Friday, December 28, 2012

Planning for the New Year

Our goal of reducing our boxes of papers and possessions recently resulted in us finding an unexpected treasure of past five year plans.  The plans go back over 35 years and it was interesting to be able to review them with hindsight and evaluate how things worked out. Though many of our goals took years longer than we expected, in almost every case we eventually got what we set out to achieve.

Over the years we have had goals to buy new cars, own property, live in a house, pay off debts, lose weight, tour Europe, take vacations to Hawaii, move up the corporate ladder, buy a bigger house.  Every acquisition and change in our life resulted in new goals, although keeping financially solvent and being healthy has always been on the list. 

Many people have tried to convince us that all you need is a positive attitude to have everything work out well.  Though a positive attitude is usually a good thing, we have found that having a well thought out plan is a far better approach to getting what we want. Fortunately, staying focused and making progress on our goals has always helped us to be positive.

As we prepare for the start of 2013, we are writing down our next five year plan. Many of our past goals are no longer important to us; we don’t need to “own” our home, or a new car, or take a vacation.  Our plans are to hold on to the wonderful life we have in Hawaii and stay healthy and happy.  

Happy New Year!!
Hau’oli Makahiki Hou!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas in Hawaii

Christmas was not celebrated in Hawaii until the missionaries showed up in the 1820’s, however, the Hawaiians traditionally celebrated the season with a festival called Makahiki.  The Makahiki festival started when the cluster of stars known as the Pleiades appeared in the night sky and lasted several months. The festival was celebrated with hula, songs, feasts, sports competitions and was normally a time of peace.  In 1856, King Kamehameha IV declared Christmas to be a national day of Thanksgiving in Hawaii.

Now days the Christmas season is the start of “high season” in Hawaii, a 90 day period from December 15th though March 15th.   During high season, hotels and other tourist businesses double or triple their prices. We are careful to avoid being stung by the special tourist prices that are so prevalent during the holiday season. Yesterday,  for example, we noticed local avocados selling for $2.89 a pound at the local grocery store, which makes a large avocado about $7; normally they sell for $2 a piece.  

The good side of the Christmas season in Hawaii are the colorful decorations in the stores and hotel lobbies.  The tourists seem cheerful and relaxed basking in the warm tropical sun and playing in the ocean.  Of course, the local businesses and farmers are also cheerful during this season and excited by the throngs of visitors to the island.  All the communities on the islands celebrate with parades, holiday lights, hula presentations, and festivals during this season and the fantastic weather makes it easy to have fun and get into the spirit.

Where ever you are, we hope you are having a wonderful Christmas season.

Mele Kalikimaka! 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Creating an Ideal Life in Hawaii

Relocating to Hawaii from the mainland requires so much planning, effort, and money that we are alarmed when families leave the island in frustration after living here just a short time.  Two families in our condo complex just left, one after two years and another only six months after completing a major move of all their belongings.  Watching people leave the island so quickly has made us focus on how to flourish in Hawaii.  Here are things we are doing to help us live better:

Renting, instead of buying, has allowed us to experience living in many parts of the island over the past five years. Our desires in housing have changed dramatically, as we have, over the years. At first we wanted a great view of Hilo Bay, then we wanted to be closer to a white sand beach.   As we got into better shape we wanted to be near great walking and swimming areas and cared less about the view.  As we have focused more of our time on writing, we want more quiet, solitude, and better security.  For just the cost of moving, we have freedom in recreating our lifestyle in a new location whenever we desire.

Reducing our cost of living, has kept us aware of opportunities on the island.  We have been lucky to get more for less in the current economy in Hawaii.  Reducing our monthly expenses has reduced our stress and brought more workability to our life style. We have significantly cut our rent expenses by timing our moves to the low season and identifying in advance where we wanted to live next.  We have cut back in other areas of our living expenses by researching everything we buy and searching for the best prices. It may not seem like a big deal to buy the best coffee maker or the best coffee grinder, but year after year it adds up to a much more enjoyable life at a much lower cost.

Getting rid of stuff, gives us more space and peace of mind.  We moved everything we owned to Hawaii, and though we initially had to store many of our boxes, we have had time to slowly sort through all our belongings and get rid of things.  Every year we need less space as we shrink the volume of stuff we own.

Having time has been a great gift to us.  We have had time to research, think, contemplate our life, and focus on our health.  We have learned how to deal with our health issues, like gout, and to make changes in what we eat to lose weight and get healthier.  Time has allowed us to learn how to cook new foods and implement new diets, like going wheat-free.

Any time we start to lose touch with how much better our life is on this island compared to anywhere else we have ever lived, we head over to one of the nearby resorts.  We watch the sunset and listen to visitors from the mainland exclaiming with wonder over the beauty.  We watch furrowed faces of people in hotel lobbies at the end of their vacation, waiting for their ride to the airport, already stressed out, yelling in their cell phones about the problems waiting for them when they arrive home. We know that what we appreciate in life we get more of,  so every day we focus on appreciating every aspect of Hawaii that we love, no matter how small, so we will get many, many more years of it!

Your Ideal Hawaii Guides for Living Better in Hawaii