How did you move to Maui? {a series!}

I love finding out how others moved to Maui and made their dreams a reality. I get emails from people all the time with questions about moving here. Some want to move here for just a few months while others are wanting to sell all of their stuff and turn Maui into their permanent home.

They always want to know, “How did you move to Maui?!”

I’ve shared my story here and thought it would be fabulous to share other’s. I feel blessed to have made some pretty amazing friends here on Maui. I’ve asked them to share their stories and offer inspiration, tips.

Today is the first in a series of “How did you move to Maui” posts. It’s from Jake a.k.a. @DJSmook on twitter. If you follow Jake on Twitter you’ll soon see he’s a positive force online and always offers an “Aloha!” What I love about his story is that it’s told from his perspective of being a child whose parents one day said, “were moving to Maui!” Pretty cool.

“Hey @DJSmook, how did you get to Maui?”

It was back in October 25, 1995 at around 430 p.m. My sister and I just got home from school in Oak Park Illinois.  My Mom was on the phone at the time we stepped into the house.  She looked pretty happy about something.  She must have been on the phone for about 30 minutes or so after we got home.  I also noticed that my Dad was busy packing up his office and den when I went into the basement to find out what was going on.  He said it was for something very big that was going to happen to our family.

At around 5 PM, my Mom and Dad called all of us back to the dining room and said they had an announcement to make to the family.  Upon settling down she asked us how school was and so on and so forth.  There was a very long pause after that.  I then read my Mother’s mind and blurted out, “We’re moving to Maui Hawaii aren’t we!?”  Both my parents were speechless. We were told that were flying out on the very early morning on Halloween day.  Both of my parents had accepted jobs and were starting in November 1995.

My Dad quickly went to sleep because he had to drive our van cross-country to Oakland to have our van shipped out to Maui so it could be there at or around the same time we were to arrive.  I went to school the very next day and then talked to my third grade teacher and principal on the big changes that were happening.  The days ahead before jumping on the big silver bird to fly out here, everyone at school was saddened to hear about me leaving.  Parties and special days were among the festivities a school.  On my last day of school, I was in tears and so were my friends and we put learning aside cause it was my last day.  It was unknown if we would ever see each other again.  I told them that I would remain in touch with them.

On Halloween of 1995 Mom woke us up at some ungodly hour in the morning.  I think it was around 3 or 4 AM.  We then left the house and then made the hour taxi ride to Chicago Ohare International Airport for our flight to Honolulu.  We made it to the gate with good time left to eat before the long 10 hour flight.  I took my last look around the airport and then at 11:30 AM we departed for Honolulu.

Tears were coming out of my eyes like crazy.  I even wanted the plane to turn around so I could say goodbye to my friends there one last time, but per the pilot, we were already over the City of Los Angeles at the time.

At around 11 AM we landed in Honolulu and waited for maybe 2 hours until our continuing flight to Maui.  My Dad was already in Honolulu and then in no time we took off for our new home on Maui. Upon Landing at Kahului Airport at around 230 PM, we were greeted by my parent’s new managers and employers.  We were given a flower necklace known as a lei.  That made my neck tickle, hehe.

We were then driven to our temporary condo in Kihei. We stayed at the Maui Banyan.  We moved around Kihei quite a bit in the months to follow.  Then we made the move to Lahaina where we lived for a little while. (Our family has lived practically every where on this island except Hana.)

Even since then I’ve gone to school here on Maui. I continued my third grade studies at Kula Elementary School.  Transferred out during my 5th Grade year to Horizons Academy in Haiku, then on to Baldwin High School where I graduated in 2005.

Since graduation I’ve become so involved with community relations.  Being involved in Maui’s radio scene helped out quite a bit too.  To this very day I work as a public responder and first responder for the State of Hawaii.  I’ve met and made friends with quite a lot of people.  I became actively involved with social media and  have grown to be a pretty high success rate in bringing people online and helping them along the road.

Living on Maui has been wonderful so far.  For one thing the discrimination is far less here then when I lived on the mainland. Here I’ve met some great people including the people I work with to this very day.  I love living here in paradise.

If anyone has any questions on moving here, feel free to ask us and we will be glad to help you with making Maui your new home.

You can check out Jake’s blog at

Have any questions for Jake? Interested in how it is to be a kid growing up on Maui coming from another state? Leave comments or questions below!

Stay tuned for more stories of “how did I get to Maui” in the months ahead!



