Have you ever thought about chucking it all and moving to a tropical paradise? Well I’m a guy who did just that and I landed on Maui in Hawaii! Hawaii is an amazing place and Maui is said to be “no ka oi”, meaning the best of Hawaii. I think it’s Maui’s people, weather and topography that make it ideal. On any given day you can do any number of activities, many of which revolve around the ocean that surrounds us here. There’s fun surfing at Ho’okipa and Honolua Bay, snorkeling in calmer South side beach coves, cycling to Hana or up Haleakala volcano, hiking through jungles, endless beaches to explore, fun little towns to cruise through … You get the idea. I won’t get into it all as there are already a bunch of Explore Maui books, but suffice it to say, “Maui no ka oi” is the spirit here.
This site is more about introducing you to my life here. My name is Tommy and I’m one of the few who has chucked a mainland life to create my own tropical paradise life. You may have thought about chucking it all and finding your own paradise, but have perhaps let your “common sense” get in your way. Well, I guess I was either in the wrong line on the day of that handout, or I just had other ideas. “Why not?” has always seemed like a rational question for me to explore.
Living on Maui is like being set free. For better or for worse, you’ll learn a lot about yourself here. It’s an open canvas for you to create a life filled with your interests and passions, and fertile enough to grow and discover completely new directions to wonder down.
Originally from New Hampshire, I would sometimes bounce around the Carribean during winter season when not skiing. Taking a mail or supply boat from one island to another, I would enjoy the people and the pace of their lives. I would explore desserted places off the path, find my own private beaches, enjoy people’s hospitality and stories, laugh at wild donkeys and goats, and think of staying longer. But as the winter would pass I enevitably would be pulled back to a seasonal business that I helped my brother run during the summers. It seemed I always knew in my gut that one day, I would either stay or find another island paradise to call home. I knew that the time would come and it would be right when it did.
I guess one of the questions that I always asked myself was, “What will I do to earn a living?” At some point you realize this “question” becomes a box that you’re constantly tripping over in the hallway. And at some point you just kick that box out into the trash. I’ve been lucky (or foolish) enough to follow my own interests most of my life, finding that the most friction usually occurs when I’m following others, and not my own ideas. And that my own satisfaction in life is directly related to the process of developing something new, and usually something of value to others. But I digress … and that indeed is a rabbit hole.
So how do you chuck it all and find yourself in a tropical paradise, living out your fantasy of sun and surf? In my case, you do it in one big jump with your pockets full of faith! For me, that faith was based on my willingness to follow my own path. I’ve yet to see where this path leads to, and there have been many peaks and valleys during the past 11 years, but it’s proven to be a hell of an adventure so far, so continue I do.
I’m currently into farming and sign making. Two activities I had never really done prior to living here. A family garden and finger paints were the extent of either, and believe me, there were lots of unpulled weeds and spilled paint. I guess some things never change.
Farming seems to be a natural interest here. Living 2,000 miles away from a consistent food source, beautiful year round weather and abundant land reserves support any farming venture you can think of. But I wasn’t thinking about any of this when I started. I was gifted 4 papaya trees from a friend and I was worried about just keeping them alive. I’d water them every day, willing them to survive and grow up healthy. I decided after a couple of weeks of confidence building, that they needed some company and so I began my garden. After a number of expansions from my original 10′ x 10′ area, to ripping up 8,000′ sq ft of lawn, I decided I might want to grow even more! So I did. And now I try to keep the island’s grocery stores stocked, which proves to be a weekly challenge.
My sign painting hobby came about in a similiar fashion. I was visiting a neighbor who was making jewelry. It was a warm, rainy afternoon. Ear rings, necklaces, bangles … all sorts of things were being made. I thought I’d enjoy making something too but I was unsure of what exactly to make. I had been passing an old sign on my daily bike rides and always thought it was kind of cool in an old “piece of stuff” kind of way. Like a dusty old something you’d find in an old barn and want to keep but were unsure why you’d want to keep. I’m like that. So I started making some signs. I’d give them away and of course when you’re giving something away as a gift, people will say they like it (even if it’s a hack job) and it automatically encouraged me to make more. When people started requesting signs with specific expressions, I just continued. Today I sell my signs to a dozen gift stores on Maui. They’re fun to make and people enjoy them. I think that’s a good thing.
So I’m going to go ahead and say that this is how you chuck it all and go create your tropical paradise life. In essence, all you need to do is fill your pockets with faith in yourself and take a big leap. Follow what interests you, kick the mainland baggage out to the trash and give yourself the space and freedom to dream. It’s the greatest gift you’ll ever give yourself. Good luck!
Aloha, Tommy 🙂