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It’s only been 9 months since our move from Vegas to Kauai and I can already feel the change it’s made on our lives for the better. When we lived in Vegas our lives felt so fast paced and hectic that it was like time was just flying by and we were missing out on really LIVING our lives. We were living in a city that sometimes made us forget what truly matters, but all of that changed as soon as we got to Kauai. I’ve learned a lot about life and happiness in these past 9 months of living in Hawaii and I want to share with you the ways that Hawaii has helped us live a better life and become better people. You don’t have to live in Hawaii to apply these things to your life, it’s YOUR life and you have the power to make it exactly how you want, you just have to know how. So, let me share the 10 ways Hawaii helped me live a better life and what you can learn from them.
1. LESS IS MORE.
When we were packing up our belongings for our move to Kauai, we had to find a way to fit whatever we could on to a 7 foot by 4 foot palette because, well, moving across the ocean is expensive and that’s all we could afford to ship. As you can imagine that is not a very big space, so we were pretty limited on what we could bring, so that’s when we really had to decided what our most important possessions were. At first I thought I would never be able to do it, I mean, my closet alone could have fit on that palette (I’m not proud of that) but once we started getting rid of things, it actually felt good. When you have to narrow down your belongings to only the essential things needed to live, you start to realize how many unnecessary things you accumulate and tell yourself you need.
Once we made it to Kauai and unpacked all of our boxes, I was actually pretty surprised to find that I didn’t miss any of the items we had gotten rid of. Life here in Hawaii is a lot more simple and those items were no longer relevant. Very few people here in Hawaii are worried about material possessions and instead are focused more on spending time outdoors and being with family. Not only is it freeing to let go of those items but you will be saving yourself money! This logic can be applied to more than just material possessions, it can mean less drama in your life, less negative thinking, or less worrying. We only have so much space in our lives and we shouldn’t waste it on anything negative, fill it with only things that can enrich your life and make you smile!
Family is everything! One of the things I loved so much about Cijay when I got to know him was his family. They are so kind and welcoming, they immediately make you feel like you’re part of their family. It’s been so long since my husband or I have lived near our families and it feels so good to finally have them close, especially now that we have our little girl.
There is a great sense of community here, Hawaiians really embrace that Aloha Spirit by welcoming everyone with open arms and being friendly to everyone they encounter. I think we can all learn to care a little more for those around us, not only just our family, but our friends and even strangers. How much better would this world be if we all loved a little more and took time to care for others needs and not just our own.
3. THE GREAT OUTDOORS.
Living in Hawaii with a landscape that feels like paradise makes you naturally want to spend a lot of time outdoors, but you don’t need to live in Hawaii to appreciate your outdoor surroundings. Hawaiians are always outside and maybe that’s one of the reasons Hawaii is consistently rated the healthiest state in America. We are constantly outside at the beach, hiking, or just going for a nice walk. One of the best cures for depression or even just to ease some stress is to explore the great outdoors. So get yourself outside and take time to enjoy the fresh air, even if it is just for a walk!
4. TAKING CARE OF THIS PLANET.
I’ve always cared about this planet and ways we can help make it better, but Hawaiians really take pride in preserving and respecting their land. This is something we can all learn from. We only have one planet and we should be doing everything we can to take care of it. Two years ago Hawaii banned plastic bags, which is a huge step for this environment since plastic isn’t biodegradable. There are groups and organizations like the Surfrider Foundation that are passionately protecting our beaches and oceans by getting the community involved in regular beach cleanups. We will actually be volunteering in our first beach cleanup on September 16th which happens to be International Coastal Cleanup Day, so I can’t wait to share that experience with you all (and yes we will be bringing Mia with us, it’s important that she learns at a young age to cleanup after herself and take care of the planet!).
5. RELAXED LIFESTYLE.
If you’ve ever heard someone say how Hawaiians live on island time, well it’s true. Island time refers to living a more slow paced life, basically moving on your own time with no sense of urgency, and let me just tell you, I love it! Life in Hawaii moves a little slower and it allows you to have more time to enjoy the little moments. I think we’re all guilty of rushing through life at times, whether it’s at work, school, dinner, etc., but I promise you if you just take a deep breath and slow down, you’ll be so much happier truly living in the moment!
