10 Things That Happen When You Decide to Get Rid Of All Your Stuff and Move to Hawaii

Car Before and After

On the left is when I bought my car 6 years ago. On the right is me last weekend, on the day I sold it!

In just a few days, I’ll finally be making the big move I’ve been talking about for months. This weekend, I’ll be getting on a plane to Honolulu, Hawaii (on the island of Oahu) with nothing but a backpack, a carry-on suitcase and a whole lot of trust in the universe that now is the right time. In many ways, relocating to Hawaii feels like the final stage of my journey to become location-independent. After two years of downsizing, traveling, building my business and experimenting with different living situations, I’ve achieved the possibility of being able to live and work from anywhere in the world. Something tells me that this move is only the beginning of another year of personal and professional adventure!

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared. But I’m feeling the fear and moving anyway. Here are a few other things that have happened ever since I made the choice to move to my ideal location. If you decide to embark on your own big move, you might experience some of them, too.

1. You Start Fantasizing About Going to the Beach All the Time

I’m a big believer in visualizing your goals, and I’ve definitely been picturing myself laying on the beach pretty often. And the closer I get to the date of my move, the more difficult it is for me to stay present. I’ve had to be really intentional about participating fully in the current reality of where I am right now, versus where I really want to be. And it didn’t help that a few weeks ago (once it started getting cold in the DMV), I downloaded the Yahoo! weather app on my iPhone that tells me what the temperature is every day in Hawaii. Today, the high was 84. Perfect weather for the beach!

2. People Look at You Like You’ve Lost Your Damn Mind

I’ve mentioned my relocation plans to a lot of people over the last few months. If they don’t know me that well (like the receptionist in the Visionworks optometrist office when I asked if they had a branch in Hawaii), they pause for a moment and just give me a look. You know, that “what the hell?” look that says without saying that you’re thisclose to crazy. Then, they usually say something like, “must be nice” or “I wish I could do that.” And then I realize that the look on their face isn’t one of judgment, but of jealousy. I want to say “but you CAN!” and start coaching them through all the action steps they could take. Instead, I just smile and keep it moving.

3. You Donate Your Clothes to Charity and Regret Spending So Much Money on Shoes

Last month, I dropped off four (four!) garbage bags full of clothes, shoes and winter coats to my local Goodwill donation center. Now ALL the clothes and shoes I own fit into one small carry-on suitcase! It felt so liberating to finally let go of things I never needed in the first place. I also tried my best to let go of the thought that if only I hadn’t spent so much money on clothes and shoes in the first place, I would have more savings for traveling! It’s just a lesson learned that in the future, my purchases should be in service to my big goals.

4. You Sell Your Car and Get Used to the Idea of Depending on Public Transportation

When I bought my trusty black Honda almost six years ago, I said I would ride it until the wheels fell off. Last weekend, I SOLD it as part of my final purge before I move. I made the decision to sell my car because the cost of shipping it from Virginia to Hawaii was more money than the car is worth! Not to mention the DMV hassle of getting it registered, etc. in another state. Plus, it always helps to have some extra cash when you’re relocating to a place that’s 5,000 miles away. It still feels strange to not have a car key anymore. But seeing how much I disliked driving in the first place, I’m looking forward to becoming a public transportation ninja with all the Honolulu bus and trolley routes memorized!

5. You Give Away All Your Books to Your Local Library. And Then Cry About It.

Before I handed over the keys to my car, I used it for one last trip: to my local library to DONATE all but a few of the 200+ books I’ve collected over the years. Believe it or not, the books were MUCH harder to let go of than my car! It’s amazing how attached we can get to our stuff. Books have been so much a part of my identity over the years as I’ve always been a “bookworm” and someone who has prided herself on being a lifelong learner and critical thinker. I’ve had to remind myself that I can still find most of my precious books at the library (for free!) and purchase the really good ones for my Kindle. And now, someone else can enjoy the physical books that I no longer need.

6. You Realize How Weird Your New Office Hours Are

You know it’s real when you add new office hours to your email signature: Monday-Thursday, 2:00pm-10:00pm Eastern Time (8:00am-4:00pm Hawaii Time). Not only am I moving, but my business is moving with me as well. It finally hit me about a month ago that I’ll be SIX whole hours behind most of my clients, customers and readers on the east coast. I’ve always run my business on Eastern Time, but now it’s time to make the switch both mentally and operationally. I’m a little worried about how my business is going to change with the new hours, but I’m also super excited that now I can offer more EVENING HOURS for all my coaching clients without it being an issue with my personal schedule.

7. You Find a Temporary Place to Stay and Still Feel Homeless

On my last visit to Hawaii, I stayed at the YMCA to save money and enjoy the island on a budget. I had a great experience back in 2011, so I plan to stay there again for a while until I learn my way around the island enough to be confident in booking a long-term condo rental. I’ve found some promising options for “vacation rentals” on websites like Craigslist, VRBO and Homeaway, but I still want to get to the island first and see the actual properties and neighborhoods for myself. There’s nothing worse than a listing stating they are near a bus stop and it’s actually more like five miles away!