  1. I love what you guys tend to be up too. This sort of clever
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  2. My best friend just recently came home to Pennsylvania from living in the paradise of Maui for the past year, and is planning on moving back in March. AND SHE HAS INVITED ME TO COME WITH HER! Being that I am from Fort Lauderdale, Florida orginally- my natural reaction is heck yes! (And to anyone out there who has never been to PA, there is nothing great about living in the wilderness and the cold is very unforgiving). Anyways, I have four whole months to save up… and I know without a doubt that moving out there is the best choice for me. The issue I’m having right now is do I sell my car? I’m not too worried about the job situation too much but I’m trying to have at least two grand saved before I head out and make the move that will surely change my life for the rest of my life. And moving to paradise with my best friend? Like what more could any girl want? This has to be a dream come true! Any advice anyone could give me would be greatly appreciated!

    • Sarah Burns says:

      Aloha Chelsea, that is so exciting! Congrats on your upcoming move to Maui!

      A couple of questions for you to think about regarding your car…
      Do you own your car or still make payments? If the payments are crazy, maybe you sell it and then get a “Maui cruiser” aka nothing fancy, cheap car here.

      Where will you live on island? If in Lahaina you could conceivably ride a bike to an from work or take the bus. Or you could get a moped and use that. It all depends on location and what your lifestyle will be like.

      Something else to think about…Shipping a car from Pennsylvania would mean you would need to get it to the West coast and then pop it on a cargo ship. I love Pasha for shipping cars – they are wonderful and we’ve used them many times.

      Just remember, most everything here is more expensive so if you are attached to something, bring it, rather than buying it here.

      We’ve actually bought cars from the West coast and had them shipped because it was cheaper.

      Hope that helps!

  3. Abstract: I got a job at MHPCC.
    I visited Maui with my parents as a teen in ’74, and for years thereafter was bummed that Haleakala was fogged in when we visited, the stunning vista denied. Returned with my wife in ’89 and ’97. Spent ’98 searching for tech jobs, on island. Took six months to get through the U of New Mexico’s hiring process for an engineering position at the Maui High Performance Computing Center, worth it. Didn’t have a plan for how long to stay, ended up spending 13 years.

  4. My wife and I just honeymooned in Maui,vie loved it, I want to move there, but I’m establishing ab business here in Los Angeles first, than we will see where it goes from there, hopefully if it goes well I will branch off and take my business turn key and ready to roll in a couple years.

  5. I just landed a job in Maui and here i come! So excited to be their and meet everyone and live in paradise!

  6. Hello,
    Ok…. So im reading all these wonderful stories and I must admit I’m a little jealous. I have been selling my furniture,looking for a job in Maui (Everywhere) and trying to make my move to Maui as easy as everyone else is making it sound… But its just not happening. :( My boyfriend and I have been looking for a job out there but not having much luck.Im in the medical field (Billing or reception whichever and hes in heavy construction equipment). we have been looking since July. My plan was to BE there in July… Still here on mainland. And the places I put in applications just say-you’re still being considered. Any ideas on finding a job any sooner? Im just so frustrated… I cant wait to be there… Happy and fulfilled.

  7. Jeffrey Vera says:

    Hi everyone! Well I’m in the process of moving as I type. Transfering with my job and I start Sept 7th, leaving WA state Sept 4th.
    I’m going ahead of my wife and daughter. We all just decided lets sell all our stuff and move to Hawaii. I have been raising my 3 daughters on my own for 15 years and two are no longer at home……figured what the heck!
    I must admit I’ve never been so excited AND nervous!!! None of us have left the mainland or even been to Hawaii.
    Here’s to a new life!

  8. Great story. My husband and I honeymooned in Maui in 2002 and visited two subsequent times. We love Maui and dream of living there one day. We have a 9 month old son and feel Maui would be a great environment for him to grow up in. We are planning on making the move when I am done with nursing school in 2014. Any advice for us? Can anyone comment on the quality of the schools and communities?

  9. Loving this new series!
    Corinne @ the Salty Shark´s last blog post ..friday favorites:: tahini dream

  10. I would love to have that conversation with my kids- the thing is, they would love for me too! They ask everyday, when can we move to Hawaii?!?

  11. Great post! I LOVE reading these kinds of stories – it’s so interesting to hear how people ended up in Maui! :)
    Sheralyn at´s last blog post ..Jan 13, The Best Beach For Us:<br>Little Makena (Little Beach Maui)

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