109 comments

Mustache on the Move: Wintering in Hawaii

 

Dear Boss,

This is to inform you that an opportunity has come up for me to spend the next seven weeks in Hawaii, and thus performance of my regular work duties will become spotty and unpredictable during this time.

love,
Mr. Money Mustache

I’ve been keeping this a secret from you for a while, but since my plane is leaving in less than a week, I thought I should let you know. Here’s what happened:

Almost a year ago, I published an article summing up the end of The Foreclosure Project, a fun series of posts where I described some adventures fixing up a rental house in my neighborhood with a friend. At the end of it, I wrote a little shout-out to look for future projects, which contained this sentence: “Or perhaps you have a house in Hawaii that needs attention during the winter season?”.

That invitation ended up catching the eye of several residents of our country’s finest volcanic island chain, and some neat projects were discussed. Recently, the perfect one came up, I accepted it, and it has been in intense planning ever since. So here’s what’s going on:

In a few days, I’m heading to the Denver airport, alone, with a suitcase full of tools. A direct flight will get me to Honolulu, where I will meet an adventurous MMM reader for the first time. Together, we’ll head across the mountains to the small town of Kailua, and immediately start destroying portions of the expensive house he and his wife just bought.

The goal is to convert a 200-square-foot area near the back corner of this house, into a small but luxurious vacation rental suite, complete with kitchenette and bathroom. A separate entrance and a new soundproof wall will add to the usefulness of the suite. This will allow them to offset a large portion of the home’s cost of ownership, while sacrificing only a small part of their living space.

It’s all being done with full approval of Hawaii’s stringent building inspection department, which is adding several monkey wrenches to the project. On top of that, we’re doing things in Mustachian fashion with minimal outside help, materials sourced from Craigslist where possible, and borrowed tools when available. But we’ll get it done, and done right.

So for the first 2.5 weeks, I’m planning to work like an insane nuclear-powered robot, to complete as much as possible of the suite with my new friend, effectively creating a cozy new sleeping environment for myself. As many hours as my body will allow, with breaks only for food and sleep… which happens to be my favorite way to do construction.

Of course, the fact that I’m living in a beautiful tropical island setting will not be lost on me – there should be some spare time to run around the place with bare feet, drink fancy beverages on the edge of volcano craters which overlook the ocean sunsets, and all that stuff. But mostly it will be hard work at first, with urgent reports to you whenever enlightening life lessons happen to materialize from the experience.

At this point in the vacation, Mrs. and Junior ‘Stash will touch down and join us for another month, where we’ll enjoy the newly-built digs and live like locals, just a short walk from one of the nicest beaches on the island.  Hiking, biking, sports in the waves,  and general exploring will ensue.

If it all goes as planned, we’ll come out of it with a new respect and knowlege of O’ahu, a warm set of lifetime memories, and some new friends as well. All for the cost of only a few discount plane tickets.

So until we return on January 13th, you might see a bit less action from me on this blog. And the posts you do see will feature decidedly more lush background scenery. But the list of draft posts is longer than ever, and the need to write them for you continues to intensify. So don’t forget this URL just yet.

Meanwhile, if you happen to live on the island and want to meet up, get in touch! Gatherings would be welcomed and I’d like to learn as much as I can about living in Hawaii. With sufficient tempting, we just might never leave. In the worst case, we’ll get home to the Rocky Mountains just in time for a quick snowboarding trip before the rays of springtime start to shine around here again.

Have a great time in your own winter adventures, and let’s keep in touch.

  • Kevin November 18, 2012, 9:44 pm

    If you learn how to surf, you’ll never want to move. Snowboarding powder is amazing, but surfing is indescribable.

    Reply
  • Chris November 18, 2012, 9:44 pm

    Well played Sir.

    Two recommendations:

    The Shrimp Shacks on the North Shore drive and The Bluewater Shrimp and Fish shack in the International Marketplace in Waikiki.

    Good luck!

    Reply
    • Mr. PoP@plantingourpennies.com November 19, 2012, 4:48 am

      +1 for the shrimp shacks on North Shore!

      Be careful MMM, the last time I tried to spend a month in Hawaii, I ended up staying for 6; it gets in your blood.

      -Mr. Pop

      Reply
    • Nurse Frugal November 19, 2012, 9:11 am

      Good for you!!!! I’ve been to Oahu once and I LOVED IT!!!!! Cruising around in bikes are key in Hawaii….you can bike to many things! Haleiwa was one of the most charming little places to hang out, far away from Waikiki where there is hardly any beach space because it’s so crowded. You are living the dream! You should also try to rent a stand-up paddle board and paddle around, it’s a great workout and a nice way to see the island. They usually have people who rent them for a reasonable price on craigslist.

