Moving from San Diego to Hawaii – An Inside Look into One Person’s Experience

Courtesy of Hawaiian Airlines

My trans-Pacific journey aboard Hawaiian Airlines from classy, sunny San Diego to the tropical paradise of Hawaii took place about 3 years ago.

It’s funny, but each time I told a friend I was moving away from San Diego, the immediate response was, “Oh, that’s too bad for you. Where are you going?” (After they said, “NOOO, please don’t leave!” of course, hahaha). But when I said, “I’m moving to Hawaii,” the response was always, “REALLY? Wow!” So, naturally, I’ve concluded the only place that’s better to live after San Diego is Hawaii. And after living around the world, I whole-heartedly agree. San Diego and Hawaii are the absolute BEST places to live.

You may be wondering—how did I do this and what is the experience like?

Well, I must first admit my (wonderful) husband is originally from Hawaii, so therefore, I have an “in.” I completely understand and embrace the culture here, and I knew what I was getting into when we made this move. How we did it was to begin looking for job opportunities prior to our ideal move date (which for us was based around the school schedule). What actually happened was my husband found his dream job on the island of Oahu six months too soon, so he found a cheap rental in Waikiki and moved ahead of me. In the end, that small sacrifice was worth it.

Shipping our household to Oahu was EXPENSIVE.

Listing by Hawaii Life in Laie

We moved absolutely everything we owned because I believed purchasing new furnishings here would be difficult. It turns out, I was wrong. Take my advice and only move what you absolutely LOVE and even then, scale back! Homes here are more expensive than in San Diego (even compared to North County home prices), and you’ll likely end up going smaller. You may think, “I’m from SD—I know they SAY we’ll be outside more often, but you still need your space!” And I’m here to tell you that in Hawaii, there really is no difference between the feeling inside and outside. Does that make sense? For example, the outside air here is balmy and slightly breezy and very comfortable most of the time. Actually, the air outside is often more comfortable than inside because those trade winds you’ve heard about feel so good. Sometimes being outside in San Diego was difficult because, depending on the time of year, the temperatures were either too hot or too cold. Most of the year here in Hawaii the temperature is so comfortable you’ll move seamlessly between outdoors and indoors. Therefore, living in a smaller indoor space makes sense.

Furthermore, I thought finding furnishings would be difficult; meaning, it would be hard to find furnishings in the styles I admire with the limited supply in the islands. However, I’ve found there are some new furniture stores on Oahu—halleluiah! Now, don’t get too excited, this isn’t Palm Springs or LA, but there are some unique places to explore and find furniture treasures. The only thing I have noticed a distinct lack of is larger area rugs…who do I need to know to change this sorry reality?! The take-away—if you have or want area rugs, you’d better move them here!

As for hardships found because of the move, I’ll say this, I miss the food!

If you’ve ever eaten the goddess wraps at Naked Café, raspberry scones from the bakery at Jimbo’s grocery store, the shrimp ceviche with tortilla chips and avocado at Rudy’s Taco Shop or the carne asada burrito at El Indio Mexican Restaurant you know what I’m talking about! However, don’t despair! I’ve traded them in for fish wraps with watercress dipping sauce from da Cove Health Bar, bird bars in the bakery at Down To Earth Organic & Natural foods store, all-you-can-eat BBQ brisket at Sikdorak, and spicy ahi poke bowls drizzled with unagi sauce found at Nico’s Pier 38. I’m a foodie at heart and enjoying food is a big part of my quality of life. I’ve found that although I miss the food I left behind, there’s plenty of new food to love here in Hawaii!

One thing that is so true, living in both places you’ll find most people are serious about their choice of “exercise.”

Courtesy of San Diego Beach and Adventures

I put quotations around “exercise” because for some, what they do is a hobby, a passion, or even a form of religion. For me, it’s an extension to my quality of life and I must admit, I really miss my twice-weekly Torrey Pines hikes! However, now I walk Kailua Beach a couple times a week. Both the Torrey Pines hike and the Kailua Beach walk give me a solid 5-mile, 1.5 hour walk. Both offer inspiring views, and both are world-renowned. Before you ask, yes, I realize my fortune and believe me, I count my blessings!

As for missing my friends, that goes without saying; I miss them all terribly.

However, what they say about “Ohana” in Hawaii is true—people in Hawaii are welcoming and friendly. You’ll make friends for life here. Furthermore, your SD friends, friends-of-friends, and long-lost relatives will all come to visit. Often. Therefore, my last words of advice I’ll leave you with is when choosing a smaller living space, be sure there is at least room for a pull-out sofa!

OK, one last-last item to share; if you are also dreaming about making the move from San Diego to Hawaii, reach out to me and let me guide you! This is what I do—I’m a realtor representing clients in paradise! And truthfully, it actually is as fun as it sounds. I love my Hawaii Life!

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Tina Jones

July 30, 2018

Love this. Love you. Miss you terribly. When I move to Hawaii, I’ll bring a toothbrush and start over. 😉 I hope you blog about your house hunt and renovations. Can’t wait to read more. xoxoxo


July 30, 2018

> Thanks, Tina?You’re the Best! Move to Hawaii with me TOMORROW! ??

Rodney Aries

August 2, 2018

We moved from San Diego/Seattle to Kona… Here is how it started

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