From the Blog

Leaving Hawaii

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Before I left California, I was describing my plans to a woman who is a noted cardiologist in Los Angeles. I told her I was relocating to Hawaii to start a coffee shop. I explained that I don’t have a relationship, family, house, or career that prevent me from doing something crazy. I don’t really have anyone relying on me for anything. Just me. She said, “You just described heaven: No responsibilities.”

It seems odd to move to paradise, then decide not to stay. As I write this from my bedroom, I turn my head barely 90 degrees to see green mountains, glittering ocean, and waves crashing on lava fields, all the way to Kona. This is a beautiful place.


So why move? After all the work and expense to get here? And the coffee shop?

It was actually the coffee shop that made me wonder about settling down in Hawaii.
We were looking at locations for the shop and beginning to formulate financing strategies.
Negotiation for a lease and for financing go hand-in-hand. In a best-case scenario, when leasing a business location, you get a 5 year lease, with 2 options to renew. Fifteen years. Fifteen. Years. This was when I began to wonder about Kona.

Hawaii is a vacation. It is a retiring lifestyle. It’s good for relaxing. The pace is unhurried. If you need pet food, eh, the store might be open…eh, maybe not. People are friendly, but it’s not an especially social place. There’s not a lot going on. It’s not really vibrant or dynamic. I’ve met some great people. Many are half my age, or are married, or are gay, or are homeless. If you live in a sleeping bag in a cow field, you have to be EXTRA cute in order to be relationship material.

It’s also very expensive here. Cost of living is like Los Angeles. But the wages are like the Peoria, Illinois. It’s hard to “make it” here. There’s no real industry, besides tourism. No professional jobs. Slinging coffee is fun, but imagine a half-hour of wages to buy toothpaste or a gallon of milk. Money takes on a whole different meaning. You can see how families struggle here. For some, the “payment” comes in the form of living in paradise. For others, they just need to buy toothpaste.

So if you’re established and/or married, and/or financially secure and/or don’t want for much, Hawaii is a good place.

So as we were researching locations and financing, it became clear that we would have a hard time developing the coffee shop as we had envisioned it. We could have potentially tried other avenues. Maybe something smaller. We could make something else work. For me, already wondering if I could be happy here for 5, 10, or 15 years, I said no.

I would like to count myself among those who don’t want for much, who are satisfied with a simple lifestyle. Hawaii is good for winding down and living slowly. But for me, I’m in the “career-building” phase of my life. I! Have! Things! To! Do! It would stunt my growth to stay here. There’s stuff I want in life that would be extra-hard to attain here. Relationship, house, family, career, business. All those treacherous encumberments. I want to be responsible for something.

I may always question whether I should have stayed, and may wonder if my fortitude was lacking for not sticking it out a little longer. I am an absolute genius at finding ways to torture myself with self-doubt. However, I know it’s time for me to be going.

I’m viewing it as a nice four-month vacation. Research for retirement. Maybe I’ll return once I have no responsibilities again.


  1. WHAT?!?!? No family in California? You are dead to me now…

  2. Ack! The Keiko Curse of Death!

    I meant I’m not changing diapers. However, it was certainly difficult pulling away from the responsibility of helping you pick out your clothes in the morning.

  3. “I’m not sure
    What I’m looking for anymore
    I just know
    That I’m harder to console
    I don’t see who I’m trying to be
    Instead of me
    But the key
    Is a question of control

    Can you say
    What you’re trying to play anyway
    I just pay
    While you’re breaking all the rules
    All the signs that I find
    Have been underlined
    Devils thrive on the drive
    That is fuelled

    All this running around
    Well it’s getting me down
    Just give me a pain that I’m used to
    I don’t need to believe
    All the dreams you conceive
    You just need to achieve
    Something that rings true

    There’s a hole in your soul
    Like an animal
    With no conscience
    Repentance unknown
    Close your eyes
    Pay the price for your paradise
    Devils feed on the seeds
    That are sown

    Can’t conceal what I feel
    What I know is real
    No mistaking the faking
    I care
    With a prayer in the air
    I will leave it there
    On a note full of hope
    Not despair

    All this running around
    Well it’s getting me down
    Just give me a pain that I’m used to
    I don’t need to believe
    All the dreams you conceive
    You just need to achieve
    Something that rings true”

    “A Pain That I’m Used To” – Depeche Mode

    I was only going to leave the last part, but the whole song relates, (kinda, in a way) to finding out who you are and what you want to do.

  4. Depeche Mode is okay, but I think the following lyrics speak more eloquently to this chapter of your life…

    Take heed ’cause I’m a lyrical poet
    Miami’s on the scene just in case you didn’t know it
    My town that created all the bass sound
    Enough to shake and kick holes in the ground
    ‘Cause my style’s like a chemical spill
    Feasible rhymes that you can vision and feel
    Conducted and formed
    This is a hell of a concept
    We make it hype and you want to step with this
    Shay plays on the fade slice like a ninja
    Cut like a razor blade so fast other DJs say damn
    If my rhyme was a drug I’d sell it by the gram
    Keep my composure when it’s time to get loose
    Magnetized by the mic while I kick my juice
    If there was a problem yo I’ll solve it
    Check out the hook while Shay revolves it

    Ice ice baby vanilla
    Ice ice baby (oh-oh) vanilla
    Ice ice baby vanilla
    Ice ice baby vanilla ice
    Yo man let’s get out of here
    Word to your mother
    Ice ice baby too cold
    Ice ice baby too cold too cold (x2)
    Ice ice baby

    Think about it.


  5. sean, that is some funny funny shit.

    i admire you for taking the plunge. and i admire you more for admitting that it wasn’t what you thought you wanted, and dealing with that.
    i’d like to say something really profound here, but i’m fresh out.
    love ya.

  6. Way to go, Heather! I admire your courage in taking the plunge by moving to Hawaii. And also realizing it wasn’t for you and opting to make yet another major life change. Incidentally, I’ve been to Portland a couple of times and have nothing but good (albeit limited) memories. I actually fantasize about moving THERE. Perhaps our paths will cross there sometime!

  7. Hi Heather, it sounds like you really have your head screwed on… I’m sure you’ll get everything you are looking for and more :D

    I do hope you continue blogging as you have a great writing style.

    good luck with your move, happy 2008

  8. Hi Heather!
    It sounds to me that you’ll look back at this time and be happy you got to live there for a little while and did some serious soul-searching.
    It’s inspiring that you went for it! I think just by doing that, it made you grow as a person and now you can always remember Kona fondly.
    Best of luck to you in Portland!

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