      Here are some of my recommendations on what to eat in Oahu: http://nursefrugal.com/2012/05/07/15-mile-malasadas-and-what-to-eat-while-in-oahu/ I forgot to mention Ted’s bakery. Awesome bagel dogs and pies ;)

      Reply
  • Kevin November 18, 2012, 9:57 pm

    Makes me sad… I feel like I just got you back from your last sojourn to Canada. I look forward to hearing the sporadic updates and following the awesome adventure.

    Reply
  • Lucas Smith November 18, 2012, 10:00 pm

    Expect an email from me shortly! I live in Ewa Beach at the moment, but will be chilling at Ko Olina (curtosy of my company) till Jan 11th when I move off Island back to DC. We have been here 2 1/2 years so far and I would be happy to teach you some island ways. You are welcome at our condo at Ko Olina (which is pretty much the nicest resort area on the island) :-) Or if you are up for it we can do some Hiking, Surfing, SCUBA (somewhat un mustachian due to the cost) or we can can go hardcore and I can teach you some freediving with 16lb of lead straped to your waist !!

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache November 18, 2012, 11:33 pm

      WOW! I may have to double the vacation length in light of this new information! :-) .. thanks Lucas, it will definitely be great to get in touch.

      Reply
      • Mike November 19, 2012, 11:59 am

        Ko Olina is an awesome place for lil Mustachians, safe lagoons.

        Reply
      • Liz November 19, 2012, 1:10 pm

        Hi MMM,

        We’re HUGE fans, also live in the Kailua/Kaneohe area and would love to have you come over to our place for a day of kayaking, or take you on a hike, and cook up a frugal but yummy meal! I’ll email soon.

        Reply
    • CincyCat November 20, 2012, 10:12 am

      I would think that paying for an awesome limited-in-a-lifetime *experience* (like SCUBA diving in Hawaii) would be completely and totally Mustachian. It isn’t spending money on worthless (or increasingly worthless) “stuff” – it’s spending money on a memory. Priceless!

      Have fun, MMM family!!

      Reply
  • peter November 18, 2012, 10:08 pm

    Simply awesome! How’s school going to work out for Junior?

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache November 18, 2012, 11:32 pm

      That’s a good question.. the way we scheduled it, he’s only missing 12 days of school due to all the holidays.

      The principal and teacher were cool with it, and we were even given assignments to learn about the different ecology and culture, and skype back to the classroom to show the other kids what we’ve found.

      Reply
      • Jen November 19, 2012, 3:11 am

        So cool! He will learn 100x than in any classroom, no question about it.
        Way to make the classmates jealous :)

        Reply
      • Mandy @MoneyMasterMom November 19, 2012, 8:20 am

        I’ts absolutely amazing the opportunities that technology provides. When I missed a few weeks of school as a kid I was sent away with a math textbook and a journal. LAME-O! This is a much better alternative. Your son will learn a bunch, and his classmates will benefit too.

        Reply
      • Squeakywheel November 19, 2012, 3:17 pm

        So smart to do this now, while he is still young enough to miss school without too much problem. When they are older (e.g. in high school), it gets a lot more difficult.

        Reply
      • JCamasto November 19, 2012, 11:43 pm

        Away-from home schooling, right on! Sure beats the mandatory acculturation machine…

        Reply
      • MoreKnown November 24, 2012, 3:08 pm

        That’s the kind of assignment that makes an impact. Getting out into the natural world is one of the best ways to learn about it.

        Have fun, MMM!

        Reply
  • StashinIt November 18, 2012, 10:25 pm

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache November 18, 2012, 11:30 pm

      No way! .. but thanks for checking up on me (and proving how well it works to tell people your goals :-))

      The gaining program is ahead of schedule so far, and its seriousness forced me to make arrangements to continue the training throughout the Hawaii visit as well. Without making such a big deal out of it, you are right that I might have slacked off.

      Reply
      • StashinIt November 19, 2012, 10:21 am

        Badass! I’m glad to hear you’re making the necessary arrangements.

        Holidays and vacations are some of the worst offenders for derailing fitness goals. But MMM is no wussypants!

        Reply
      • TheFuzz November 19, 2012, 12:19 pm

        I can’t think of better circumstances to keep up on your gaining program! Working out outside is the best thing that has ever existed. Plus you can experiment with mixing in surfing (supposed to be an amazing workout) and swimming and hiking. I’m sure you can find a Hawaiian Mustachian with a set of weights to share!

        Get a lot of sun for me and my fellow rain-soaked Seattleites and our soggy, but resilient mustaches.

        Can’t wait to see some photos of the remodel process!

        Reply
      • Joe November 19, 2012, 2:46 pm

        Something tells me that lifting heavy tools/equipment 18 hours a day for 2.5 weeks won’t be a huge setback in achieving your goal.

        Reply
  • AussieJulie November 18, 2012, 10:32 pm

    Well it’s a tough job. but I suppose someone has to do it. sigh

    Reply
  • Justin@thefrugalpath November 18, 2012, 11:02 pm

    Enjoy your time in Hawaii. Maybe you could look up Dog the Bounty Hunter. With your mustache and his mullet it would be epic.

