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Moving to Molokai - insights

Pelion, South...
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Moving to Molokai - insights

My wife and I have become fed up with the rat race of our corporate jobs. We make good money, but the stress and aggravation is not really worth it. We have been looking around for a less hectic lifestyle with priorities on people, nature, culture, and low stress. We were very impressed with Molokai and are seriously considering a move. This would be a major lifestyle change and will requre a lot of thought. Has anyone on the forum done this? Any suggestions or thoughts on things to consider? We are thinking of things like less contact with family, none of the usual "entertainment" options. possible boredom, small simple housing, living on less income, no snow, etc. My wife taught high school in the past and really loved it, but the conditions that teachers have to work in can be dangerous to say the least. She felt very comfortable and has the impression that she would enjoy teaching in Molokai. We are nature lovers and conservationist at heart, so we would probably get involved in these aspects if we decided to move. I know there is pressure to keep "resort types" from buying or settling, but I don't know if the welcome we have received would diminish if we were to be permanent residents. It will take some time to decide and make arrangements, and we want as much information as possible, so any comments are welcome.

Molokai, Hawaii
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1. Re: Moving to Molokai - insights

there is lots of unemplyment here and people's lifestyle is different. when i first moved here in 2000 i bought a condo and stayed here in the winter only but met my hubby here and then we bought a run-down little home which was still cheap then. that home would now cost 300k. i know people who move here for their retirement. others are nurses and trachers, as professionals are needed here. we need a veterinarian badly. many people are poor and live off the land, growing veggies, hunting and fishing. some people work two parttime jobs to make the rent and feed their families.

we love it here and feel accepted by folks. it is more expensive cuz everything is brought in by barge or plane, you wait and some companies don't even ship to alaska or hawaii. perhaps it is best to rent first and see if you like it?

Molokai, Hawaii
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2. Re: Moving to Molokai - insights

I was raised on Molokai--born in Honolulu, "moved" to Molokai at seven days old. My mother is from the island, born and bred (until she went away to boarding school). My husband (East coast born/bred) , my two sons and I moved back in 2005 from Seattle. My kids and I love it and I am running several small businesses in Kaunakakai. My husband was part of the Honolulu/Maui/mainland rat race (worked for a privately-owned Fortune 100 company) and misses some of that lifestyle, professional training/development, and stimulation.

My suggestions: network first. Connect with a couple of the locals as well as the Chamber of Commerce; make contact with one of the three financial institutions (get to know one of the bankers, who are all long-time residents); read the Maui and Molokai newspapers online. Also, read the Advertiser and Star-Bulletin online as well.

If you decide to move to Molokai, rent first and do not sell your home right away (on the mainland). Visiting vs. living here are two different experiences. You want an "out" if you decide you do not like Molokai.

If you are interested in moving here, I know a couple of possible rentals (close to town) that may be opening up in the next couple of months.

Finally, I had a nice conversation with a mother who moved here from expensive Orange County (Irvine, CA) yesterday at the Little League field. Her daughter and my son play Little League baseball on the same team in Kaunakakai. We both agreed that this (Molokai) is the best place for our kids to grow up in. Our kids have learned to do without and have no desire for designer clothing and X-Box systems (this would not have been the case in our former WA state neighborhood). Her kids are extremely bright and would have done well in schools in Irvine as well as on Molokai.

Living, surviving and enjoying Molokai life is possible...it's what you make of it!

And, it is sooooo important to also give back to this tiny community as well.

Aloha,

Kimo (girl)

Iowa
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3. Re: Moving to Molokai - insights

This was posted a couple years ago... but I would like to add to the subject anyway.

I would like to dito almost everything that reprosser has asked...

My husband and I too am very tired of the rat race and have looked into moving to Molokai. I really would like to know how/if it would be possible for us to make a living on such an island. We are a young couple in our late twenties with a two year old son. We may be dreamers, but I would not mind getting to the point where we could farm vegetables for a living. I realize that might not be possible right off the bat and that we will have to work with that goal in mind. We want to know what is possible. Is it possible for people like us to make a living on Molokai?

Molokai, Hawaii
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4. Re: Moving to Molokai - insights

if you are a professional like a nurse, teacher, veterinarian, (oh we need a new vet here, we got none!) then you get a job because they are needed.

but unemployment for regular workers or office staff is high. no matter how many veggies you grow or fish and hunt, you still need money to pay for taxes, insurance and transportation, phone and electricity.

molokai is a great place for retirement when your live off the pernsions and savings.

Iowa
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5. Re: Moving to Molokai - insights

Are there prospects as business owners? We have possible resorces to start a business, we just don't know what would do well.

Molokai, Hawaii
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6. Re: Moving to Molokai - insights

perhaps contact the chamber of commerce here. i don't know. the permitting process from maui county is lengthy for anything.

Palm Springs...
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7. Re: Moving to Molokai - insights

I would nver bring a child to Hawaii....terrible schools, racial problems for Whites. Terrible medical and health

Teaching...first you have the have the Union approve of you.... lots of mianland teachers who cant get work because of Union. Same with Nurses.

Locals will not be happy to see you with high unemployment... lots of tension on all islands.The smaller and more rural the island the more the resentment of you.

