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Moving to Maui Advice
Maui is an island paradise for most people who visit, and some decide to come back–permanently. For many people, moving to Maui is a dream come true. But sometimes we need to look at our own situations through a different set of eyes. Sometimes, we need to realize the great things that we might already have. For instance, are you close to your family? Can you really picture leaving them behind? I know a girl with two children, a husband and a business here in Maui, but she just can’t seem to leave her East Coast roots behind. She complains all year and then spends the summer “at home” as soon as the kids are out of school. Her husband is a bit adrift all summer while she’s gone, and misses his kids. But this is what she has to do to make Maui work for her.
Here are my suggestions for a move to Maui:
1) Line up a job. The job market is very tough everywhere, but even more so on Maui. It’s a very small island and the good jobs get handed down–someone who knows someone/is related to someone, etc. I would not move thinking you can get a job once you get here.
2) Save as much money as you can. Moving to Maui will cost several thousand dollars, and you will want to have at least a few month’s worth of living expenses saved up in case of emergencies. Work overtime, cut expenses, do everything you can to save as much money as possible.
3) Take a trip to Maui, and drive around the island. Better yet, stay in all the areas you are considering moving to. Get a feel for the weather, etc. by talking to the locals. For instance, it rains in Haiku ALL the time. Is that really the weather you want in your own Paradise? Also take into consideration what activities fit your lifestyle. Are you a surfer, a windsurfer, or just a beach-goer? The beaches on the Kahului side of the island are windy most of the time, great for windsurfing, not fun at all if the sand is between your teeth as you try to lie in the sun.
4) Secure housing. Check craigslist.com. The rental market is very tight right now because so many people have lost their houses. It can take a while to beat out all the others wanting to rent in the same area you are looking at. Be patient and realize the timeline might be longer than you’d like for both a job and housing.
5) Once you have both a job and a housing lined up, decide which items you want to move. One friend called this “making the cut” as in “That book didn’t make the cut when I moved.” It’s much easier to find things on Maui than it used to be, however one of the hardest items is a sofa. The furniture stores don’t like to pay to ship furniture to Maui that may not sell, so when you go into a furniture showroom (Latitudes http://www.latitudesinhawaii.com/) in Kahului, Home World in Kahului (formerly BJ’s,it just got bought out) or Moore’s Interiors in Lahaina http://www.mooreinteriorsmaui.com/index.htm , etc.,realize that all the sofas you are seeing could have a five-month wait once you order them. So if you have no patience or really, really, love your sofa, consider bringing it with you. Otherwise there are always garage sales, or Costco!
A word about sofas: As a designer, I alway found sofas a dichotomy on Maui. I covered my sofas up with slipcovers, thinking this was the best way to handle the red dirt. The other day I removed the slipcovers to wash them, and there is mold under the sofa cushions from being covered up in a humid climate! Another option is leather, which never makes sense to me in a hot climate, because your bare skin sticks to them. But… you can wash the mold off. So, maybe a leather sofa with some type of slipcover or even a sheet thrown over it when you are relaxing….and then rattan sofas tend to be hard as rocks and not cushy or comfortable to lean against.
If I had it to do over I would probably buy a daybed from someplace like Bali (called a puune, poo-nay, in Hawaiian) with one large mattress that could be replaced, and a ton of pillows to lean against.From the website http://www.discoveringhawaii.com/Living_Hawaiian_Style: “The Hawaiian pune`e is essentially a daybed, traditional in Hawaii Living since
the time of ali`i. Usually the size of a full bed mattress, it is placed in the
living space rather than the bedroom, as it is meant for lounging alone or with
company. Visit James T. Ferla’s delectable website to view his hand-crafted Hawaiian furniture. He also lists two books that I am very familiar with and can endorse:
Under The Hula Moon, by Jocelyn Fujii is a priceless and endless source of inspiration, as most of the photos in this beautiful book are of local houses of every style, from surfers’ crash pads to Plantation Boss Mansions.
Hawaii, A Sense Of Place by Mary Philpotts McGrath features the gorgeous homes of the rich and famous, but even if you’re poor, you’ll find a lot on island decorating ideas here.
So when you’re finally ready to buy that one-way ticket to Maui, ideas abound!
Thought for the day:The world is full of cactus, but you don’t have to sit on it.
A hui hou (til later). If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the Follow button on the Home Page.