    Reply
    • Mrs. Pop @ Planting Our Pennies November 19, 2012, 4:50 am

      Don’t miss the triple crown of surfing that’s currently happening on the North Shore of Oahu. If I were within a stone’s throw of that and managed to miss getting to see it, I think I’d kick myself for a long time!

      Reply
      • Freeyourchains November 19, 2012, 11:30 am

        I’ve seen it visiting family during Christmas. It’s amazing to watch them and the pipe is so close to shore too. Lots of people on Northshore helping out the local economy too.

        By the way, you should borrow a book from the library there on local fruit trees. Where you are building I am sure there are local exotic fruit trees that you could eat if in season. Tons of native fruit trees on O’ahu.

        Reply
    • George November 21, 2012, 7:11 pm

      I am still sad that they took Dog off of Netflix. Hopefully they can work out some kind of deal so that we stream the episodes again.

      Reply
  • Leon @ Hardworking Penguin November 18, 2012, 11:14 pm

    That’s an awesome renovation project. I recently stayed at a similar vacation rental on Big Island and I think the owners will have a blast meeting travelers. Try to catch some lava flow on the Big Island. I didn’t get to see them last time but I hope you’d have a chance to pick a stick at some live lava.

    Reply
  • Corey November 18, 2012, 11:18 pm

    If your hosts let you post reno pics and commentary, please do.

    Reply
  • Mrs EconoWiser November 18, 2012, 11:19 pm

    How exciting! Have fun! I am looking forward to your lovely pictures. If you every have the urge to visit The Netherlands, you’re more than welcome to come and stay with us. We don’t have any cool DIY projects laying around waiting for you, though. ;-)

    Reply
  • Mele November 19, 2012, 12:09 am

    MMM and Obama know what’s up! If you go to the Big Island to see the volcano, let’s hang out! I’ll drive my used, manual transmission Honda Fit to Hilo and beyond!

    Reply
  • Herr Handlebar November 19, 2012, 12:45 am

    ZOMG! This post equals major motivation to put my back into the ‘stache. The wife and I managed to make it to Kauai for a bit earlier this year. I’d give up all manner of bed pans and catheters to spend weeks on any of the islands.

    Reply
  • CL November 19, 2012, 2:00 am

    I’m looking forward to hearing about the project! I’m in Florida right now, escaping the suddenly snowy and/or cold environment of Indiana during school break. Its incredibly cool that youre going to Hawaii. There’s a lot to said about financial independence when it gives you the opportunity to just pack up and go to warm, beautiful locales.

    Reply
  • Concojones November 19, 2012, 3:05 am

    MMM, sounds like a great adventure!

    Also, what a great idea of the couple to offset their housing costs by means of a vacation rental. I picture receiving guests every week or so, cleaning up in between. $500 a week would indeed cover a significant part of your mortgage, even in an expensive place like Hawaii! I’d love to hear more details or see this idea fleshed out in a future post!

    Reply
    • TomTX December 8, 2012, 8:31 am

      Personally I’d think that scattered monthly renters would be less of a distraction/strain/eyesore on the community than a bunch of night-by-night hotels packed together. Visitors are more integrated into the community as a whole rather than skimming the surface.

      Reply
  • lhamo November 19, 2012, 4:21 am

    I’m going to be in Honolulu with my family from Dec 15-20 — we worked a layover in to our trip home to visit family on the mainland. Not as Mustachian as your approach, but cheaper than other options would have been. It would be really nice to have some kind of frugal MMM meet up.

    Reply
  • Heather A November 19, 2012, 5:33 am

    Yah!!!

    Reply
  • James @ Free in Ten Years November 19, 2012, 5:37 am

    This is absolutely fantastic. What an awesome plan – this is exactly why I want to be retired from work so badly! Being able to take up an opportunity like this is amazing. Enjoy yourself MMM!

    Reply
  • Ross November 19, 2012, 5:57 am

    If you have some time before your trip, you should check out Unfamiliar Fishes by Sarah Vowel from the library. Its a pretty funny and informative account of Hawaii’s strange path to statehood

    Reply
  • Pauline November 19, 2012, 5:59 am

    What a cool project! I am fixing a house in Guatemala to escape from the winter myself. Nothing close to your 7 weeks, I thinks it will take at least 4 months. Cool that you will have time to do both fixing and exploring, Hawai sounds lovely

    Reply
  • Lance @ Money Life and More November 19, 2012, 6:25 am

    What an awesome opportunity. Have a blast and enjoy some fun in the sun… once the work is done of course.

    Reply
  • 7Years November 19, 2012, 6:33 am

    If you successfully solve the challenge of fitting the tools that you’ll need into a suitcase, you’ll have no problem ditching the van on your next cross-country trip. Just toss the suitcase into the new little cargo box you built on the Scion.

