Tuesday, February 24, 2009


In 2007 we decided to take a year off from the rat race in Silicon Valley. We had always dreamed of living in Hawaii to experience the laid back lifestyle, the warm days all year long, and have abundant fresh fish. We found a place to rent in Hilo that was perfect for relaxing without being too expensive.

One year has gone by and now it is time for us to get back to work. We have been reviewing our past year and here is our summary of what we learned:

* Not having a "job" was a lot more fun than we ever imagined. We woke up when we wanted, took daily swims, and had long naps on the couch. The feeling of no pressure to do anything, for the first time in our lives, was wonderful.

* Even though it is 2000 miles away, we were never able to completely cut ourselves off from mainland news. We were, and continue to be, bothered by the stock market crashing, the massive number of layoffs, and the global economy falling apart. This past year we watched our stock portfolio drop 70% and had to wait for the FDIC to cover some of our savings in banks that went broke. On the other hand, being in Hilo did make the news feel a long way away and kept us from being overly upset or getting depressed about the situation.

* We have found it to be a huge challenge to cut back on spending. Though we had carefully created a budget to minimize our spending and conserve our savings, some of our cut backs were unrealistic and we continue to find hidden expenses that surprise us. Downsizing spending is more of a process than a switch that can be just flipped. We have had to constantly rethink our views on what we need versus want and continue to find ways to cut back and reset our expectations.

* We are relieved that we didn't arrive in Hawaii and immediately buy or build a house. After renting in Hilo for 13 months we have learned about how expensive and time consuming it can be to maintain a house in the Hawaiian climate. And we have come to the conclusion that we can't afford as much house as we had originally planned.

* It has been hard to grapple with the reality of our future job prospects and our silicon-valley-tech career ending. But we feel rested and ready to reinvent ourselves. We wonder what we will end up doing as we consider our next adventure.

Most of all, we are very thankful to be settled in Hawaii and excited about our future in Hilo.


Anonymous said...

Does this mean you are going back to the mainland or you are going to be seeking employment there? I did not realize you had taken the time off. You guys have kind of been our heros ;-). Best of luck in what ever you decide.

Anonymous said...

Hi have been a RSS subscriber. Love your positive and refreshing posts. I grew up in Hilo and now live in Honolulu. Good luck on your future endeavors.

Victoria Hokulani said...

The part about being so far away from the mainland rang my bell. I read all of this doom and gloom and economic collapse and wonder about the anxiety levels there. I am not feeling it here, but I know there are worries brewing. The one thing that I know of that sends anxiety levels soaring around here would be Matson containers getting stalled or thwarted. That is when things go on RED ALERT.
I hope you folks are sticking around, too. I am sure you have plenty of ideas for the reinvention of yourselves. I am a huge fan of self employment, myself. The possibilities around here are limitless. I can hardly wait to see what you two come up with and have a feeling it will be novel and creative as well as profitable. A hui hou!

Anonymous said...

Does this mean you are leaving Hilo? How is the job market in Hilo now with this economy?

Kate said...

I love Hilo! It sounds like you might be staying there? I was last there in October of 2007.....found your blog recently through your youtube channel. My friend, who lives in Paradise Park has shared about the effect of the climate on her home. (It even affected my stuff when I was visiting.)
Almost everyone is reinventing themselves these days and you have a fabulous locale to do yours in!

Anonymous said...

Wow, terrific insight on something that I have considered. The spending side is something I had not weighed in the formula.

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