So you want to retire in Hawaii. What’s it like? My husband and I retired here 30 years ago from Virginia and we’ve never regretted it, but it does have its drawbacks.
- 1) It’s isolated. The Hawaiian islands are farther away from any other inhabited piece of land in the world. We can’t hop in our car and drive off to visit the grandkids. The only way to go is by air and each year that gets more expensive. It also means that all stores occasionally run out of a certain product, and they’ll be out until the next ship arrives. We just stock up a bit ahead.
- 2) It’s warm and humid. Nicely warm, most the time. It almost never gets down in the 50s Fahrenheit or 10s Celcius, except near Volcano on the Big Island, and it seldom gets up in the 90s Fahrenheit or 30s Celcius. It is humid, though, causing us to perspire, and, depending on the wind direction, it may be foggy. Particulates drift over from the volcano on the Big Island when there’s a Kona wind. If you’re asthmatic, that may be a problem. Maybe you’re planning to golf every day. Excepting rainy, windy days, it’s a great place for golf. Also great for paddling, surfing, hiking, picnicking, most anything outdoors. You might try something new, such as Tai Chi, great for balance.
- 3) The culture is different. If you are Caucasian, you are probably used to being in the majority. That’s not going to happen in Hawaii. In fact, NO ethnic group is in the majority in Hawaii, although there are neighborhoods that are mostly Filipino, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, or Caucasian. I struck up a conversation with an elderly white tourist in Waikiki who was looking rather bewildered. She complained, “You sure have a lot of Asians here.” Turns out she was from Iowa and was really upset that most of us don’t have white skin and round eyes.
- 4) Find your niche. Approach the relocation like any other move. We had been in foreign service and were used to moving, so I knew I had to find compatible groups right away. We tried out a few churches and settled on the one recommended by our pastor back in Virginia. A notice posted in the newspaper let me find a writers critique group, and a woman in that group invited me to another group. Don was hired at a downtown tax preparation company within a few weeks of our arrival and made social contacts through them..
- 5) Explore the local cultures. We relished the opportunity to learn about various ethnic groups living in the Honolulu area. There may be fewer events on other Islands, but on Oahu, there are gatherings every month or so. Ethnic groups hold fairs in Kapiolani Park, at the foot of Diamond Head. They present their music and dancing at a pavilion and sell ethnic (and other) food and crafts in booths. They’re fun and educational.
- 6) Parades, First Friday Art Events and many entertainment venues can keep you busy. Organizations such as Rotary and Sierra Club combine fellowship with service projects.
- 7) Volunteering at your church, Meals on Wheels, soccer coaching, senior centers, hospitals, schools, etc. can forestall just watching TV and breathing up the oxygen. Best way to stave off depression is to help somebody else, right?
- 8) Work may be necessary because of the high cost of paradise, maybe in a field you’ve always been attracted to. Don worked in his chosen retirement field, tax preparation. I write books.
So try it out. Retire in Hawaii and see for yourself!