8. You Begin to Doubt Your Decision…and Even Your Ability to Make Decisions

When I first announced that I was moving, I received so many well wishes from all my peeps in the DC area. I had originally planned to schedule a ton of meetups with folks before I left, but after just a few “goodbyes” with friends and colleagues, I started feeling sad and conflicted about moving. Was it really the right time? There were still so many opportunities for me there…did I really want to leave the professional network I’d built? Finally, I decided to just chill with family for the remainder of my time in DC so that I could fully honor my decision and make this transition on a high note.

9. You Keep Reassuring Yourself That You Can Always Leave if You Don’t Like It

Over the last few months, I’ve had quite a few people express concern about whether or not I’ll enjoy living in Hawaii. But what’s important for all of us to remember is that at any given point, if you don’t like living in a certain place anymore, you can begin making plans to MOVE to a different place. Sure, you can change certain things about your life, but none of your decisions are permanent unless you want them to be. You don’t have to stress yourself out because you’re not sure if it will “work out” or if you’ll “like it.” There’s no way to know anything for sure until you make the decision, take action and experience it fully for yourself. And if you don’t like the outcome, you can regroup and shift direction. You can always start over. Always.

10. You Listen to This Song…and Remember That the Universe is On Your Side

I recently found out about a new artist from the UK named Sampha through one of Drake’s new songs, “Too Much.” I fell in love with this brother’s soulful voice and immediately put his song “Indecision” on repeat.

On the chorus, Sampha repeats, “let it all work out” over and over. When I first heard it, I took it as a message from the universe that there’s no need for me to worry about all the things that could go wrong. My only job is to allow everything to unfold as it should.

So of course, that line has become my mantra and prayer as I prepare to move.

Let it all work out.

Let it all work out.

Let it all work out.

Please God, let it all work out.

Leave a comment: Have you ever made a move that scared you? How did you handle it? How did it turn out?


Comments & Feedback:

  1. James Battle

    Congrats on your move to Hawaii! I always tell all my friends and family in NC and VA to make move here. I moved here in 2009 after right I retired from the military. Everyone told me I was crazy. It was the best move I could had made. You made the right choice. I was previously stationed here for 11 years so I have a lot of contacts. Please let me know if you have any questions regarding Hawaii. If I don’t have the answer, I am sure I can refer you to one of my contacts that will have the answer. Aloha!

  2. Blythe

    This was amazing! I’m glad I’m not the only one to feel all these things. My story is almost exactly the same for my move to Honolulu as well! My favorite part about your was donating your things, I loved doing that!! It made me realize it was the right decision! I love the song and the mantra.. Thank you for this!

  3. gee

    This is what I try to teach/show my children. There is a world out there that you should explore. I try to make a point to take them to a different state every year so they can know that there is more out there than our little corner. I tell them to experiance and explore before they get married and have children. Time will allow for that soon enough if that is what you want. LIVE…you only have one life…LIVE IT!

    • Oh, I love that. You’re cultivating their curiosity at a young age. I know the first time I left the country, I was so blown away by how different the world was “out there,” I never want to lose that wonder.

  4. I’m from the Virgin Islands so I don’t think you’ve lost your mind … matter-o-fact I think you’ve found it. Trust me, if it wasn’t for hubby I would be in the VI right now… and I’m working on his midwestern mind so don’t count me out out just yet. All the best!

    • Thank you! It’s so funny because I’m from the Midwest (Ohio) but I’ve been saying for years that I don’t ever want to see snow again. I just want it to be summer all the time, everywhere LOL

  5. I see in your contact section your address is now in Hawaii. That’s what’s up! Look at you experiencing life. That’s awesome. You will never be sitting around at 70 singing the “shoulda, coulda, woulda song.” I’m sure you’re be in China somwhere. Smile….

  6. Wow! Congrats, Rosetta! I knew something was up when I noticed you changed your location to Hawaii on your twitter profile, but I had no idea you just up and moved like this! Wow, wow, wow! I know its got to feel weird as so much about your life and career has changed over the last few years, but honestly, having watched and followed you for almost 3 years now, this seems like the completely natural next chapter to your very exciting journey! I simply see this as you practicing what you preach. ;-)

    And for the record, you are better than me on donating all your books as I COULD NOT have done that! Kindle will never be the same to me, but I digress.

    Congrats again and I look forward to reading about where life takes you!

    • Thanks so much Courtney! I’m definitely enjoying this new chapter. And congrats to YOU on your recent engagement! I’m still getting used to the ebooks on Kindle, girl it was so hard letting go of my babies, I mean books LOL

  7. Great post! I’ve been fighting with myself for awhile about changing locations. While I love DC I have a deep desire to experience living in NYC. Professionally I think it would be a great move, but I just haven’t fully had the courage to just do it. Reading this post and especially your point in #9 gave me inspiration to just do it!

    Congratulations on your big move! Wishing you continued success and lots more learning on your journey.

    • Thanks Chanel! So cool to see NT Tribe members commenting here :) Just wanted to clarify that I do still have student loans and other debt that I’m paying off…I’m location independent but NOT financially independent at this time. I have many years to go on that front, but I decided not to let it stop me from living where I want to live. I can pay my bills from anywhere, ya know? Best of luck to you!

