Why I Moved to Kaua’i

Born & raised in LA, I never really get to see a sky full of stars at night, a hike full of lush greenery, and backyard-grown fruit. Back in May, I packed my bags, saved up, said goodbye to the city, and left for Kaua’i, Hawaii for four months. I guess you could call it a move, but a very temporary one (because I had to finish school).

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A lot of people asked me how I did it, where I lived, how I made an income, and mostly why. Let’s just say it took a lot of planning, a lot of money, and a lot of adjustment and preparation. I was 19 at the time (turned 20 while I was there), did not know one single person on the island, and was going there by myself.

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Growing up, my family constantly would go to Kauai for vacation. I simply fell in love. Why not move there and escape for a summer if I can support myself? The timing was perfect and it luckily worked out. I rented a small studio in Princeville, bought an old 1995 Subaru Forester, and dropped my resume off at every store on the north shore.

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I was instantly hired. Working at an organic shave ice truck called “Wishing Well Shave Ice,” I lived off of tips. The two guys that owned the truck were possibly the coolest guys on the island. They were famous surfers who recently retired from traveling the world and decided to settle down and open up an organic shave ice truck. They were like my father figures while I was on island. They gave me wonderful advice and shared amazing life stories. Jesse & Aamion are two pretty cool surfers, business owners, and uncles. Lucky to have met them.

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As weeks turned into months, I became pretty close with a lot of people on the Island. I am used to LA cliquey girls. These girls were different. They were open to talking to you in an inclusive manner. It was strange. And I liked it. Biking to work, picking papayas of my backyard’s trees, and finding sunrise chips at Tunnels was the daily routine. I connected with myself, the earth, and built relationships like never before.

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I would suggest doing something like this for anyone who loves discovery, adventure, and being barefoot. Anyone who is thirsty for sunshine or in dire need of some alone time. Traveling and living by yourself is such a great experience. You find yourself, are not pressured by others, and learn to truly take care of yourself.

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I was lucky enough to have my sister visit for a month, my friend Hunter for two weeks, and my family at the end of summer. I never once was homesick— I frequently get asked “how did you meet people?” The North Shore (Hanalei, Ha’ena, Princeville) is TINY. Everyone knows everyone. If you have sunrise shells on or barefoot feet, locals will actually want to get to know you because you will be a fresh face.

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The sunsets are beautiful, the water is crystal clear, the lychee is fresh, and the locals are welcoming.

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No matter where you may want to live—cold, tropical, city-like, or country— DO IT. When you are scared to jump, that is exactly when you do. Move, travel, see the world, let your spirit wander. Appreciate the earth before it is too late.

Love & light,

Emily

 

5 Comments

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  1. Wow this is so inspiring….. I’m contemplating travelling for my gap year and you just made me want to explore even more than I already do!!!!!! Any more tips for gap years I would hugely appreciate! Shall I go to Kauai???!!! I went to Oahu with my family a few years ago and loved every second!!!! I’m from London by the way in England so pretty far away from you!!!! 💚💥💪🏼

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    • Hiiii I’m glad you liked it! I would suggest just going! Don’t think, just jump into it. My best advice would be to be outgoing! You will meet people so much easier. Trust me. And yes Kauai is so breathtaking and beautiful. I would suggest the north (hanalei-haena). It’s green everywhere and waterfalls surround you. Good luck, anything else, let me know!

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  2. Hi! This was so inspirational and I loved that you shared! I am currently living on Oahu but would love to spend the summer on another island. I have looked before but one thing I struggled with was finding places that you could rent out for less then a year but were not vacation rentals (since those all tended to get pricey if you were staying for more than a week). If you have a chance would you mind please sharing any tips for finding rentals for the time period of only a summer? Thank you so much and keep up the beautiful work!

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  3. This was so inspirational❤️ I currently live on Oahu and would love to spend a summer on another island! Do you have any suggestions for finding a place to rent that is for such a short time period and isn’t a vacation rental (as those get a little pricey when you are staying at one for more than a week haha)? Thank you so much and keep up the beautiful posts!

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  4. Hi Emily! I’ve followed your adventures through Instagram for a while and am so inspired to travel! I’m from San Diego and have always wanted to go to Kauai and graduate early to study abroad but with counsellors and everyone always telling me to wait or spend more time at home because I would regret not seeing everyone or something bad would happen to me as a young girl traveling alone… I never believed them but you are just proof of my convictions! I’ll be backpacking around the Hawaiian islands especially Kauai with my mom and a friend sometime next year, please let me know if you have any suggestions! Vegan restaurants, camp sites etc. Keep it up:)

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