Have you ever spent a long time trying to make an important decision? Something which would have long term effects on your life? A decision which may be risky if you decide wrong? It could cost you a lot of money, time, and have severe consequences if you have errored in your judgement? And when you have made said decision you realize way too late you have made a very serious mistake and it will take a long time to rectify said mistake?
Yeah. I got the exact opposite feeling.
Ever since I walked off the plane at Kahului and onto this beautiful island, everything just seems so damn right. It’s difficult to ‘splain but coming here feels like it wasn’t just the right thing to do, it was the only thing to do. In all my travels and adventures, coming to Hawaii has become the bestest thing I have ever done. Even more better than moving to the Florida Keys (caution: blatant ebook plug).
It’s only been about 3 weeks so far but I feel more at home here in Maui than I have in 38 years living in Florida. I’m not sure what the difference is. The weather of course, but the friendliness of the people, the spectacular scenery, or maybe because of all the time I spent researching the island before arriving. Said research paid off. I haven’t felt lost at anytime, the bus service has worked to perfection, and I’m perfectly at ease when out and about. I don’t feel like a tourist although I want to go and do touristy things eventually. There is still a lot of new stuff here to explore. But I am completely relaxed living here. It’s funny but all the stress and bullshit from the past seems like it’s an ocean away….um….yeah….a big ocean away.
I have no doubts there will be bad times here now and then. It will happen as it does anyplace. But overall, I feel some true contentment for the first time in a long time. More better finances will help considerably. I will have to watch my spending but as long as no emergencies nor unexpected things come up, I will be living rather comfortably, even by my minimalist standards. Staying completely out of debt has played a big part in all of this. If I still had debts, I’d still be in Florida, probably working a parts counter somewheres, only dreaming about this adventure.
I have no schedules to keep, no time clocks to punch, I don’t have to be anywhere to do anything. It’s pretty amazing and it’s still hasn’t fully affected me yet although I am still trying to adjust to Hawaii time after a lifetime in Eastern time. I still feel like I have to be someplace or be doing something. But said feeling is fading fast with each sunny, warm day.
The Keys and Key West always had a certain laid back charm and attitude which one does not find in the rest of the country. But it still had the rudeness and tenseness, probably because of so many tourists and temporary residents from the north east. While the sunsets and festivals were fun, people always seemed to have a bit of an attitude. If you weren’t spending money, you weren’t welcome. Worker bees and business owners always seemed to be on edge. Drunks and bums were a constant nuisance. Everything felt like a scam. Just a minor example: If you walked into just about any bank or credit union in Florida and asked to change a $20 bill most won’t do it if you ain’t a customer. I went up to the bank teller at the local grocerteria here in Kihei, and asked for change (needed singles for bus fare), and not only did I get said change, the teller smiled, said thank you (or mahalo), and did so like she meant it. Very refreshing. The Keys could learn a lot by how things are out here.
In Pa., it’s even worse. Everybody there has a nasty condescending attitude. They look down on others as inferior, always looking to one up somebody, and they put such importance on material things. They have no sense of adventure. Take them out of their comfort zone and they are terrified. I’m ashamed to even say I was born there. It’s a gloomy, sad, hateful place and I look forward to the day I can say goodbye and never return there.
I get none of those vibes out here. I haven’t run into any attitudes, no scams, although I have no doubts they exist, nor any problems. Everyone seems so content and relaxed, and who can blame them. Beautiful weather all year round, spectacular scenery, healthy living. Yeah, it’s expensive, but if you learn to live within your means, and don’t desire so much in material wealth, it’s a true island paradise.
It’s way to early to make a decision but if I had to decide this very minute, I would make Hawaii my permanent home. It feels like it. But not yet. I need more time to explore more and see where the flaws are, and if I can live with said flaws. For example: Florida is very friendly to us old farts. Retirement communities abound along with many a deal for anyone over 55. There is no state income taxes. Hawaii does have a state income tax. Plus I will need to take a drivers written test if I stay, something I should be able to pass. But still. And I have to see what other obstacles may lie in wait. I will have to make trips back to Pa. eventually in regards to family matters. Hopping a quick flight or bus or train from South Florida is no big deal. Planning a flight across an ocean and continent takes a bit more doing, and money. But these are minor things when it all comes down to it.
My online stuff can continue without interruption. My banking is all online. Probably the biggest thing will be finding a more permanent residence later on. The room I am renting now is near perfect. Excellent location, nice landlady, no drunks, quiet, and no bed bugs. If all goes well I should be able to stretch this out for a few years until she is ready to retire and sell the place. But it is at the top end of my budget for rentals and I am seeing cheaper places online all the time. At some point I will need to move and find something for a bit less money and longer term. It’s not vital at the moment but it will come up eventually.
As for making a change of state residency, I have to make some decision next fall when my current Florida DL is up for renewal. It’s no big deal if I renew and keep my current address, but it just seems like a logical time to make a decision about staying out here permanent. As I said, I have time to explore the island more and decide later. But if it were today, I would stay.
So, I hope you have been enjoying the first month’s worth of postings about this new adventure. I noticed traffic increased a lot since I teased you all with the sunset. Trust me, I had fun planning it all. I’ll be cutting back a little on posting everyday now as I get settled in more better. There is lots to see and do here and come October, armed with a monthly bus pass, I’ll be exploring more of the island. Come along and join the adventure.