Moving to Maui


maui photosLiving in paradise, as you may have guessed, does not suck. It is warm year around, filled with more beaches than you could ever make it to in one vacation, has a unique and refreshing culture, and everything is beautiful… the people, the mountains, the ocean, even the snow cones. Before I decided to live in Hawaii, one of the most desolate places in the world, I was warned that I would get rock fever and would move back to the mainland again within a year, as something like 90% of people who decide to move to Maui end up doing. I was warned that many of the locals have lost their sense of “aloha” with mainlanders who decide they want to live the easy life in paradise. I was told I would never be able to afford living here and be constantly miserable trying to afford gas and groceries.

But here’s the thing: every place is what you make of it.


If you move to an island for the first time thinking you’ll never want to move somewhere else or go back home and that you’ll be celebrating your 70th wedding anniversary down the street on the famous Front Street in Lahaina, you’ve already set yourself up for failure. If you move to Maui thinking you’ll have no problem finding a house-sitting gig, a high paying job that is both personally and professionally fulfilling, and a life that is full of beaches and cocktails and completely devoid of any real strife, you’re wrong. Plus, at least in my opinion, that seems really boring. My advice is to go into your move, wherever it may be, with less expectation and more adventure.

That being said, Maui has a lot of potential for becoming my paradise, but I’m not putting any labels on it yet. From the winding Road to Hana to the sunrise on Haleakala to beach parties to excellent surfing, there’s no reason to be bored on this island. And although I’m from the huge state of Texas, I go farther out and do more on this island than I ever did living in the boiling concrete wonder that is Dallas.

Just for the record, I’ve only lived here about a month, but I haven’t met one person that has been in any way rude or unwelcoming. I’m sure they’re out there. They’re everywhere, really. People are people and places are places, after all. I found a job that I actually enjoy within the first month of moving here, and yes, buying groceries and filling up my Toyota 4Runner makes me want to die a little inside, but no one ever said Maui was cheap. They just said it was awesome. So far, I believe them.

Update: Moving to Maui – One Year Later

Photos by Peter Rimkus and Kelsey Love

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  • Thank you for this article and the great comments. My Mom is thinking of moving to Maui and we keep telling her, “Just go for it”. She has friends there who will take her in until she finds housing.

  • I am thinking of doing this, retired from Fire Dept, single, like roadbiking & MTB, snorkeling, surfing, but I will keep my house in Calif (Sierras), I like your “life is an Adventure” attitude, I lived for about 6 yrs at Tahoe, there was a myth there “The big Blue Lake and Sky” syndrom (If you had a setback, broken heart, bad divorce, a bad stumble in lfe, then just move to the Beautiful Blue Lake and Blue sky, and just like you catch the measles, you’ be “fixxed” just because you got exposed to it. I finally move backed to lower altitude, mostly because the “Winters were just too long”, and an hour less commute.


  • Thank you for all the great ‘insights’ !!! Planning a move within 2 years and need to know where to even start! Have spent a month on Maui for the last 4 years and just can’t get enough. I know it’s where I want to be. Nervous about the housing!

  • Our “retirement” goal is to move to Kihei. We were married in Wailea and a few years ago we bought a little condo at the Keonekai complex and that’s where we plan to move to. We have vacationed 4 weeks a year in Kihei for 12 years. We feel like it’s our home. My husband is an executive chef and I’m in marketing and hospitality so we will probably be able to work until we don’t need to. Just love the island, in total, but especially Kihei. Maui no ka oi. By far!

  • I have been working on a Maui move for 10yrs, but my auto repair center, and family here in Texas, are the real challenge. Just bought a condo in Kihei this summer, but still can’t find a way to tie up all the loose ends here. My mom and dad are mad. My wife feels betrayed. My grown kids think I’m crazy. All my close friends think fulfilling a dream like moving to Maui, is awesome! I hope it all works for you guys, Thanks for sharing!

    • Ya gotta live your life for you and not your parents or grown kids. The wife, well, you need to work that one out. If the kids felt like moving somewhere else, they’d go. Your parents should want you to be happy, and come visit often. You won’t be around forever, so live your dream while you still can.

    • Good point, Steve. It’s hard for me to compare because our circumstances are very different, but just remember that Maui is still the U.S. After just living in Costa Rica, it’s nice that here I can still call home whenever I’d like and my family doesn’t even need a passport to come see me. Keep that in mind and good luck!

  • Thanks for the advice Kelsey! My husband and I were married in Maui and have visited for several weeks each year. We decided in 2009 that we wanted to make our “forever home” in Hawaii-Maui preferably…We are both BSN RN’s, but we decided that the cost of living there is such that we needed to be better prepared before we made the move. We went back to school and are 8 weeks away from graduating with Master’s degrees in Nursing-which will put us in a higher income bracket, downsized all belongings and vehicles and have been saving like crazy to make the move…I really am hoping that our extensive planning, saving and intense desire to get there will pay off. We also have heard about the less than friendly nature of Native Hawaiians toward “Haoles” (there are many blogs about it) but we are hopeful that we will be able to become part of the community with time. Please DO keep us updated with your experiences-everything helps!!

  • Good for you, taking the chance and moving there. My husband and I have visited Maui several times, and for years have talked about moving there. Such a big dream of ours. What a life to live, with our young children. ENJOY and Aloha!

  • A month in Maui is way too premature to come to conclusions. Six months maybe. I would love to hear from you then. But thanks for a well written perspective from someone who moved to Maui.

  • I recommend before moving all your belongings in a container over to Maui, you rent a place for a few months and see if its for you, sorry I didn’t try that first before I moved to Maui. It’s not all paradise. Please tell us all about your experience again about 1year later! Alooooooha

    • Hi, Kim! Our rule when we move (also moved to Costa Rica earlier this year) is to only bring what we can carry. No furniture, just some checked bags and what we can cram into a couple carry-ons. Find a furnished room and call it a day. I’ll definitely check in again after more time has passed!

    • No shipping, just bought a car (there are tons of cheap options) and scooter when we got to the island. I’m also testing out the bus this week to see how public transportation holds up.

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