Confession? Every time someone tells me they wish they lived in Hawaii a little part of me screams. “No! No, you don’t!” It howls at them, red-faced and puffy (Yes, that is how I imagine my inner self to look like and yes, that might be a slight exaggeration). Don’t worry though–I get it.
Hawaii looks so exotic and gorgeous, even perfect. Ocean views and pristine beaches everywhere you look. Plus there’s the whole “when-the-rest-of-the-world-is-freezing-it’s-still-70-degrees-in-Hawaii” thing, which I have to admit is a pretty sweet deal. But just like everywhere else in the world, Hawaii-living isn’t all what it’s cracked up to be. There are some definite pros and cons–today we’re taking a look at the cons.
I feel like I should add in here that I know we are incredibly blessed to live here in Hawaii–not everyone gets this opportunity and there are many many things I absolutely love about living here. This post is simply my opinion and will not apply to everyone’s experience on the island.
1. The Cost of Living + Shipping Costs:
It’s fairly high. Which makes sense because everything has to be shipped to the island but it consistently surprises me when something rings up $10 to $15 higher than it would have back on the mainland. Let me tell you that shopping here the first few months was one rude awakening!
To go along with the whole shipping-costs-more-money theme, shipping packages here drives me crazy. Unless you have amazing perks like a Target card or an Amazon Prime membership, expect to dish out quite a bit for shipping cost. Let me tell you that nothing is more disheartening than paying twice the price of an item just to ship it….and for most large items, like furniture, there isn’t really a site-to-store option either. To top that, not all stores even ship to Hawaii….case in point, Le Tote (which breaks my heart by the way).
2. Island fever (it’s a real thing)
Soooo pretty much, living in Hawaii feels like living on a rock in the middle of the ocean. You are literally isolated in the middle of the Pacific on a fairly small piece of land (about 600 square miles) crammed with as many people as can possibly fit. Oahu just doesn’t have the room to have very many wide open spaces, ya know?!
I think I always took for granted our ability to just drive a few states over on vacation, road trip home for the holidays or even hop on a plane for a weekend visit when we were on the mainland. Here though, any of those options require a good amount of time and money to accomplish. And if you don’t have said time or money to take trips back to the mainland or to the other islands, things can start feeling very isolated here in paradise.
On the upside, if the world were ever taken over by zombies, we’d probably be safe for a while with that whole ocean in between us and everything—on the downside, once the zombies arrived, there would pretty much be no escape.
3. Parking + Traffic
These are both really big issues if you live on Oahu. Obviously, rush hour traffic isn’t a picnic no matter what city you live in but it seems to follow you everywhere here–whether you’re in the heart of Honolulu or cruising around North Shore. No really, Honolulu is number two nationwide for the absolute worst traffic, second only to LA. Like, wow!
This one isn’t really a big deal for me since we usually plan around traffic when we head to the city but the parking issue has definitely caused a problem or two. Waikiki is the worst as there are rarely any open parking spaces without meters but there’s also a limited parking available along the beaches as well. #totalbummer
4. Limited Things to Do
Ok, I’m not a nature person. I’d much rather go to a concert than go for a hike or head to a coffee shop instead of the beach. And while there’s absolutely nothing wrong with hiking, swimming, snorkeling, beach-bunny-ing (?) or any of the other things Hawaii is known for, there really isn’t very much for the non-outdoorsy person like myself to do here. Plus when you tell other people there’s nothing to do in Hawaii that interests you, they give you “the look”. It’s pretty much the same one they give you when you complain about the lack of snow.
5. Limited Chain Stores & Restaurants
You know what I’m craving right now? Cracker Barrel. Oh and Olive Garden. And Famous Dave’s. And Applebees. And Pita Pit. And Perkins. And Panera Bread. And a few others that I’m forgetting but my soul yearns for come meal time….or when the commercials for said eateries come on tv. Yep, you can just find me salivating over here waiting for my unlimited breadsticks–oh and Red Lobster’s never-ending specials which are incidentally “not valid in Alaska or Hawaii”.
Looking for a Michaels, a Hobby Lobby, or even just any old craft supply store? Well, sweets, you’re out of luck because the nearest one is 2500 miles away. Yes, yes, I know I can order online (thankfully) but still it’ll be fun to browse an actual store for my scrapbook and photography supplies
(If you’re reading this, executives from any of these companies, pretty please come to Hawaii. I know a bunch of people who would love you forever.)
This was by the far the most surprising thing I’ve come to dislike since living here. When I first found out we were moving to Hawaii, I imagined palm trees, leis, grass skirts, and people doing the hula. Three years later, I see dozens of homeless men and women sleeping in the streets in front of a Prada store, “Defend Hawaii” t-shirts with AR-15s and phrases like “Sovereign” and “Wish You Weren’t Here”, run-down strip clubs across the street from fast food restaurants, and the huge gap between the Have’s and the Have Not’s. Maybe it’s made more noticeable by the fancy hotels, the well-dressed tourists, and the designer shops but either way it’s definitely a different image than how I pictured paradise, ya know?
When it comes down to it, the place you live is only as amazing as you make it. Which means if you dwell on all the things you don’t like about an area (like I did for the first, oh, two years of living here in Hawaii), you won’t be able to fully enjoy all the really great things around you.
So even though, I have a few things I’m definitely not a fan of here in Hawaii, I’m really excited to flip things around and share with you all my list of things I LOVE about Hawaii next week. Same time, same place, K?
ARE THERE ANY CONS ABOUT THE PLACE YOU LIVE? HOW DO YOU KEEP YOURSELF LOOKING ON THE BRIGHT SIDE EVEN WHEN IT’S TOUGH?