    I’m interested in your strategy: will you go with common everyday tools you’ll need (e.g., hammer, speed square, etc.) or will you just get/borrow those tools there and bring more specialty tools?

    Reply
  • JMac November 19, 2012, 7:22 am

    MMM Aloha!

    Let me know if you want to do some mountain biking or road riding. I’m also available to help/learn with the construction work.

    Justin

    Reply
  • brkr12002 November 19, 2012, 7:24 am

    I will be in that part of the world come Christmas time for a week.
    Love it out there.

    Reply
  • TrekMan November 19, 2012, 7:26 am

    After it’s finished, your friend should post it on airbnb.com. It’s a great site for people who have extra rooms or suites they want to rent out without being a full time bed and breakfast.

    Reply
    • 205guy November 28, 2012, 3:55 am

      Please note that vacation rentals are regulated on Oahu and it may not be legal for the owner to rent it out.

      Reply
  • Jana Miller November 19, 2012, 8:41 am

    Just admit it…you need to homeschool:) That would give you the freedom to do more projects like this! Such a great opportunity! So happy for your family.

    Reply
  • Joe @ Retire By 40 November 19, 2012, 8:54 am

    Awesome! I love Hawaii. I would like to hear if it’s possible to live an MMM lifestyle on Oahu. The cost of living is extremely high there. I would love to retire to Hawaii at some point, but the cost seems prohibitive to me.
    Have fun!

    Reply
    • Lucas Smith November 19, 2012, 9:32 am

      Yes it is possible – I am living it or at least close to it. I took a job tranfer here for a couple years and am living on right around $40k expenses for a family of 5. Housing, utilities, and food are the biggest cost differences with most of the country. But coming from DC they arn’t that much different. My overall cost of living is 5-10% more then in DC.

      You would have to make some trade-off on houseing though. Either size, location, or build wise. We picked an old military housing area to rent in that had good size, and a walk to a nearly private beach. However the house construction leaves a bit to be desired along with the location being right in the flight path for the airport. I will be able to make out MMM’s Mustache as he flys over our house on the way in.

      But if you came to retire here, why would you pick Oahu ???? The only reason to pick Oahu is that food, utilities are cheaper, and medical care is better. I guess if you like big city, lots of traffic and such you would be at home too. I would definitly retire to Maui or the Big Island (Hawaii) over Oahu any day of the millenium. Much less crowded, less trash, less development, more preistine waters and reefs, and you can find much more affordable housing and just put solar panels on to counteract electric costs. Maui even just got a Costco ;-)

      I am going to try to meet up with MMM while he is here and teach him some hardcore freediving. If he wants I can put together some more concrete info on being a Mustache in Hawaii.

      Reply
      • Mike November 19, 2012, 12:06 pm

        I would love to read a guest post on frugality in HI. I agree, Maui and big island are much better.

        Reply
      • Joe @ Retire By 40 November 19, 2012, 1:31 pm

        I would pick Kaui or Big Island. I just asked about Oahu because MMM is going to be there. Big Island seems like the most affordable place out that way.

        Reply
        • Robin November 20, 2012, 12:05 pm

          Many, many years ago I lived on Maui – best island in my opinion :)
          Hiking the caldera of Haleakala…..amazing memories.

          Though Hawaii (Big Island) is also fantastic if only for the volcano. Last time I was there visiting, we hiked the caldera then went and saw the lava falling into the ocean, amazing!!

          Oh I have to get back to Hawaii soon. I miss the rainbows, the soft afternoon rain, the waterfalls, the feeling of an island….I do love Hawaii.

          Reply
  • Ben November 19, 2012, 9:10 am

    Awesome news!

    I would love to see a post (or posts) describing the project, especially as it pertains to dealing with the “stringent building inspection department.” Speaking perhaps just for myself (though I suspect I’m not alone), the dread of dealing with the permit and inspection process is the main reason that I push off many of the larger projects on my own house.

    Reply
  • Jamesqf November 19, 2012, 9:56 am

    How can you leave this time of year, and miss the skiing? And good luck getting a bag of tools on the plane.

    Please do ask MrsMM to do some posts while you’re gone.

    Reply
  • TLV November 19, 2012, 10:09 am

    IMO posts like this are the best reply to the Internet Retirement Police.

    Reply
  • Holly@ClubThrifty November 19, 2012, 10:22 am

    That sounds awesome~! I hope that you have a great time!

    Reply
  • Alex November 19, 2012, 10:28 am

    Awesome, sounds like a great project. Kailua is a cool town.

    My wife and I have been living on Oahu for 4 years and love it. Although the cost of living is high for many things (housing, food, gas) these can be offset if you are willing to make sacrifices/trade-offs.

