You Can Check Out Any Time You Like

Aloha!

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.”)

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Aloha, Jamaica

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