Renown übergeek Chris Pirillo is vacationing in Hawaii, but he hasn’t taken a break from technology nor his thriving community of fans. Chris has been streaming live video and reporting from his cruise ship as he tours the islands. A recent segment was titled, “Reasons I Might Never Move to Hawaii.”
He had five main doubts about life in the Aloha State:
- Hawaii is too touristy. “Most of the economy is supported by tourism. I can only imagine having to put up with stupid tourists for a week, let alone year round.”
- He’s not a water lover. “Not into it, never have been, I’m a geek, I like it in front of the computer screen.”
- Hawaii is an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. “Whoa. Just whoa. There’s virtually no escape route without propery planning.”
- Limited broadband options.
- He doesn’t like hot weather. “Having heat for most of the year would bother me. And I do like Seattle for the weather.”
Chris, always up for a conversation, invited people to respond, either to share their own reasons why Hawaii isn’t for them, or why an island life may still be worth it. I figured I’d give it a shot.
- Hawaii is too touristy only if you’re a tourist. Especially if you’re destinations are largely determined by a cruise ship itinerary. You don’t have to venture far to get away from the crowds, either. Whether you want a working man’s lunch at an urban hole in the wall or to spend a peaceful morning alone on a mountain ridge, Hawaii can deliver. Hawaii’s economy may be primarily dependent on tourism, but believe it or not, hundreds of thousands of people who make their home here don’t interact with them at all.
- Hawaii is great for active people, and the stubbornly inactive. Sure there are a lot of spectacular, sporty ways to kill yourself here, but trust me… there are a lot of people just like Chris who are happiest in the glow of a computer screen.
- Hawaii is relatively safe. Of course, the geographical isolation is pretty extreme, and if that’s an issue, I can’t blame you. “Rock fever” strikes locals and transplants alike. But what risks you face environmentally (volcanoes, tsunami, hurricanes) are made up for in other ways. Honolulu has the same problems other cities face, sure, but it’s still among the safest in the country. And frankly, I doubt you can find a spot on Earth that’s immune to natural disasters.
- Broadband is getting better. Okay, yes, compared to what Chris has access to at home, Internet access in Hawaii falls short. We’ve essentially got Oceanic cable and Hawaiian Telcom DSL fighting for your business. But in Honolulu, at least, consumer offerings go as high as 11Mbps, and I know folks who have commercial grade service at home for even more. Your options may be more limited in more rural areas, but that’s true anywhere.
- Hawaii’s not hot everywhere, all the time. Oh, sure, in the summer, much of the state is exactly what it looks like in postcards. But if you like Seattle, you should know that the island of Kauai is home to the wettest spot on earth. The constant gray clouds and rain in my spiritual home of Hilo make Seattle look positively sunny. Up in the mountains, it gets quite chilly, and the tradewinds constantly mix things up. In fact, on the Big Island alone, you’ve got everything from arid desert to rainforest to snow-covered peaks. Besides… live here long enough, and your senses get recalibrated. Even former skiers eventually find themselves shivering when the mercury drops below 60 degrees.
More than anything, though, I fear Chris simply hasn’t seen the real Hawaii. This is only his second vacation, and while I don’t know what his itinerary has been, I don’t get the feeling he’s been able to go off the reservation and, perhaps most importantly, spend quality time with other regular people, rather than tour guides. Indeed, the people of Hawaii are among its greatest assets.
I want him, and other visitors, to see the Hawaii that we choose and sometimes struggle to live in. Where the cost of living is high, but the quality of life is higher. Of course, that’s something that’s hard to summarize in a list. But it doesn’t sound like he’s seen, in a couple of weeks, what I’ve seen all my life, and what makes me so proud to call Hawaii home and to raise a family here. And I’d love to show him.
So give Hawaii another chance, Chris. But forget the cruise ships and organized tours next time. There are a lot of fantastic, like-minded geeks on the ground in the islands that will be happy to share a much different side to life here. After all, if the Internet makes it possible to do anything, anywhere, why not do it in Hawaii?