  8. Jess

    I move all the time. My job is 100% travel meaning I have to start over all the time. In the next 2 months I’ll be spending at least a week in 4 different states. I’ll visit family for a few weeks at the end of the year, and hopefully before the first of 2014 I’ll know where my next assignment will be. I tell you that the fear never truly goes away.

    I deal with it by thinking of all the positives: I get to experience a new place, the town is known for x, I’ll make the next level of status for my airline (on my companies dime lol), etc

    I like some places better than others, but like you said – you can always move.

  9. #9 is SO IMPORTANT, Rosetta! People are so afraid to make the wrong decision that they wind up sitting in a situation that’s not working for them anyway. You may as well take a leap, and if you don’t like it, simply change your mind! It really is that simple!

    I love #2 as well. When I moved from NJ to Orlando, people asked me what I would be doing. I tell them I work for myself as a freelance copywriter and I plan to write while sitting at the pool and watching palm trees. I got all kinds of crazy looks and, “you can’t do that!” type of comments. Why can’t I? And like you, I sometimes tell them that they can do it too! But then they tell you about all their limiting beliefs and I realize that if they don’t get past that kind of thinking, their lives will never change.

    • So happy to hear that you’re following your heart wherever it takes you. I’ve been asked so many times – just WHAT exactly will I be doing in Hawaii? LOL running my business the same as I was in DC! You’re so right about limiting beliefs – so many people haven’t even considered the possibility of an alternative way of working and living. Maybe we are here to be living examples for those who need to see them :)

  10. Hi Rosetta. You are so inspiring! I can directly relate to #2 and #9. I admire your tenacity and desire to follow your heart and your dreams. There’s a saying “you are not a tree, you can move”. It’s so true, if you don’t like something, change it. If you need a change, change. One day soon I will have my “just pick up and go” moment. I’m also in the DMV area, and I’ve made attempts to move to LA and Chicago, to no avail (couldn’t find a job in the timeframe I was looking in). I know in my heart of hearts that I don’t want to spend my entire life in this area. I want to move away and miss the DMV area. One day soon. Meanwhile, thanks for being that extra push of inspiration for people like me!

    • I love that saying – will have to steal it for a blog post one of these days. We are all more flexible than we know! Thanks for reading Aja and I hope you will keep trying until you find a place that feels more like “home” to you.

  11. Fear means GO! I’m so happy to be exploring this journey with you, as well as completing my own at the same time Rosetta! Our lives have mimicked one another for like 4 years straight – kinda spooky, but way cool at the same time! Trust, I’m following your advice and creating a journey all my own at the same time – I’m so excited for you! I’m heading backpacking through Central & South America for a full year and you’re right about everything you’ve listed! ESPECIALLY the books! As I search for a buyer for my own car, I’m riding around with about 100 books in my backseat because I don’t want to give them away just yet lol…the struggle is real!

  12. Myya Mars

    You know what’s amazing about God? His ability to force you to seek his face through your own strength. As much as walking out on faith is about trusting God, it falls back on you to know that you are wonderfully made in his works and he made no mistakes and to be confident enough in his work (you) to let it all work out because GOD said all things WORK for good for those who love The Lord and have been called according to his purpose. Your story provided a lot of encouragement for me to know that God has planted special work in all of us and the beauty is in the testimony. Keep being a testatmant to Gods good work. He only uses those who trust in him in all thy hearts. No half hearted believers who play it safe. God bless you and all of your endeavors.

  13. Umi Jensen

    Aloha Rosetta, it was great to read this post. I’ve been following you for a while and am happy to hear that you’ve followed through with your plans! I have always lived in Hawaii except when i went to college and served a mission abroad so I havent yet made a move like you. In fact, I still havent been able to leave my little hometown near the north shore of Oahu! I like it here and want to help my home community so here I am still; however, one year ago i did make a big move in career and quit my full time job. I was so scared that I wouldnt be able to make it but I havent regretted it! Opportunities are hard to come by but I am slowly finding small projects and contracts that will allow me to work from home on my schedule. Im so happy that you can do that! Enjoy the beach, sister, you will love it here I hope! Let me know if you need anything or want to get to know more about local life, for real!
    ~ Umi

    • Thanks so much for stopping by, Umi! Congrats on leaving your job to build your business. I’ve been meeting lots of awesome people here on Oahu so far that are helping me learn about the business scene in Hawaii. Would love to connect and learn more about your work! My direct email is rosetta@happyblackwoman.com

  14. Two years I made a move that scared the daylights out of me! Moved 8,000 miles across the globe (from Africa to the US) and started life again from scratch. It’s been quite the ride, wouldn’t exchange it for anything.

    The biggest trip happens in our minds and heart.. We don’t always have to figure it all out but we must have faith…otherwise our wings have not wind and we’ll crash!

    All the best as you move Rosetta, love that weather! (it’s my kind of weather!)

  15. I saw if you’re not scared you don’t care enough. Everyday we all face situations that scare us. I know those mean the most to me in the end.

    One thing you stated that may work in your favor. The change of hours may get you more clients since some self-employed entrepreneurs also have a full time job.

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