    For example, there are cheaper places to live that still offer great lifestyles, you can bike/moped all year round, grow food all year round, great free outdoor activities, no need for heat or AC, taxes are actually very low compared to major east/west coast cities, etc. I grew up in NJ and I think the cost of living on Oahu is not that much higher. A lot of what I hear people say or read is BS, nobody pays $8 for a gallon of milk unless you buy it in a hotel in Waikiki…

    MMM if you have any questions about Oahu, let me know.

    Any other MMM readers on Oahu want to do a Meetup?

    Reply
  • RichUncle EL November 19, 2012, 10:44 am

    Cool, it sounds like a fun project. After reading the title it sounded like you were going to make this an annual thing? Am I mistaken?

    Reply
  • Nords November 19, 2012, 10:54 am

    MMM, Lucas, Alex, count me in for a meetup. I’m in Mililani and I do most of my surfing off the fence line at White Plains.

    MMM, let me know if you and your friend want a few hours of fetch & carry labor. I’ve never used a nailgun but I have muscles and I can paint.

    Watch out for the electrical inspector who used to work at shipyard radcon. He’s not exactly a people person, and he has strong opinions on three-way light switches.

    Reply
    • Lucas Smith November 19, 2012, 12:02 pm

      Nords, I have probably seen you out there, I usually do White Plains too. Not the best in terms of consistancy and the wind is a bit much. But it is much closer then North Shore (or dealing with traffic in Waikiki), I can rent gear at the MWR for really cheep, and I always get a good excersize! :-)

      Reply
      • Nords November 19, 2012, 12:15 pm

        I’m the middle-aged balding ponytailed guy in the black RipCurl neoprene tank on a 9’0″ white/blue Rapoza longboard. My daughter’s with me during college breaks.

        This time of year we start driving up to Chun’s Reef, Jock’s Break, & Pua’Ena. But I still like White Plains for giving lessons on a 10’0″ Trident tanker.

        Reply
        • Mike November 19, 2012, 12:30 pm

          As a land locked Coloradan, first thing I thought reading this. :)
          http://i.qkme.me/35ol0s.jpg

          Reply
        • Lucas Smith November 19, 2012, 1:28 pm

          I will keep my eyes out for you :-) I am 29, 6′ Brown hair (still hanging in there for the moment), usual blue rash guard with blue and white board shorts. I am riding one of the larger MWR boards at the moment (sold 9’8″ long board due to plans to move back),

          And I agree White Planes is a very good place to teach people. Waikiki is better learning surf conditions, but hastle to get down there, way to many people, and parking & boards are much more expensive

          Reply
  • Kwat November 19, 2012, 11:14 am

    No way! My family’s from Kailua – I’ll be there for a few short days around Christmastime – it’s a beautiful place to work and live! Any idea where the property is? If you’re doing a meet up, keep me in the loop, would love to join.

    Reply
  • Freeyourchains November 19, 2012, 11:20 am

    My second cousins are tenants in one of those of a retired man whom built 3 tiny studio efficiency buildings in his backyard property in Northshore, O’ahu, HI. He rents each one close to $1500/mth. He built them by hand and within about 6 months each.

    It’s a great opportunity with the ever increasing real estate prices for O’ahu. Traffic is getting much busier on the island so don’t drive too much, if at all.

    It’s interesting looking at the people stuck in traffic as you lay in the sand with crystal clear water in front of you and clear beautiful warm blue skies above you.

    Also note: Bring LOTS OF SUNSCREEN IN BULK with you! You will get burnt even when the clouds are out if you don’t apply Sunscreen every single day!

    I have a great opportunity with family and friends that live there to visit and of whom are in the Hawaii Real Estate business.

    I don’t think you will get “Island Fever” with your mustachian lifestyle either!

    Enjoy! Take lots of pictures for your readers whom are stuck saving frugally and working in cubicles for 8 hours a day dreaming of our goals of FI!

    Reply
  • liz November 19, 2012, 11:50 am

    hawaii is awesome. i lived in manoa valley for a few months. favorite things

    $5 dollar pitchers, poke and steamed edamame at magoos
    sunning in waikiki
    smell of tropical flowers and sun showers
    baseball games at university of hawaii manoa

    Reply
  • Mike November 19, 2012, 11:57 am

    Post your budget or spending habits while there. My wife and I were in Waikiki not too long ago and we spent $100 at the grocery store (including baby formula) and had enough food to feed us for the week. $100 because we got fancy fresh fish. Time share the in-laws had included a rice steamer which helped a lot. HI is honestly the main driving factor for my wife and I to be FI. We want to either live there or be able to visit for long spans of time.

    I am VERY jealous. Have fun!

    Reply
  • Nords November 19, 2012, 12:29 pm

    I agree with everyone that Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island are much less crowded and much more beautiful than Oahu. The neighbor islands have better surfing, too.

