Cost of living, high taxes, very expensive rent and home prices, geographic and social isolation, geographic claustrophobia, culture shock… many, many come, only to find a very different world than they envisioned. Of course, I’m born and raised here, and wouldn’t live anywhere else!
I didn’t leave the first time for 3 years and the second time for 1.5 years. You either love it or you don’t .. but I came back to the mainland and raised a family cuz it’s just more affordable. Like Ryan was explaining, everything is WAY expensive out there which is why i learned to spear dive to eat .. and if I didn’t catch fish I was vegetarian. I made whatever sacrifices I needed to back then in order to stay. Now that my daughter is grown .. I’m scheming on a way back. LOL
I’ve been here 17 years- a third of my life. It’s a great place in terms of climate, but Oahu gets really small after such a long time here. It’s a far cry from NYC, where I grew up, but it’s also a long way from my family and long-time friends.
Hi, Bia. I’m not sure if you meant this question seriously or not, but I will answer you seriously.
I am from Hawaii, and I left it to go to graduate school in Seattle, where I got paid a nice stipend to do research in computer science. So I got on a plane and moved here. I guess that answers the how. :-)
As for the why… Hawaii is nice and sometimes I miss it, but probably not for the reasons you think:
- I miss the food (in particular, not getting weird looks when I ask for rice with everything).
- I miss never having to wear socks.
- I miss my friends and family.
- I really miss trying to figure out where the heck exactly is north, south, etc. rather than just saying, “go to the mauka side of the street” (mountain side) or “makai” (ocean).
- I miss people who share my values and general social expectations
But there are lots of things I don’t miss. Ryan’s already mentioned some, such as financial or economic reasons. I know some folks have trouble finding a job in Hawaii.
So here are other, practical reasons you might want to leave:
- Weather – Hawaii is very humid and during certain parts of the year, stiflingly so. And hot. It also rains a lot. Sometimes you’re just caked in sweat and don’t want to move. Seattle’s always pleasantly mild, never too hot, and doesn’t really rain as much as everyone says.
- Bugs & pests – I really hate ants, HUGE roaches, millipedes, geckos, etc. everywhere in Hawaii (very few pests in Seattle for some reason). Though mongoose are kind of cute.
- Lack of “cultural” options – I’m the kind of person that likes to go to concerts and theater and such. There’s some of that in Hawaii (I used to spend a lot of time going to the Hawaii Opera Theatre), but nowhere near as much as in Seattle! I can go to a different production or show or concert probably every night somewhere in Seattle.
- Can’t “get away” for a short trip – I lived on Oahu. It’s a small island. You can only drive around and around so far before you run out of places to see. You can’t just hop in the car and visit a new place (the way I can visit Portland, OR or Vancouver, Canada here from Seattle).
- Friends It’s easier to find people in Seattle who share my various interests, because there’s just so many people here! Also, in Hawaii, everyone knows each other (I’m exaggerating a bit…but just a bit) but if you’re the kind of person who likes a little anonymity now and then, or just wants to meet more new people, it’s easier if you’re not on a small island.
- Easier to find stuff in shops I have some weird hobbies, and there’s more shops that cater to them in Seattle. Or if I have a rarer ingredient for a recipe, it’s easier to find here also. Or if there’s a special shop that carries something I want, it’s more likely the shop has a branch here in a big town. It’s just so much easier to find stuff in a bigger city, where everything doesn’t have to be shipped in from far far away….
- Free/cheap/fast shipping!!! This is one of the best things about living on the mainland! Having anything shipped to Hawaii is extremely expensive, and takes forever.
- Variety in restaurants – for all the multicultural-ness of Hawaii, there really are just more different types of restaurants and cuisines in Seattle than Hawaii. Actually, there are Hawaii-style restaurants in Seattle too!
- Pets Do you love pets? Some people have pets in Hawaii. But people REALLY have, and love, pets in Seattle, they take their dogs (and even cats) everywhere. There are dog bakeries and dog washes. I even take my cat to a cat-only clinic.
Sorry, this was more a comparison of Hawaii vs my current place, Seattle. But hopefully, that’ll give you an idea of why someone might want to live somewhere other than Hawaii.
Overall, as much as I miss my home, I think life in a bigger city on the mainland suits me much better at the moment.
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