Cons of Living in Hawai'i

3:15 PM

Do not get me wrong, I love living on Oahu and truly feel at home here. That being said, every place you visit will have negative aspects too.

There are some minor things about Hawai'i that can be mildly annoying, like the wild chickens pooping on your car and vog from the volcano making it hard to breathe, but I have tried to highlight some of the major points below.

Living in Paradise is Expensive
The cost of living here is very high. From rent to groceries, everything is a little more expensive than the mainland. Almost everything has to be shipped here so you’ll find yourself paying more for milk than gas and paying outrageous fees in shipping when you shop online. It does not help that jobs are limited here and it seems that we tend to have generally lower wages compared to other states (at least in my experience).

Traffic is Dreadful

We have 3 highways, just 3, and they do not even go to all parts of the island. Many of the less populated areas only have back roads to get there which means it backs up easily. Anytime you need to go anywhere on the island you have to plan ahead because of traffic. There is constant roadwork because the roads are old and/or they are expanding the lanes. One accident on any of the 3 highways means traffic on the entire island comes to a standstill. The state of our traffic situation is easily the most discussed topic in conversations. Unfortunately, the building of the new rail system is actually causing more traffic and it will not even be ready for years to come.

Poor Public Transport
The bad traffic is only compounded by the fact that the public transportation is not very good. Riding the bus is always a negative experience for me as they are not vary clean and take forever to get anywhere. We have very few taxis and if you happen to find one, you may upwards of $100 to get across the island. I am a big fan of carpooling, however, there is no good incentive here to carpool, unlike in California. This city is also not built for bikes, there are few bike lanes and narrow roads which leads to many accidents. In addition, bikes seem to be a hot commodity and are often stolen, even though you have to register them at the DMV (which is annoying).

Large Homeless Population
We have the highest rate of homelessness per capita than any other state and this is a direct result of rising cost of living combined with low wages. There are homeless encampments all over that just look a neighborhood of tents set up on random city blocks. A lot of families with children are on the streets. This is a negative because it can be very easy to become homeless here.

Good Burritos are Hard to Find
There is no In n Out, ‘nuff said. 
Just kidding…kind of. You may not see this as a negative, but being from Southern California, I really miss certain foods that are hard to come by here unless you are a good cook and have grandma’s secret recipe. I have been to all of the restaurants that people suggest and nothing compares to the greasy carne asadas or a double double animal style I could get back in CA. I also have not been able to find decent Italian food, which is a crime. We have an abundance of Asian cuisine and nothing beats a local plate lunch, but if they built just one Chipotle I would be happy.

Island Fever
This is a very real illness that many suffer from. Whether you are a local that has never been anywhere else or a mainlander who misses going for road trips, the island does get small. Sometimes I miss the change in scenery or just want to go for a drive and not hit the sea.

It is always beautiful here, even when it is raining. The weather is warm year around. The only season we get is Summer, and while that is nice, sometimes you just want to wear a hoodie and not overheat. 

Kama’aina Anger
Locals or kama’aina (ka-ma-eye-na) have mixed feelings about foreigners. Even though I am a haole (how-lee: white person or foreigner) I have not experienced this first-hand, but it is something that comes up. Specifically, there are some Hawaiians who have negative feelings about the expanding tourism trade here and the history behind how Hawaii became a state. In my experience, those who face the most discrimination tend to be the types who already have pre-conceived and incorrect ideas of Hawaiians and their culture. 

The Aloha Spirit is everywhere. I try to talk to locals when I am out and about. I try to immerse myself in their culture and get to know them. This goes a long way in showing respect and I like to think that I am showing them that not all haoles are bad. The majority of locals that I meet have always been eager to teach me things about their culture and way of life. A smile and wave can go a long way!

My family and I have experienced several thefts of belongings and a car break-in. This is not uncommon. I have seen cars being broken into, I have walked down the beach and passed families that just came up to their car with busted windows. I have had random locals and lifeguards come up to me on the beach and tell me not to put my stuff in a certain spot because of the people sitting in lost proximity. We hear stories from friends about what they had stolen from them as well. Basically, you really cannot leave anything unattended.

*These are merely my personal observations, not cited sources.

Alecia <3

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