    However in the long term it’s a drag to have to fly to Honolulu to connect to good Mainland & Asia flights. Kahului is getting better but Hilo & Kailua-Kona have a long way to go and Lihue has barely started. Of course this is only an issue if you’re frequently flying to the Mainland & Asia, or if family is visiting you.

    Medical care can be a concern. Trauma response and routine checkups are fine on all four islands– but specialists, orthopedic surgeons, and chronic care tend to be concentrated on Oahu. Not a big deal in my 30s or 40s but now that I’m in my 50s I’m thinking about the future.

    Otherwise… eh, country mouse — city mouse. I’d prefer more land, more quiet, and fewer neighbors but I like being within a 15-minute bicycle trip of groceries and hardware supplies. Of course that’s available on every island but it requires more thoughtful consideration on the neighbor islands.

    Reply
  • Sergey November 19, 2012, 1:48 pm

    Good luck on your trip!

    I was going to be in Denver area around New Year hoping to meet you for a few minutes… Well, may be next time :)

    Reply
  • ael November 19, 2012, 2:30 pm

    If you have the chance to visit Maui see the sun come up from the summit of Haleakala. Mark Twain described it better than I ever could–it is that spectacular. As I recall we set the alarms for 2:30 am and drove around an hour to arrive second or third. There is a glass enclosure that protects you from the wind (mostly) but dress very warmly and hold your location against the glass as others arrive; they will be polite but press from behind. Then the black starts to gray and oranges precede the pinks and you begin to see the rugged depression, which is not a crater or caldera but erosional in origin, as it emerges from clouds below you. Once in a lifetime unless you do it again, but then it is old hat.

    Our friends provided the timeshare and we paid car rentals and split the food. Costco was our first stop on each island. Enjoy.

    Reply
    • Macs November 20, 2012, 11:06 am

      I second that recommendation; I’ve never seen a more memorable sunrise. Although the word has become trite through overuse, ‘awesome’ is justified in this case. I went up with a local excursion company, and came back down by bike. Forty miles without turning the pedals once :-) It was beautiful watching the sun come up over the island, but the pre-dawn wind is seriously cold.

      Of course, I could think of some people who’d be badass enough to cycle UP Haleakela, too…

      Reply
  • Alice S November 19, 2012, 3:03 pm

    I just read a great book on Hawaiian history, “Unfamiliar Fishes” by Sarah Vowell. Actually, I got the audiobook from the library. Might be a good one to take on the plane!

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/03/books/review/book-review-unfamiliar-fishes-by-sarah-vowell.html

    Reply
  • lurker November 19, 2012, 3:23 pm

    so sweet! i am green with seaweed colored envy man…should be epic indeed….be careful with your ears with the free diving…man can’t wait for the vicarious thrills….have a great time.

    Reply
  • Josh November 19, 2012, 3:33 pm

    Some people aren’t conscious of causing pollution when they travel thousands of miles, but I think you are. You don’t like using gasoline unnecessarily when you pay for it. Does that change when you don’t pay for it? How do you feel about the jet fuel long flights pour into the atmosphere?

    I’m asking because I’ve been going on lots of free flights to dream locations around the world and I think about the jet fuel. I’m interested what other thoughtful people think about it.

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache November 19, 2012, 10:07 pm

      Yeah, that’s a rarely-considered question here in the US, but I admit I think about the same thing.

      A large, full jet gets about 90MPG per passenger. So this 3300 mile flight, multiplied by 3 passengers, times 2 ways, is about 20,000 combined passenger-miles. That is about the same as driving our 40MPG car almost 8900 miles, which is more than we normally drive in a year.

      To make a partial attempt at being fair to Mrs. Earth about this decadent flying, I have bought carbon offsets from Terrapass in the past and will do the same for this flight. The C02 produced at 180g/mile is about 3600kg (say 8000 lbs). You can offset that for about $48 at Terrapass, which does fancy C02 absorbtion programs around the world at about $6 per 1000 lbs: http://store.terrapass.com/store/p/56-TerraPass-carbon-offsets-Custom-Amount-Units-of-1-000-lbs.html?qty=8&vehicle_count=0&flight_count=0&home_count=0&luggage_tag_count=1

      Of course, carbon isn’t everything, but it is a good start if you combine it with generally only flying long distances if it’s an important and infrequent part of leading a rich and varied life.

      I think it is worth doing a separate post about just this in the future. Not to preach in an annoying way, but just to present the option of, hey, if you care about global warming, you can offset most of your fuel use pretty affordably by just funding these scrappy little companies that do a lot of good environmental projects.

      Reply
      • Josh November 21, 2012, 12:06 pm

        I hadn’t thought of helping the environment more in exchange for polluting it when it’s difficult to avoid. I’ll make that part of my arrangements for travel when people want me to go somewhere.

        Thanks!