Make all the money you will ever need before you even consder moving....Because all jobs are min-wage unless even Doctors cant make it here...and leave in droves. You will need a min of $3500-4500 a month for a family of 2-3 to live anywhere near like you do on the mainland

Come here for 6 months before you decide. Average stay by mainland people is 18 to 24 mos before they move back.. and 90% do just that. Nice to have a dream....that dosent turn to a nightmare

Hawaii the resort destination... is NOT the Work a day Hawaii...its not fun and games and play time.

Vacations are fun.....living is very hard

Island of Hawaii...
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for Hilo, Island of Hawaii
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8. Re: Moving to Molokai - insights

I suggest you drop in to the Punaweb site, which although not Molokai oriented (Big Island), has a lot of members talking about sustainability, losing the rat race, growing vegetables in Hawai'i, also building in Hawai'i.

There is a big learning curve with growing crops in Hawai'i that would challenge even a professional farmer. Growing veggies commercially, unless you bought an established operation, would not be so easy.

While things grow here very well, the weeds and bugs and molds are just as aggressive. Numerous crops have to be grown in greenhouses in order to keep out insects that will ruin crops.

Myself, not having a greenhouse, I grow a fraction of the varieties of food I grew in my backyard garden in California. Basil and cherry tomatoes do great! Fruit does great. But whatever is easy to grow, everyone else has it too, and it's hard to sell it.

Anyway, there's a gardening and farming forum at Punaweb and it will give you an idea of the rewards and challenges of farming here.

www.punaweb.org

I think the single most stressful aspect to living in Hawai'i is the incredible expense for even a simple lifestyle -- leading to negative cash flow and constant concern over staying afloat. (If you come with wealth, scratch that issue).

Understand that the people who are making it on island level wages are most likely living in family homes or homes that were bought at the old prices -- even in 2003 there was cheap property on Moloka'i, but no more. So as a newcomer dealing with market rate rents of today, you need much more to keep it going.

Speaking as someone who has found it more expensive than I ever dreamed, and I moved here from the Bay Area.

Then as to the health care, the situation can be really bad. While it's not third world in comparison to the actual third world care, it is third world compared to the quality of service on the mainland. If you get any kind of problem that is not served on the island, you end up on Oahu, and if you don't have friends and family on Oahu, you end up paying hotel prices ... a simple thing will cost $1000 ... it all adds up.

Iowa
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9. Re: Moving to Molokai - insights

Thank you everyone for all the advice. I will check into a few of the suggestions given.

To Hawaiidan:

We are not unrealistic people. We do not expect fun and games all the time. We are not looking for a vacation that lasts forever. We are looking for a simple lifestyle with less hussle and bussle. We are not materialistic. We do not need alot of material things to be happy. I was really drawn to Molokai in particular because it is not as touristy as other islands. I have heard that Molokai locals hold very close to hawaiian traditions. I would be interested in learning more about that. I am ordering a series of books on the subject from the 'Country Store' in Molokai.

To Halemalu:

My husband is in school now to be a nurse and he will be done in a couple years. I have a degree in Massage Therapy, but I am not sure if I have enough education to practice in Hawaii... I still have to look into it. I wish I knew a vetrinarian who wanted to move to Hawaii... If I meet one I will tell them to come your way :)

I mentioned starting a business because I wondered if it would be stimulating to the economy, I just would like to know what sort of business would do well. I will look into the Chamber of Commerce like you suggested.

Thank you everyone again for all the helpful advice. I do have alot more to look into.

Island of Hawaii...
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for Hilo, Island of Hawaii
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10. Re: Moving to Molokai - insights

susiefro -

your wants and needs are virtually identical to the majority of people who post on Punaweb re moving to the island. (As opposed to Konaweb, no relation to Punaweb!)

Puna is a sort of island of its own on a larger island and has many of the same issues, rurality, infrastructure, and it is not a tourist economy - less so even than Moloka'i.

That's why I think the experiences there would be valuable to you.

Re employment - you should be aware that newcomers are generally hired only when absolutely no one else can fill the job. There are so many who move here and leave, that the philosophy here (in this state) is not to train someone who may leave, not to invest in them until they have been here for awhile.

The trick is to be here long enough to earn that faith you are here for good, if no one will hire you. Many people go the entrepreneurial /service route for that reason.

One story on Punaweb that might be relevant is that of a highly experienced nurse who moved over based on her understanding of the nursing shortage ... she is now begging people to share free food and clothing as it took a long time to get any sort of work. In her own expertise, she was blown off, not interviewed, her applications not responded to, and so forth. She was even willing to work at Walmart after a lot of this but they wouldn't hire a newbie (malihini) either.

Re massage therapy - I am not sure about Moloka'i, but in general there is an excess of licensed masseuses. Here it is a joke that 1 in 10 people will be a massage therapist ... I am not making fun of your skills at all, but pointing out that the islands attract healers and there is a strong Native Hawaiian tradition in massage, and an Asian tradition.

So I think it would be something where you very gradually built up a clientele ... and would not be a case of bringing a skill that's in short supply.

I'm not trying to dash your hopes, but after listening to the misery this other lady went through, a nurse who has moved to many parts of the country and always found work immediately, to bang her head against the wall in Hawai'i -- I have to warn you, don't come here without enough money to live on, in the bank, for 1-2 years.

It is very possible to get in a situation where you can't afford to stay and you can't afford to move back ... so be prudent.