The Five Stages of Maui


A girl in her 20s is starting a business on Maui, so she decides she needs a home-office. A trip to OfficeMax (at least we have one!) just bums her out… “Little glass – top nothing desks”. She’s been on Maui three years (most people don’t last two) and this is her Witching Hour; realizing that if she is really going to stay here, she is going to have to make peace with knowing she’s never going to find what she really wants. And don’t even think “at an affordable price.”

I watch people go through this over and over. When they first move here they think, “It’s warm here. I have the beach. What else could I possibly need?”

Turns out, quite a lot.

I think people who move to Maui go through five stages, like the five stages of grief. But this is more like, “Oh, good GRIEF!!”

So here was the 20-something’s journey, as she told it to me:

Stage One, Denial: “Of course that item has to be here. I just haven’t stumbled upon it yet.”

Stage Two: Anger: “What do you MEAN, I can’t get IKEA here?” (Or Best Buy…or Bed, Bath and Beyond…fill in the blank with your favorite whatever.)

Stage Three, Bargaining: “If I get my dad to pay the hellacious shipping costs, I can have that IKEA desk ensemble I’m lusting after.” (Ah, yes… the magic “Dad” card. Trust me, when you get a teensy bit older, Dad stops doing that.)

Stage Four, Depression: “This is just one item… And the whole thing will start over again next time I really need something!”

Stage Five, Acceptance: “Um, hasn’t happened yet…”

So, does anyone ever really accept it? It’s really more a constant lowering of expectations… Until you find yourself desiring….nothing.

Whoa! You’ve embraced Zen Buddhism just because you live on Maui, without even intending to.

Words of wisdom for the day: if you’re moving here (Hi, Shauna) bring everything you love or use constantly. Chances of finding it on Maui are next to nil. Plus you’re paying to ship something you’ve ALREADY paid for, instead of getting here and having to buy it all over again, plus pay the high, high shipping costs.

A hui hou! Mahalo for reading along. If you’d like to stay in the loop, please click the “Follow” button on the Homepage, or to the right.

Aloha, Jamaica

23 thoughts on “The Five Stages of Maui

  1. Hi there! I agree with just about all of this last post – I subscribe and I love your blog dearly. I have moved to Maui and back to Calif ( had to get a divorce – long story), and am in the process, 12 years later, of moving back to Maui. THIS time, I refuse to ship everything – it is now over $2 a pound – since I lived there before, I know you can hardly buy a thing you treasure, so the treasures are being shipped –

    • Aloha Carol,
      Congratulations on your move back to Maui! That’s a very good plan, to bring the treasures… I moved mine here in my carry on, with trip after trip to my mom’s, because I didn’t trust them to the shippers.
      Keep in touch and let us all know how your move goes.
      Aloha! Jamaica

  2. Aloha, all!  To make you happier not to be living on Maui, you’ll enjoy ths great blog post.  Maui as unplanned conversion to Zen Buddhism… Art

  3. Hi Jamaica,
    Thanks for the tips! I am already at the Zen stage (not wanting to bring much), while Mark and Ian are insisting on loading up the biggest shipping container with EVERYTHING (including what I consider non-essential, space-occupying crap!) Our compromise will lie somewhere in-between, and I will probably end up being glad we included certain things.
    p.s. we had a fantastic week there, and are really encouraged by the positive reception to our new business! Planning another trip for October, unless our house sells soon and then we will make the big move.

    • Aloha Shauna,
      Glad you had a fantastic week on Maui. Good luck, as you all decide what is worth bringing. As I’ve blogged before, I had a very Zen approach to living on Maui until I met Mike, the man with more stuff than any human being should own (particularly windsurfing and surfing equipment)!
      Keep in touch and let me know how the house sale goes.
      Aloha! Jamaica

    • Shauna, My family and I are currently in week two of our relocation and I can honestly say that while we didn’t ship much (12 boxes via Fedex at a cost of about $1500) There are a lot of things we just decided we were better off living without or purchasing upon arrival.
      Several of my friends who are already here say its a classic mistake to load up a container and ship it. The fact is you most likely wont have room or use for a lot of the things you had on the mainland.

      Jamaica, Thanks for a great blog and all the great advice contained. Its being put to good use!

      • Aloha Ken,
        So exciting that you and your family are in week two of your relocation! Thank you for sharing the pertinent information about FedEx shipping costs… I know our readers will really appreciate it. Also, please keep us all posted on your journey and how it all comes out!!
        Godspead and Aloha!

  4. Yes, people need to realize, vacationing and living are two different things. A wise man once told me that he would never move to Maui simply because he didn’t want to ruin his vacation paradise. I do see now what he means 🙂

  5. Love this blog. As an senior lady, visiting Maui over 29 years and now living here 10 months out of 12, please listen to the good information blogged here. You do need a car as renting gets expensive. An option to lease is good for business practices on Maui and will provide added for tax relief. Another personal option is to rent a used vechiel from Kimos or Kihei car rentals.
    Best of luck to you and welcome!

