, to the security of our home. Many people ask us, how could we ever leave and why would we?
As amazing as island life is, there is the reality of daily life. The cost of living in Hawaii is very high. The average cost for a gallon of milk is about 5 to 6 dollars. Rent for a one bedroom is approximately 1200 to 1500 and trust me there are no amenities included with that price and it is a very SMALL one bedroom. While there are many cities with a high cost of living, most people will make significantly more in their salary to pay for the higher cost of their city. Not so in Hawaii. Here is a great article about the cost of living in Hawaii in more detail: http://www.civilbeat.com/2015/02/living-hawaii-warning-signs-many-people-can-earn-more-elsewhere/
That being said, the culture in Hawaii is to live with your parents until you can afford to buy your own place. Many are never able to afford to move out and many opt to simply build onto their family's existing home or wait to inherit a home or piece of land. It is typical to find more than just the immediate family living under one household. Without family, many struggle to pay the bills. There is a large growing homeless population because while many do work, they just cannot afford a home.
We are lucky enough to have very supportive family but even while we both were working and living at home. It just wasn't enough to buy a home. To us, the ability to afford a home was a big part for our move. Many people who move away wish they didn't have to, but you can only go for so long just surviving before you start to look for other options.
Besides a cheaper cost of living, the ability to travel cheaply and easily is a big bonus. I love the fact that we can drive a few hours and visit a place we have never been to! While we no longer have easy access to the ocean, it is just a few hours away. Living on the mainland, we get to experience seasons and snow!! I didn't know how much I LOVE wearing boots! I didn't own a single pair until we moved here. I am now addicted and my collection is slowly growing.
Being away from our family has been extremely difficult. We have discovered that sometimes the distance brings together your family more than you ever thought. When we visit Hawaii, it's like we never left and we truly cherish our time with everyone so much more. We soak in the sun just a little longer and hug our family for just a few seconds more since we don't know when we will be back. Luckily we live in a day and age where there is Skype, social media and airplanes to keep us all connected. I try to look at all the positives because it is so easy to get homesick.
While it has definitely been a transition for all of us, we know that this adventure is far from over and one day we may find ourselves back living in Hawaii. Luckily we have made new friends and are slowly finding our place here. We plan to purchase our first home soon, my daughter is able to go to preschool (She was very behind socially so it's amazing to see the growth preschool has given her) and I am able to finally have a space of my own for my business. We have been able to save while being able to almost finish paying our student loan as well.
Moving to the mainland has made me appreciate the rich culture that Hawaii provided us growing up. I realize that it is something lacking in this young town and something I long for more than the ocean. I hope that I am still able to share pieces of Hawaii with my daughter with yearly visits back but I know it will never be the same. It is a sacrifice that I hope she understands we've made so that she can experience other amazing opportunities I feel she will be able to have here.