At some point this past summer, I decided that I'd made it there and that it was time to pack up and try to make it anywhere else. For reasons I'll get into in a future post, I knew in my gut that after 21 years of living in New York City it was time to leave. So I decided to quit my job and move my life to Honolulu, Hawaii.
I'm writing this to share the experience with my friends, family and all the Huffington Post Hawaii readers of what it's like moving from the "mainland" to Hawaii. For all of you who visit, fall in love with the Aloha Spirit and wonder if you could live here, well here's how it's going for me.
Since the first thing that happens when you move somewhere is that you actually have to leave the place where you currently reside, I'd like to give some advice on how to get out smoothly.
About 3 months before I actually left, I sent out an email blast to friends telling them my news. Their response was great and many of them asked if we could get together to say so long before I left. I figured 12 weeks was more than enough time to do that, but in the end, it was probably too much time.
By the last month of living in NYC, I found myself scheduling and rescheduling visits with friends. And each meeting kind of required me to talk about myself and what was going on in my head. Since I generally prefer listening to talking, that was a lot harder than it would seem. But it got downright annoying when I was telling the story for the umpteenth time and I reached a point where I didn't want to hear the sound of my voice.
Of course, I'm the one who did this to myself because when late September finally rolled around, I quit work, but took 2 extra weeks to wind down life in NYC, say more goodbyes and pack my stuff for the move. Then I flew to Ohio, where I grew up, to spend a week with my family. And I took another week to hang in Los Angeles (where I once lived for 4 years) for more hanging with friends and to lay the groundwork for future trips when Island Fever overcomes me. If you're trying to make a clean break, this certainly is not the way to do it!
But somewhere in those last 4 weeks, I realized my journey had become a kind of This Is Your Life stroll through memory lane. Each time I met up with a friend, I found myself reliving political victories, drunken nights, missed opportunities, headlining gigs at CBGBs, clumsy co-workers, drunken afternoons, Yankee triumphs, college pranks, relationship issues, political losses, drunken football Sundays, my childhood "crispy/crunchy" eating phase and all the things that you never really take a breath to think are the moments that are going to bond you to a person for the rest of your lives.
I'm not sure if you're like me, but I'm not an emotional person (except for when it comes to watching a football game!), and it was kind of a draining experience. Part of me felt trapped. And part of me kept thinking shouldn't I be looking for a job instead of enjoying a goodbye meal with this person? But I got through it because I'm blessed to have some truly wonderful friends. Instead of getting strained and stressed by the goodbye tour, I realized how lucky I was to have made so many great friends and to enjoy their support and well wishes as I set off on another crazy voyage. And even though I wouldn't advise spending 12 weeks catching up with everyone you know, I was genuinely grateful to spend time with each and every one of them.
So now I know the key to it all will be the friendships I make here in Hawaii and appreciating all those little, special moments that become more meaningful with time.
However, I have to admit, if you're looking to save some money before you move, there was one great upside to the long goodbye tour. Just about everyone paid for lunch, dinner or drinks! But that's probably for the best because I hear Honolulu is one of the most expensive cities in the U.S.