  6. Howdy All!! My name is Jenna and I will be moving to Maui by December of this year. I am shedding the bulky furniture and useless junk but bringing my antique pieces of family furniture. Does anyone have any suggestions on the cheapest route to get stuff to Maui? I’m coming from Texas. Also, those must haves that you wish you would have brought with you because they are hard to find and expensive…. any examples? I’m selling almost everything as we speak and am wondering if I should maybe keep some of it. Thanks for the help. Love the blog!!

    • Aloha Jenna,
      Thank you for your question. Anyone care to weigh in for Jenna? I find it’s the day to day stuff that can really make you crazy. Friends just moved here, and complained that they can’t find hangers they like. I’ve been looking for padded hangers for months… Also we can’t get a retractable clothesline here and are having to bring one from Oahu…stuff like that.
      Mahalo for reading along! I wish you the very best on your move.
      Aloha, Jamaica

      If you going to bring antique furniture, be very careful about termites and keeping your place termite tinted.

    • I used the postal service and several extra paid baggage on airlines for precious things. Car through Matson and left the rest. UPS was way more than US Mail.
      Best of luck to you

      • Anita can you comment on the postal service route? We shipped the bulk of our things through Fed Ex (very expensive) because I could count on it arriving on a specific date. Some of the other things went through USPS Priority Mail, at the end of the day, if you have breakables send them via FedEx or UPS. We had several breaks in our USPS packages. Unless you want to get the insurance, but you normally have to prove the value if its over a certain amount. And think of the time to submit claims etc. You may have some free time now, but trust me as you get closer to your move date and after you wont really have time for that.
        Congrats on the upcoming move!

      • Aloha Ken,
        Two friends recently moved here and shipped their books by USPS flat-rate boxes. When they went to pick them up, the postal lady commented, “Hmmmm…looks like those didn’t travel well!” The boxes were coming apart, and had notes that they had been resealed by the post office.

        Aloha, Jamaica

      • Used our local US Post Office to ship 3 large boxes. Gave us a tracking number and 5 weeks later they appeared at our door. The boxes were tattered but all was ok inside. Used plenty of bubble wrap and clothes to cushion items.
        The boxes were the largest the US mail allows. It came to $76.00 each. Art glass was carried on board the plane as well as 2 extra suitcases for $50. Mostly kitchen stuff. pots and pans, wooden bowls, spices, electronic equipment, and medical supplies were shipped through US mail (Oakland CA to Kihei, HI)
        Good Luck but remember you really live outdoors here.

  7. Aloha, just read your comment about hard to find stuff on Maui, when I lived there in the early 70’s – 80’s we were all excited that Woolworth was opening!! You live in paradise, Maui, you don’t want Maui to look like Ohau! You do have home depot! Get creative!! Take an unfinished door, put some legs on it and you have your desk you made yourself!! You don’t really need all that ” stuff “… You live on Maui!! Aloha.

  8. Aloha and Mahalo for the blog..I love to read it and I feel like I am there on Maui!. We lived on Maui back in the early 80’s, visited for the first time this year (ya..shocking changes) and are deciding on moving back. My question is this…we are now in our late 40’s early 50’s. We are able-bodied to work, I have loads of office experience, but wonder what is the pulse of the island for middle-agers coming there? Working, living etc…We are looking at living upcountry and working around the tourists, but what we saw on vacation seemed to be a lot younger crowd….Mahalo & keep up the good writing!

    • Aloha Kathy,

      Best of luck as you decide whether to make the move to Maui. I’m curious, what took you back to the mainland in the 80s? Was it work, or was the island not working for you?

      As far as seeing so many young people, were you staying on the Westside or in Kihei? It does look like the island is full of very young, tanned, fit bodies who are all waitressing, doesn’t it? Since I live Upcountry, I tend to see an older crowd up here, plus all of my errands are done in Kahului. If you go to Queen Kaahumanu Center, you will see a mixed-bag of all ages at the farmers market there (Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday).
      As far as work, I know a professional woman with a marketing degree who has been here six months and is still not employed. Another blog reader came and rented on a month-to-month basis, and her job prospects looked bleak. She felt like it would take a long time to get “into” the hotels, and went back home. That said, someone who is very computer savvy with loads of office experience probably has a leg up. I still feel that we are sorely lacking web designers who are patient and will do one-on-one work with people, creating websites. (I will now hear from all the web designers!)
      Let me know if you have other questions, Kathy. Good luck!

      Aloha, Jamaica

      • Aloha Ken,
        Are you already on Maui?

        Do you work with I can’t find anyone here who does. They only want to work with

        On another note, can you explain why my scrolling blog posts are now all italicized? I’ve gone back into the old posts and I don’t see any italics inserted that would cause this problem…

        Aloha and thanks, Jamaica

      • Yep I’m here in South Kihei. So the reason you probably can’t find anyone that works with is (based on my understanding) because the .com site is a paid site that doesn’t allow customization beyond its custom templates. .org allows you to use your own php and CSS code. So developers would be able to do .org but for the .com you’d have to use wordpress
        That being said if you are paying for a site I would think it would entitle you to some free support right?

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