6. HEALTHY LIVING.
I have never felt healthier in my life than I feel right now living in Hawaii and for so many reasons. Everyone here in Kauai naturally starts their day early and ends their day early. I never thought I would be a morning person, but it feels so good to wake up with the sun and be in bed no later than 10pm. I don’t get to miss a moment of sunlight and I actually feel healthier with this sleep schedule. If you aren’t already or even if you think you will never like waking up that early, I recommend trying it, because I promise, you will start to feel so much better and happier.
As I mentioned above about the great outdoors, everyone in Hawaii spends majority of their time outside. Spending so much time in nature not only can help to enlighten your mood, but it’s healthier for our bodies to be outside getting sunlight and fresh air, plus it keeps you more active whether it’s running around at the beach, hiking, or just exploring. You don’t need to live somewhere like Hawaii to motivate you to get outside, find what fun outdoor activities your area has to offer and start breathing in that fresh air!
I think one of my favorite things about living in Hawaii is all of the fresh fruits and veggies that are readily available to us. We have recently started our own garden of fruits and veggies in our back yard (although, I can’t take much credit for that because my husband is the rockstar gardener). Even though you can get pretty much any fruit or veggie organic in the grocery store, you still don’t know exactly where it is coming from and they can get expensive, so it’s a pretty great feeling, when the foods you are eating are coming fresh directly from your own backyard that you grew yourself and bonus, they’re free! Almost everyone here has some fruits or veggies growing in their yard and that’s another great thing about the loving people in Hawaii because all of our neighbors have no problem sharing them. I know not everyone has the ability to grow there own foods depending where you live, but eating better foods in general should be a priority on everyone’s list. I love that I’m putting healthy, nutritious foods into my body now and I feel better for it. Try to take a step back from processed foods and get those wholesome foods into your bodies!
Below is a photo of the first veggies we grew in our garden!
7. SAVING MONEY.
Okay, I know what you’re thinking, “Amanda, why are you writing about saving money when you live in one of the most expensive places in America?” Well, that’s exactly why I’m writing about this. I always thought I was a good saver and responsible with my money until I got to Hawaii. I made great money when I lived in Vegas and while I did save some of my money, I was still wasteful with most of it. I lived a lifestyle in Vegas where I didn’t need to pay attention to what I was spending because I could afford it and because of that I wasn’t spending my money responsibly. Now, that we live in Hawaii, where the cost of living is very high and the wages are much lower, I am more aware of how we’re spending our money. I just hate that it took me till now to realize that I didn’t need all of those things I was spending my money on before and how I could be managing my money more responsibly. One of the biggest questions we get asked from our friends and family back in the mainland is “Is it really that expensive to live in Hawaii?” and the answer is “Yes!”, but believe it or not, just because it is more expensive doesn’t mean you can’t one day live here yourself. It’s all about being smart, like finding the right jobs, spending money only on the essential things, growing your own food, and saving money on activities by spending time outdoors. This logic can be applied to your life no matter where you live. Money is one of the biggest stresses in most of our lives, but it doesn’t have to be if you know how to manage it properly.
8. DO WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY.
People in Hawaii are happy people and not just because they live in one of the most beautiful places in the world, but because they are spending majority of their time doing what they love. They are letting their passions guide them through life. When we moved here to Kauai our main intentions were to be happy. We wanted a life that would fill us with joy and even though not everyday is perfect, we no longer let the negative things in our life control us. My husband is getting to work with his dad which he has wanted to do for a long time and I get to teach barre and ballet classes while posting on this exciting new blog! We’re following our passions and it feels good. We don’t waste time doing things that won’t bring happiness into our lives and we’re making sure Mia grows up with that same joy filled life. Life is too short to not spend every minute doing something that makes you happy, so to quote our daughters favorite movie right now (Sing) “Don’t let fear stop you from doing what you love!”