Sunday, May 17, 2009


We get a lot of emails from people eager to move to Hilo, Hawaii. They are certain that they will love the rain, the remoteness, and the rigors of tropical yard work. They are excited about living on Hawaii’s wonderful vegetables, fruit, and fish, and they dream about a more relaxed lifestyle. We advise them to come, stay a while, be with the people, get the feel of the place, take the time to make sure this will be the happy place that they are seeking.

Many people claim that you bring your happiness with you and that if you didn’t bring it along, you won’t find it where you are going. But in our many moves, we have found that each place has its own culture and its own ethics and being out of synch with those community values can destroy a lot of the happiness we brought with us.

We have found that the quality of life in each community is greatly affected by the local politics, taxes, crime, pollution, weather, and the community’s views about children, religion, money, schools, food, the earth. For example we once lived in a place where drinking while driving was common, in fact liquor stores had drive through windows so you didn’t have to get out of your car to keep drinking while driving. Not surprisingly this resulted in us having many close calls with drunk drivers while on the road and endless tragic stories of others who were not as lucky. Another time we lived on a wonderful beach in the Los Angeles area and as much fun as being on the beach every day was, the serious crimes that took place around us made it hard to be happy there.

Since then we have focused on living in places where our values were more consistent with the community and it has been wonderful. In the Silicon Valley area, where we lived for 10 years, we found it a place that highly valued technology, technical skills, safe driving, and low crime and that added greatly to our happiness. Over time Silicon Valley became more focused on getting rich then about technology, crime surged, accidents soared, and we felt out of synch with the new community ethic.

In Hilo, we like the slow pace of life, with time to talk story, where money is not as important as family, organic produce and fresh fish are valued, and being respectful of the land, history, and each other is the ethic. These things, and many others, make Hilo a Happy Place for us right now.


Keahi Pelayo said...

Everything in nature grows and changes. Why do we humans believe that we can freeze things or a place in a particular era or time?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your insights. We are among those contemplating such a move and find your thoughts invaluable to our own thinking.

A question: Do you have any experience yet in avoiding mold to books or documents brought to Hilo. We couldn't imagine coming without our albums, - - but we don't want to ruin them either.

Thanks again for all you do for those of us thinking seriously about Hilo as home. Place does matter!

HiloLiving said...

Mold and mildew are a part of living in Hilo. We battle them with air flow and clorox. We keep our important photos in plastic boxes with damp rid (moisture absorbing clay packets) that we replace often. If you can afford the electric, AC and dehumdifiers greatly reduce the moisture. You can create a low-humidity room for important documents and photos, similar to what libraries do.

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