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.