- SPECIAL REPORT
- This Special Report
is inspired by the huge numbers of people who are "discovering"
- East Hawaii and rushing
to buy homes here . . . often for the wrong reasons. Some of
- the following is already
covered to some degree in Affordable Paradise, but it
- important that I decided
to expand it with some renewed emphasis.
- Hawai'i is about people.
As a comparison, one might say that California's infamous
- Silicon Valley is about
money and the things money can buy. Of course, both of
- these concepts are
generalizations, but they begin the painting of an essential
- of Hawai'i.
- Hawai'i is about love,
friendship, peace of mind, and most important of all, aloha.
- Aloha includes love,
friendship and peace of mind, but is also far more than that.
- Aloha is a feeling
so powerful that to some people it is nearly overwhelming, yet
- to others it seems
to be just another word -- maybe coined by the Hawai'i Visitor's
- Do you feel a special
feeling around Christmastime where you live now? Not too
- many years ago, even
in the hearts of the big cities, there was just "something
- air." It remains
today, but probably not as pervasive as it once was. People just
- to be more friendly,
more open. They take the time to greet others on the street,
- eye contact where at
other times they were too preoccupied with other things to bother.
- That feeling is a very
brief description of what aloha feels like all year long. In
- Hawai'ian tradition,
it is essential to give back to your community. It is a part
- everyone's life to
give of themselves, not only to their families and friends, but
- community and to the
land and the sea. There is no word in the Hawai'ian language
- for "consumer."
- How does all this relate
to the topic of attitudes? Aloha is the foundation of the attitude
- of the Islands. Mainland
attitudes are, with some exceptions of course, quite different.
- Some of the exceptions
are that generally, the more rural the area you hail from, the
- more closely your community's
attitude might resemble Island attitude. Conversely,
- the more densely populated
your community is, the less likely it is that you get to enjoy
- anything similar to
- Let me tell you a little
story. We have been managing 14 vacation rentals for a while
- now, and believe it
or not, conservatively 75% of our rental guests are here looking
- property. Many of those
looking actually buy something before they return home. This
- means we're getting
a lot of new people here, and the increased auto traffic all
- Island is testimony
to that fact. Fortunately, the great majority of the newcomers
- terrific people who
feel Hawai'i in their hearts and just know in their knowingness
- hey must be here. But
there have been a few who are not of that kind.
- We have seen a few
folks come here from the fast-money places on the Mainland and
- when they see the reasonable
prices of homes here, all they can think of is profit.
- Making a fast buck
off of the next guy who comes along. To them, Hawai'i is just
- place, but one in which
they feel they can make some easy money.
- I like to use this
anecdote: Hawai'i has been said to be a cruel hostess to those
- should not be here.
We have seen examples of this over and over. We used to just
- listen to stories from
Hawai'ian friends about how Madam Pele, the Volcano Godess,
- has taken care of the
profiteers. We've seen the results of that, too. But we have
- even more in-our-faces
results of people who have come here for the fast buck. They
- don't stay long, because
for some reason they cannot understand, they simply can't
- make things work for
themselves here as they are used to on the Mainland.
- We've seen people come
here and get into a frenzy to buy themselves a vacation rental.
- When asked if they
were planning on retiring here one day, they would say, oh no,
- just see how we can
buy this place for nearly nothing down and have the rental guests
- pay for it, and that
is good real estate wealth-building practice.
- There are few logical
explanations for the ultimate failure of most of these kinds
- ventures, but after
living here for years, we can almost always see it coming. Often
- the first signs are
when these profit-oriented people start complaining about how
- work here. The next
phase will be the complaints about how difficult it is to get
- done right. How undependable
and incompetent the local workers are.
- We've experienced vacation
rentals that simply won't book. The photos look fine in
- their Internet presentations
-- maybe even better than others on the same Web site, but
- nobody ever inquires
about them. Why is that? Again, no logical explanation. Things
- just work differently
here. We believe that most people can feel things from their
- hearts that they never
become really conscious of, among them perhaps some negative
- energy from an Internet
presentation. They don't stop to ask, "Why do I feel this
- Somehow, it just doesn't
feel good and they go on to something else.
- We've tried our best
to explain this phenomenon to people we saw were clearly heading
- down this un-aloha
path, and they probably thought we were nuts. Psycho-babble,
We've also seen lava flows take out areas exactly as predicted
by the local Hawai'ian
- elders after their
warnings of improper development went unheeded.
- No logical explanation.
- Hawai'i is a very special
place. It is a place of awesome mana (spiritual power), and
- we encourage those
who feel and honor the mana to respectfully investigate the
- possibilities for themselves
here. But with all due respect for those who do not, we
- encourage them to seek
other environs. We encourage all to honor the Hawai'ian tradition
- of giving back to the
community, which means way more than simply not seeing Hawai'i
- as a potential for
financial profit. That is certainly one aspect of it, however.
- Affordable Paradise was written not as a blanket invitation
to come to Hawai'i. The
- reason behind this
book was more of a reality-check to those who were coming here
- anyway. I get quite
a bit of terrific feedback from readers, and the folks for whom
- I have done the greatest
service are those who tell me that after reading the book,
- they changed their
minds about moving here. A failed effort to "move to Paradise"
- can be an emotionally
devastating experience, especially to those who search for reasons.
- With much aloha,
- Skip Thomsen
- Updated 6/10/03