You Can Check Out Any Time You Like


Remember the line from the Eagle’s song “Hotel California” that says, “You can check out anytime you like… But you can never leave”?

Seems like someone could’ve written the same about Maui. There are tourists who come here, fall in love with Maui and Hawaii, and really don’t want to go home. I was one of them.

This can have a flipside. I’ve talked to many people who move here and then can’t leave, even if they want to. They’ve quit their jobs. They’ve paid a lot of money to shut down their lives on the mainland, ship their cars, all their paperwork, and all their worldly possessions, and here they are. Stuck. Can’t afford to do it in reverse.

One man had a business here where he placed banks of computers in hotel lobbies, including the hotel where I worked. When we chatted he said, “(Expletive) Maui. I moved here with my wife, found out we can’t stand it, and now we’re stuck here.” And his business was quickly obsolete – the hotels installed Wi-Fi for guest’s laptops and iPads instead.

This is why I encourage anyone to give Maui a trial–run before pulling up stakes, selling their homes and businesses, and paying shipping fees to get their lives here. A recent blog post had a letter from a reader on Kauai who moved there five years ago. She gave a wonderful overview, but also said, “Would I do it again, knowing what I know? I don’t know. ”

Recently a friend who came to Maui twenty years ago said, “When I moved here, everyone told me, ‘Maui is healing place.’ Well, they neglected to mention that you’re supposed to get healed…and then leave!”

Could be why so many people stay only two years. They’ve gotten what Maui could offer them, from the sun, the ocean, a major change… and they’re done. Yes, my friend is one of those who feels stuck….bought a home and is self-employed. Now what? (“We are all just prisoners here, of our own device.”)

Realize, too, that each Hawaiian island is different. Each has its own culture; on Oahu it can be a bit easier to assimilate because the military is there, and they are used to outsiders. There are that many more tourists, that many more more people. It’s different on Maui where people who grew up here often have a very negative view of people who move here and “spoil” their island. Caucasians are suspect, because in their history it was the Caucasians who stole their islands from the monarchy. The same person who posted the long comment recently beginning with “You seem to have left a lot out” also said, “Once you submerge yourself into the culture, ‘Welcome to Hawaii…now leave,’ has quite a bit of meaning and truth to it.”

There are those who come here, love it, and would never dream of leaving. And then there are the others, whose dreams go up in (cane) smoke. Food for thought, in case you’re considering checking into The Hotel Maui. (“Last thing I remember, I was running for the door… I had to find the passage back to the place I was before.”)

A hui hou! If you’d like to stay in the loop, please click the Follow button on the Homepage.

Aloha, Jamaica

4 thoughts on “You Can Check Out Any Time You Like

  1. Hotel Cal is a song about losing innocence. I think people quickly realize how much they were idealizing Hawaii after moving here. It’s not an extended vacation. I’ve been in Honolulu two months now and still can’t find a job that’s a good fit. This city is like every other – frenetic. I was wondering if I had moved to the wrong island. I only visited Maui for just a week, a year and a half ago. But your site & posts make me think otherwise – it would be an even tougher transition in Maui than Oahu.

    • Aloha Jon,
      Thanks so much for your comment. Very well put, about people idealizing the Hawaii experience. I know I did….and was in for a shock. It’s always great to hear from people who have actually “done it” so readers can get others’ experience outside of my own. I hope you find a job that is a great fit soon!
      Aloha, Jamaica

  2. We’ve been planning our move to Maui for more than two years and we still have another year and a half to go. We’ll be back in May for a week and this trip is as much a research trip as a vacation. We rented a condo in Kihei, and will live more like locals than if we were staying in a resort. We’ll compare food costs on Maui to where we currently live. My wife will begin to do some scouting for places of employment. She is a retail manager, so Wailea or Lahaina might be a good option. The advantage we have is that it will just be the two of us. Our children are grown and I plan on retiring in January of 2016. We are very well aware of the cost of housing on Maui. I’ve owned houses since we were married 34 years ago, so if we end up in an apartment it won’t be the worst thing that could happen. We’re not planning on bringing a lot with us. We’ll get whatever furniture we require when we get there. As far as being not welcomed, well, that can happen anywhere. We are originally from Ohio and have been living in Texas for the last twelve years. I was told that no matter how long I lived here that I would never be a Texan and would always be a Yankee. I’m fine with that. Let’s just say that my politics doesn’t play well down here and that’s been an issue from time to time. I have a co-worker who was born on Oahu and has lived on all of the islands. She told me that if you respect the culture and don’t act like an entitiled haole, you’ll be fine. We’re going to at least try because if we don’t try, then that’s admitting defeat before you even start. It’s blogs like this that help to keep us on an even keel. there’s no pi e in the sky, don’t worry be happy vibe. That’s a good thing, and we appreciate it.

  3. Aloha Jamaica, e mahalo nui loa always for your posts. I’d like to share 2 short stories about this one.

    1. While acting as sec’y for our HOA, I was dumbfounded by a motion put forth by a small group of (sorry) Caucasians who had moved to the island. They wanted to put nets over the trees, or some other deterrent, to keep the birds from waking them up every morning. I was incensed beyond belief at the astounding gall of these persons. Unashamed of my behavior until later, I yelled at them that if they did not like the birds, or sounds of the ocean, or smells of the flowers, or beauty of the trees, then they should take their #@&! back to the mainland. I asked them to take stock of why did they move here?

    2. While sitting at a Mex restaurant in Kihei (Salsa dance night, Yea!!!), a young couple (he…21, she…22) was sitting at the table across from us. They commented on our dancing and said that they had been there for a week having come to be married and honeymoon on Maui. We chatted for a bit, and they shared nothing but endearing, heartfelt praises for HI. They were intelligent in their comparisons of ‘Paradise’ life and ‘real’ life back home, and spoke matter-of-factly about the pros and cons. In the end, they absolutely loved Maui, and couldn’t wait to return some day. At the wane, I said, “Thank you for coming, and for enjoying our little island so much. Blessings to you”. The young groom turned to me, and said, “No, no! Thank you for living here, and providing such a wonderful place for people like us to come and visit.”

    Aloha nui loa, Jamaica. A hui hou.

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