        Reply
  • Deano November 19, 2012, 4:22 pm

    MMM, you should check this Mustachian resident of Hawaii out…

    http://youtu.be/wxGr9uloL9k

    He lives on 20k a year and has for many years by the sound of it. That abandoned attempt at a ‘burb sounds like a good opportunity!

    Reply
  • Kristebelle November 19, 2012, 4:24 pm

    Good for you MMM. That’s very inspiring.

    Reply
  • lurker November 19, 2012, 4:31 pm

    fuel use is problem for sure as the earth’s resources are clearly finite. not sure how we rationalize this MMM? hawaii must be a fragile ecosystem in the surrounding oceans as well…this will be interesting on many levels.

    Reply
  • Mark November 19, 2012, 4:57 pm

    MMM-

    What an enviable “chore.”. I lived on the north shore long ago as a kid and, although Kailua is more populated, I think you and the family will experience some of the same wonderment I did some 40 yrs ago. Enjoy, and take advantage of the time with and tips from the ‘locals’, even the transplanted ones.

    Cheers,
    Mark

    Reply
  • Gardenarian November 19, 2012, 4:58 pm

    Enlightening life lesson #1: Do not run barefoot on lava. Ouch!

    Reply
  • Blair November 19, 2012, 8:27 pm

    MMM,

    My wife is from Kaneohe which is right next to Kailua. Be sure to check out Lanikai beach. If you want a beautiful beach and don’t require surfing waves on that given day, there is nothing better than Lanikai. Shoots Brah!

    Reply
  • Paularado November 19, 2012, 9:10 pm

    Because you mentioned soundproofing…..Blue cotton insulation is awesome for soundproofing (made from recycled blue jeans!) and they make specialized sound proofing caulk. We used both in the walls of our home due to it’s open floorplan and high ceilings. We also did two layers of drywall. Good luck with your project.

    Reply
  • Jessica November 20, 2012, 1:07 am

    My very frugal sister lives in Honolulu and loves it! Her yearly income is very low but she eats really well on the cheap and bikes all over the place!

    Reply
  • Dave S November 20, 2012, 4:43 am

    That sounds awesome. This totally redefines being retired. It a Choose Your Own Adventure kind of life!

    Reply
  • Matt November 20, 2012, 7:45 am

    It seems having construction or associated skills is very mustachian. You’ll never have to look far for work if you need it, and you can work where you want, says me stuck behind my desk :(

    Reply
  • Mike November 20, 2012, 8:37 am

    Sounds like a great idea! We have just moved down to Devon, a rural area of the UK and we are planning to turn our garage into a holiday let apartment next year.
    If any other Mustachians have any ideas or suggestions – or would like to come and help – drop me a line!

    Reply
  • JaneMD November 20, 2012, 8:49 am

    Lol, you are now a snowbird! Perhaps you should check out a retirement community while you are there. Your family’s presence will certainly drop the average age of the group by 10 years!

    Reply
  • Aaron November 20, 2012, 10:45 am

    Don’t forget, you still need to report taxes on this exchange of services. Kind of ridiculous if you ask me.

    http://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc420.html

    “Bartering

    Bartering is an exchange of property or services. You must include in your income, at the time received, the fair market value of property or services you receive in bartering. If you exchange services with another person and you both have agreed ahead of time on the value of the services, that value will be accepted as fair market value unless the value can be shown to be otherwise. “

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache November 20, 2012, 6:26 pm

      True, true. I will check on the applicable numbers, but it is a bit odd in this case: We’re helping some friends build some stuff, while staying in their house – not in a finished vacation rental, mind you, but in a construction site. So the value of the accommodations would be pretty low. And of course, if you are valuing accommodations as pay, you’d have to deduct all travel expenses as a business expense, right down to meals and airport transfers. It would result in a net tax deduction, rather than taxable income, by my reckoning. The IRS might not be happy that you presented this information to me :-)

      Similarly, every time anyone stays with friends or family, and helps them out with something during the visit, it could technically be considered taxable barter. The amount of pointless tax paperwork would crush our country!

      Reply
      • George November 20, 2012, 7:12 pm

        Realistically, the IRS will not give a crap about your barter trip, it will probably cost them more in wages to pay an employee to do an audit and look at the paperwork than they would get out of any additional tax revenue.

        The taxable barter rules are on the books most likely to prevent someone from gaming the system on a large scale. For example, image two large corporations coming up with some agreement to barter with each other to avoid paying millions in taxes. This is the reason these rules exist.

        Alternatively, the IRS may care about it if you are someone who is doing the work exchange for room barter all the time during the year, i.e. you were doing 100k+ in work for 100k+ in housing, then it may fall on their radar screens.

        There are some other more humorous rules they have too, i.e. if you rob a bank or sell illegal drugs, they ask that you report that income and pay taxes on it
        http://turbotax.intuit.com/tax-tools/tax-tips/General-Tax-Tips/The-Top-Tax-Myths/INF12135.html
        (under Myth Number Four: Illegal activity is not taxable)

        Reply
  • jlcollinsnh November 20, 2012, 12:12 pm

    well, Damn!

