It was late summer in 2008 when the boys took an impromptu trip to Las Vegas just to do something different and escape. They had a trip to Maui scheduled for the following month but that month just seemed so far away and they needed a break and diversion now.
A month later the boys packed their bags and left their home in a high-rise central city condo tower and took a cab to the airport to board a flight to Maui. It was during this trip that the wheels really started to turn in our heads and things began to change for us. It was a late night on Kaanapali Beach that we both said out loud for the first time… Why not just move to Hawaii? Could we? Dare we?
When the trip ended and we resumed our lives in downtown Salt Lake City. For the most part our thoughts of moving to Hawaii had been forgotten as we jumped back into our lives and our careers. Then one day in October while getting ready to order a shiny new BMW from Germany something snapped. Blake remembered that Maui beach and the boys decided that rather than continuing down the same path they would shake things up and decided then and there that they were moving to the islands.
Blake developed The Boys Great Escape blog in November of that year and started posting findings from research to that blog. We did what many people probably do and we purchased So You Want to Live in Hawaii and anything else we could get our hands on and read them cover to cover absorbing as much information as we could. We had been to all of the islands except for Hawaii Island (The Big Island) and we researched each one in detail looking at costs of living, lifestyle and looking at how it all fit into our lives. From a cost perspective we soon zeroed in on the Puna district of The Big Island although we questioned if it might be too remote for a couple of city boys.
By just after Christmas we had made numerous contacts via the blog and discussion boards and I had discovered PunaWeb.org. Around this same time we found out that Lynn had made President’s Club at his work and the trip for this year was at Waikoloa on The Big Island of Hawaii. What an amazing coincidence huh?! Too perfect for us and a great opportunity for us to check some things out.
In March we arrived for the first time on the Big Island and did a fairly thorough job of checking things out… concentrating primarily on Hawaiian Paradise Park in Puna and the town of Hilo. We also spent 5 days on Kauai that same trip as we were interested in the Lihue as a possible place to move as well.
After returning to Salt Lake City the boys were more motivated than ever and spent a great deal of time researching, talking and planning. One thing they did was set a timeline and establish a date for the move as a way to put a stake in the ground and make a commitment (this date moved several times). The boys had a 16 year old daughter at home that would be leaving for college in a few years so the plan needed to account for this.
Over the next several years we made numerous trips to the islands… 3 – 4 a year and mostly to Hawaii Island. We developed a detailed plan to make this escape work and began putting things in place it make it happen. Unfortunately part of that plan included a great deal of equity in several homes we owned and as we would soon find out the economy and real estate market was about to take a header. What do they say about the best laid plans?
Not to be deterred from our escape we continued down the path and listed our real estate properties for sale in the fall of 2009. The expectation was we’d sell them, pocket the cash and then rent an apartment or corporate housing until it was time to make our move.
What we did not expect is nothing was selling. Our homes were on the market for months and months. Our high-rise condo had lost over $200K in value and our rentals sold for $80K+ under what we paid for them. In the end we not only did not walk away with a nice little nest egg but we ended up tapping savings because we wrote checks at closing. Not exactly how we wanted things to work out but that’s life sometimes and we sucked it up and moved forward.
The rentals sold in March 2010 while we were in Cabo and our condo sold a few months later and we moved into a short-term rental for a few months over the summer. We had revamped our plans repeatedly based on unexpected outcomes and had ultimately decided we would give away or sell most of our possessions and forego moving things.
Most of our furniture sold with the condo as the buyer wanted it and the rest we gave to friends and family. We ended up shipping roughly 20 boxes via the USPS and we also shipped our car via Pasha Hawaii. As we had no expenses or debt and had saved some cash we decided we would rent a small furnished condo and see where things went from there. As we would both be moving without jobs we’d eventually need to find something as the cash dwindled but had plenty to live fairly well for a year or more if we were frugal.
Blake left his job as a director at McCann Erickson the end of July 2010. Lynn gave his notice but his employer was not quite so willing to let him leave. After some negotiations and agreements about an improved live/work balance it was decided that Lynn would continue at his job only he would work from a home office in Hawaii. This turned out to be a great situation and Lynn still does this to this day.
A friend discovered a wonderful home across the street from the ocean on the Hamakua Coast just north of Hilo and alerted us to it. Recognizing that it was a great opportunity and where we thought we wanted to be we snapped it up. After our move to Hawaii we migrated the blog from The Boys Great Escape to The Boys Hawaiian Life.
By Christmas we had started talking about trying out life on the Kona side of the island. We had a great deal of familiarity already with the west side and knew we liked it but wanted to see if life would be what we expected here. We found a great home in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii and were able to move in just a few weeks later. We have been in Kailua-Kona every since and totally love it!
After some planned time off Blake pursued his Hawaii Real Estate License and became an Agent (RS) with Clark Realty Corporation. We have loved every minute of our lives here and have never looked back!