Hawaii – A year in Recap
Originally published – jan 7th, 2021
Well, the 1-year anniversary of the move from Oregon to Hawaii is upon us, and I figure it would make for a good time to reflect on the last year, what led us here, and how the move has gone. I figure I should start at the beginning…My lady and I were in Oregon, making it day to day, month to month, in rentals looking for a place to buy in Oregon to make both a home, as well as run the seed breeding grow from. We were up in the foothills above Springfield Oregon, living in a 5th wheel at the time, rebuilding after a failed partnership in Mendocino. It was a tough time, and one that had us evaluating many choices and pathways. We had been debating on moving to several more affordable areas – Maine, Michigan, eastern Oregon, and several other were debated while we tried to decide what was best for us and our life. It was winter, and we got home from looking at yet another property in Oregon that ended up a no go to purchase. There was snow on the ground at the time, and when we got home, it was freezing inside the RV, and the heater was crapping out. I said in jest, “Fuck this, I am looking somewhere warm, like Hawaii.” Little did I know how that spark would grow….
I started looking on Craigslist and realty websites and I quickly saw that in Hawaii our dollar went a lot further to buy property then in Oregon. The more research and reading we did, and the more we talked about it, the better the idea seemed and the more it called to us. We loved the idea of being able to grow year-round, and it seemed like the culture was cannabis friendly. Most importantly, it seemed that we could build, and create the home we wanted, and finally put down roots. I cannot say at what point the joke morphed into a reality, and into a plan, but it surely did. We decided to go into Hawaii or Bust mode. My lady took just about every nursing shift she could, and I went into full scale hustle mode. We booked a one-way flight for about a year out. We gave ourselves that year to stack cash, prepare, get Charlie our bull terrier legal to import. We got prepaid in on 6 months in an Airbnb to give ourselves time to either buy or rent a home as worst-case scenario. We knew it was a gamble, and we wondered if it would pan out, or if we would have to limp back to Oregon broke with our tails between our legs. In the planning stage, 6 months in the Airbnb seemed both so fast and way to short all at once. We truly did not know how it would go, and that was both terrifying and freeing all at the same time.
We flew out on Jan 7th, 2020 full of hope, courage, fear, sadness, happiness, and just about everything in between. That flight is cemented in my mind as one of both the fastest, and slowest days ever. We touched down in a new place, never even had visited Hawaii prior to moving out. We sold nearly everything we owned, and shipped what we kept, including my lifetimes worth of seeds, and Charlie had to come on his own flight as dogs must go thru processing in Honolulu. We literally touched down with suitcases holding everything we owned, a bank account with a years’ worth of work and savings, and the hope that we could somehow create a life on a new island where we knew no one.
Hawaii first impression was pretty much what I pictured…we flew into Kona where you land on a cleared strip of lava carved out next to the ocean and exit into tiki hut themed terminals. It was cold and snowy in Oregon when we left, and we touched down to low 90s with an entirely different sunshine then what Oregon has. We explored Kona a bit, but our Airbnb was on the other side of the island, so we made the journey over to the East Side. As we came down the volcano and saw the Hilo bay area for the first time, it was literally driving into the black clouds and rain. The East Side where we had booked and intended to find a home is the wet side, and those first few months we were shown what the rain of Hawaii can look like. One of those first weeks there was over 4 feet of rain! I cannot lie, there was a few times in that Airbnb where we listened to the pounding rain and looked at each other with the feeling of oh god what did we do. That first month especially was a rough one, as we did not see a bit of sunshine and was endless rain every day. We started looking for a home, and quickly found that while there was a lot of cheap places, they were cheap for a reason, and were either inaccessible, next to meth houses, or would take months of bulldozer work. We had one major place we were after and put an offer in on in, which now we are so glad fell thru, but mostly, was dead ends.
The property we ended up buying we feel that the universe, karma, whatever you want to call it, put in our path. After yet another property had fallen thru, I posted a comment on a Hawaiian Facebook group about how frustrating it was when you have cash in pocket, but owners keep toying with your time and get your hopes up just to flake out. A gentleman replied saying, “Ive got a property go drive by see what you think.” We checked it out and liked the area but the first time, we did not find the property by ourselves. He came out to meet us and show the place. When we first walked it, it was one those moments where we were like, ok this is too nice do not get hopes up going to be way out of our price point or would have some crazy terms or something. We had looked at quite a few places trying to find owner carries, so it was a situation we had gone thru quite a few times at this point. It had clearly been loved at one time, dozens of established trees, and then with no one living there for years, the jungle was working hard to reclaim it. We could barely get 200 feet into the property that first time, but what we saw had so much potential. It was love at first sight, but as my lady and I were talking privately, our consensus was do not get the hopes up. What happened next surprised the hell out of us. It still blows my mind, but the owner basically had his end price in mind, and we got to pick our down payment, our monthly payment, and we were able to get in at a great interest rate instead of a sky high one like most owner carries. It felt damn good to shake his hand and agree, but nothing compared to when we signed the paperwork at the title company, and it became real. We landed in January, shook his hand in February, paid our deposit and started escrow, and then Closed escrow end of Feb. Pretty fast timeline, but when its right, its right.
Continued in Part 2….
These photos - were the very first ones we took of the property, when we first visited it.