    I no sooner return, today, from my little Ecuadorian escapade than you up and head to Hawaii. Bien viaje, amigo.

    Reply
  • Tony November 20, 2012, 3:16 pm

    What an awesome adventure! I am sure you will miss your kids for a bit, of course. If you have a chance to check out the Symphony there you will not be disappointed! Good luck!

    Reply
  • Chad November 20, 2012, 3:59 pm

    What’d you pay for airfare, MMM?

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache November 20, 2012, 6:14 pm

      The tickets were about $700 each (roundtrip, direct Denver to Honolulu). Still a sizable chunk of change!.. but if I had been motivated to rent out our house for the month when it will be empty, that would pay for all three tickets. We definitely would have done this if cashflow were a major consideration at this time. Maybe I should have done it anyway.. lazy man.

      Reply
      • Chad November 20, 2012, 8:39 pm

        You’re certainly not lazy, my friend. But note well: I’ve just booked a trip to Hawaii with four free tickets using the chase sapphire card. They give a pretty substantial bonus for signing up, so we got one for me and one for the mrs. Then we turned those points into united points, thereby adding them to the united points that we got by signing up for a couple of united cards. That’s about $3200 worth of tickets from my location in the midwest! All because we signed up for four charge cards.

        Reply
      • Jan November 29, 2012, 6:42 pm

        Just for future… Fly to Vegas and then take Hawaiian over. Prices are usually less and the trip is much nicer.

        Reply
  • Dividend Mantra November 20, 2012, 6:52 pm

    Have a great time MMM! Totally jealous of you right now.

    Never been to Hawaii, but I strongly considered moving there before I finally settled on making Florida my permanent home. The lower cost of living was the main factor in that decision.

    Hawaii seems beautiful. It’s definitely a place I’d love to see sooner rather than later.

    Enjoy yourself! Well deserved.

    Best wishes.

    Reply
  • frugalscholar November 20, 2012, 7:05 pm

    I was in Hawaii (Maui) about 12 years ago–for 2 weeks–so take my comment with a grain of salt. Yes, rents, property, food–all sky high. Yet there are many countercultural/surfers/marginally employed types there–that’s because after the food and rent, almost everything that makes Hawaii wonderful is free: the beauty, the weather, the water. It even smells good–you’ll notice when you get off the plane.

    Reply
  • Nords November 20, 2012, 7:21 pm

    For those of you waxing nostalgic about Maui’s hikes into Haleakala Crater (or for those who are planning one), here’s some photos:
    http://the-military-guide.com/2011/05/30/lifestyles-in-retirement-haleakala-crater-redux/

    Reply
  • Christi November 20, 2012, 10:18 pm

    My family of 6 just moved from So Cal to Kailua this summer. We love it! My husband works from home now and the kids ride their bikes to school; a complete lifestyle flip. We have a 9 yo old boy if your son is close to that age and wants someone to hang with. We know a couple awesome local hikes too. We would love to join you all for a meet up. We need some “real” locals to give us frugal grocery tips!

    Reply
  • Andy November 21, 2012, 12:50 pm

    I live over on the other side, in Honolulu, and would also love to do a meetup with other folks in the area. Maybe a beach potluck?

    Reply
    • C November 21, 2012, 10:11 pm

      I’m in Honolulu too, yes let’s do a beach potluck! Sounds like we have critical mass….

      Reply
    • Mac November 22, 2012, 7:05 pm

      Seconded, I’m also in Honolulu. It would be awesome to meet other fellow Oahu mustachians!

      Reply
  • hands2work November 21, 2012, 1:01 pm

    You Da Man!!!

    Reply
  • Jennifer November 27, 2012, 11:33 am

    I just set up a topic in the forum for a Hawaii holiday meet-up to welcome MMM/family to the island. Let’s set something up! I’d love to meet fellow Mustachians in Hawaii – I’m a Kailua girl, been here 3.5 years. It sure is tough to be Mustachian in Hawaii but I’m proud of us for sticking it out! Go to the post in the forum under Meet-ups and Social Events.

    Reply
  • TomTX September 3, 2013, 5:07 pm

    I’m going to have to re-read all of this, as we will be going to Hawai’i – in November/December. Not 7 weeks, but close to two.

    Well, when a sibling chooses a destination wedding, you decline because of the cost, new baby…. and they offer to pay for the airfare and 4 nights around the wedding itself… plans changed.

    Not that I have much in the way of “plans” yet, other than having a week free after the wedding before we fly back. Never been there, don’t know where to stay, what to see/do (Lava? Observatory? Awesome tropical forests and beaches? Tropical fruits from random backyard trees?)

    I’m now here near the carpenter that Mr. Money Moustache is ;)

    Reply

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