Lahaina, Hawaii

Cruel Sun

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What's it like to live in Lahaina?

Does living in Maui get boring?

I lived there for two different periods of my late twenties and early thirties. I love the vibe of the island. I love the water and the varied microclimates on the island. The locals are nice if you ever get to make a true connection with them. However, I am a redhead and I got tired of putting on thick sunblock everyday. That being said, it is where I hope to retire in a small condo near the beach. Hopefully with a partner that makes me laugh and likes to hold hands while watching the sunset.

People that left Maui after living there

I left 5 days ago, after living there for four and a half years. I miss it already, and I miss the friends I made even more. It's a truly wonderful place, but there's a million reasons we ended up leaving. We wanted to purchase a home of our own, but to do so would have taken several more years of saving and by then who knows what the market would be like. A 1 bedroom 1 bath house on our street in Kula was going for $650,000. That was just insane, and it was a dump. 1/4 acre lot with water, $375,000. Both of us had great jobs (which in itself I didn't want to leave) but it still wasn't enough to accomplish everything we wanted. We missed the city, and it was a bummer having to drive 30 minutes to hope that one of the big box stores in town had what I wanted.

Would I do it all over again, knowing where I'd end up now? Hell yeah. Maui was awesome, and when Southwest starts selling tickets…I'll be buying my next two trips back. I don't regret not trying harder to stay.

People that left Maui after living there

I can write a book about the complexities that make up my decision to leave. I may do so.

I am grateful for the “windfall” that my home has brought me and my ohana. In a perfect world I would stay. I have family and a lifetime of friends I am leaving behind. It’s not easy. However I have a child about to start school. Schools on Maui suck. The teachers are over worked and underpaid. The melting pot that makes Maui so awesome also makes the schools difficult for a number of reasons. I am quarter Hawaiian. Which means my daughter has Hawaiian blood. However she looks like my Irish wife. Watching her get called “fucking haole” by Japanese, Filipino and Micronesian immigrants guts me. We are local. She is Hawaiian. It’s not fair to her. What am I going to do, scrap with these kids parents? Also all the newcomers want to change the island. The airport area looks like SoCal. Kihei is a wasteland of transplants, druggies, tourists and locals just trying to hang on. I haven’t gone Lahaina or Hana in years because of traffic. It makes me so sad.

I understand progress. And people migrate to beautiful areas. I get it. But Hawaii is special. And what makes it special is dying. Maybe I am part of the problem by leaving. I will spread aloha in my new home. I will tell the stories of what Maui used to be. There is no going back so might as well move on. It’s so complicated. Unless you are local and have roots I don’t think you can fully understand.

What is the best thing about living on Maui? And the worst?

The best thing, the outdoor lifestyle opportunities. Whether you swim, bike, run, surf, golf, windsurf, kiteboard, SUP, hike, snorkel, fish, play tennis or just like being outside, Maui is amazing. It is spectacularly beautiful and you can you participate in these activities just about 365 days of the year. There are many other amazing things including the people, the laid back atmosphere etc.

The worst thing as many people have said is cost. It is extremely expensive here. There is another “cost” that I see very often as well. Many people are transplants and living on Maui you are very far from family and former friends. People often leave to take care of aging parents, to be closer to kids and grandkids or because they simply miss the folks they love back on the mainland. Being far from loved ones is another cost to consider when considering living on any of the Hawaiian islands.

What's it like to live on Maui? The pros and cons