A Change of Pace

As some of you may have already heard, I spent much of December moving from Hawaii to Missouri. Generally, when I tell people this, they ask if I am crazy. One important reason for the move is work-related, as it will be much more convenient, and less expensive, for me to travel from the center of United States than from Hawaii. A second reason is that my wife and daughter were missing our relatives in Missouri, and wanted to move back. Personally, I would have preferred to stay in Hawaii, but I got outvoted.

I thought I would devote this post to a little reflection of what it is like to live in Hawaii. So this is a personal post and not SQL Server-related. One of the most common misconceptions about Hawaii is that it is paradise. That myth couldn’t be further from the truth. When I think of paradise, I think of a perfect world where everyone is happy and content. While Hawaii offers near ideal (though not perfect)weather, beautiful scenery, a dramatic history, adventure, ocean and mountains, and much more, it has many more negatives than positives.

The cost of living is terrible. For example, using a cost of living calculator, the average cost of living in Honolulu, HI is 105% higher than in Springfield, MO (where I moved). In addition, the cost of housing is 315% higher. This makes it very difficult for anyone to live there, unless you grew up in Hawaii and live with your family (which is very common) or inherited a house, are a highly-paid professional, a successful businessperson, or rich and retired. The other alternative is barely just able to get by, which is the category we were in. We knew when we first moved in Hawaii that our standard of living would decrease, but that was a conscious choice we made in exchange for the opportunity for a new life adventure.

Besides a high cost of living, public schools and medical care are some of the worst in the nation. Most college students leave Hawaii to study in the mainland, and very sick people also have to move back to the mainland for the lack of medical expertise and facilities. And to top it off, it is hard to find good paying IT jobs. What few IT jobs there are, they pay, on average, less than what they pay on the mainland.

I could go on and on about the many different problems Hawaii has, but if you remember what I said at the beginning of this post, I still would rather live in Hawaii than Missouri. Even with all the disadvantages, I love the ocean and mountains Hawaii offers. I love the adventure, being near an erupting volcano or experiencing a tsunami. I love snorkeling among gorgeous reefs filled with colorful fish. I like watching, and hearing, the pounding of the surf against the beach. I like watching humpback whales completely breech from the surface of the ocean. And I like viewing the world, and watching the sunset, from the top of a 13,000 feet dormant volcano (often while being surrounded by snow).

Over the years I have lived in Idaho for 1 year, Kansas for 4 years, Hawaii for 5 1/2 years, Alaska for 10 years, and the rest in Missouri, mostly in Springfield. Hawaii has been, and still is, my favorite place to live. But practicality has won over adventure, and I am back in Missouri. Hopefully, I get back to Hawaii and visit some of the islands I never got a chance to visit when I lived there. I will surely miss living in Hawaii.

PS: I will be redesigning my website over the next month or two. I would have done it sooner, but the move has taken a lot of my extra time.

7 thoughts on “A Change of Pace

  1. Big move – I’m sure you’ll do it well though.

    And I’m sure you’re just being self-deprecating when you say you’re not in one of the categories “highly-paid professional, a successful businessperson, or rich and retired”. I’d definitely rate you as successful.


  2. Good luck on the move, and I can certainly understand. I considered college in Hawaii, but was worried about the high costs. It’s a beautiful place, but a place that I would rather visit than live.

  3. Hawaii is a beautiful place to visit (I’ve been there several times) but like you said it’s very expensive.
    Welcome back to the mainland.

  4. I envied your existence in the islands, not knowing the issues that surrounded you and your family. It sounds like a great adventure. But living anywhere can be an adventure. I hope that you will find similar outlets of beauty and nature where you land, as this world does tend to offer many wonders, if we but look for them.
    My daughter is thinking of going to school in Marine Biology, and there is a college on Hawaii she could attend. We’d love her to experience that, and visit her often while there…
    Good luck in the next adventure that is your life.

  5. TJAY, the University of Hawaii at Hilo (on the Big Island) has a good Marine Biology program your daughter should check out. It would be a great experience for her.

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