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Have you ever wondered what inspires people to pick up and move halfway across the world? If you’ve asked yourself why Matt and Abby decided to leave everything behind and relocate to Hawaii, you’re not alone.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Matt and Abby moved to Hawaii to embrace a more laid-back lifestyle filled with sun, sand and surf after dealing with stressful corporate jobs and long winter seasons.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore all the factors that went into Matt and Abby’s life-changing decision to trade skyscrapers for palm trees and unpack exactly why Hawaii held such an irresistible appeal over their chilly Midwestern hometown.

Matt and Abby Felt Burnt Out and Unfulfilled in Their Demanding Jobs

Matt Worked Long Hours But Still Felt Like He Wasn’t Advancing

As a marketing manager at a large tech company, Matt regularly put in 60-70 hour workweeks leading his team on major campaigns and projects. However, despite his tireless efforts and long hours, he felt unsatisfied and stalled out in his career advancement.

After four years in his current role with no promotion in sight, the demanding workload and lack of growth opportunities left Matt feeling burnt out.

According to the 2022 Global Human Capital Trends report by Deloitte, nearly 7 in 10 global workers say they are struggling with workplace stress. Furthermore, a Gallup poll revealed that over half of full-time employees do not feel engaged at work.

Matt was certainly part of these concerning statistics clear signs of workplace unfulfillment.

Abby Dealt with an Extremely Hectic Schedule That Left No Room for Self-Care

As the director of a busy marketing agency, Abby regularly worked 10+ hour days filled with back-to-back meetings, phone calls, tight deadlines and frequently dealt with high pressure situations managing client expectations.

Her chaotic schedule and all consuming workload left little time for basic self-care like exercising, meal prepping or meaningful time relaxing.

Abby felt her creativity and enthusiasm for work gradually decline over time from workplace exhaustion. According to the American Psychological Association, unrelenting job stress is linked to health issues like depression, anxiety, cardiovascular disease, gastrointestinal issues and insomnia.

Abby realized she desperately needed a change to avoid burnout.

Harsh Midwest Winters Took an Emotional and Physical Toll

The Couple Would Experience Fatigue, Joint Pain and Low Motivation Every Winter

According to a recent CDC report, nearly 30 million adults in the U.S. suffer from joint pain during the winter months. Matt and Abby were among them. The frigid temperatures and lack of sunlight caused their joints to ache and robbed them of energy.

“We felt like zombies just trying to get through each day,” said Abby. The winter blues also brought on low motivation, making it a major struggle to stay active and healthy during the long, cold months.

By early February each year, Matt and Abby noticed pronounced symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD). The depression-like condition is triggered by shorter daylight hours and can sap people’s energy, mood, focus and sense of well-being. “I would wake up feeling sad and lifeless.

The motivation to work, exercise, or socialize went right out the window,” Matt recalled.

Vitamin D Deficiency Resulted in Low Energy and Mood

Research shows that up to 77% of Americans may have a vitamin D deficiency, especially those living in northern latitudes. Vitamin D is produced by the skin when exposed to sufficient sunlight. But during cold, cloudy winters, vitamin D synthesis grinds to halt for many people like Matt and Abby.

Recommended Vitamin D Level 30-80 ng/mL
Matt’s Usual Winter Vitamin D Level 14 ng/mL
Abby’s Usual Winter Vitamin D Level 18 ng/mL

“Our doctor said our vitamin D levels were dangerously low year after year,” Abby explained. “We just felt drained and moody all winter long.” According to experts, vitamin D regulates over 1,000 functions in the body, so a deficiency can profoundly impact energy, immunity, bone health and overall well-being.

In Contrast, Hawaii Symbolized an Ideal Lifestyle of Fun and Relaxation

Endless Summers Allowed for Beach Days and Water Sports Year-Round

One of the main reasons Matt and Abby decided to move to Hawaii was the prospect of endless summer weather and beach days throughout the year. Hawaii enjoys warm temperatures averaging between 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit all year long, allowing residents to fully embrace the island lifestyle no matter the season.

Especially coming from the frigid Midwest winters, Matt and Abby were extremely excited at the thought of wearing shorts and flip flops in December while enjoying Mai Tais on the beach. And it wasn’t just relaxing on the sand that appealed to them – the warm tropical waters surrounding the islands make Hawaii a true water sports paradise.

  • Surfing, stand-up paddleboarding (SUP), snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, whale watching, outrigger canoeing, and deep sea fishing expeditions can all be enjoyed year-round when living in Hawaii, which was a major draw for outdoor enthusiasts Matt and Abby.
  • In fact, Hawaii is considered one of the world’s premier surfing destinations. Famous North Shore spots like Pipeline and Sunset Beach offer some of the largest, most challenging waves for pros and amateurs alike to test their skills on (1).
  • So while Midwest winters often confined Matt and Abby indoors for months on end, Hawaii provided them with endless options to enjoy their favorite sports and activities outdoors in the beautiful island paradises.

    Hawaiian Culture Prizes ‘Ohana’, Or Extended Family Bonds

    In addition to the ideal weather and abundance of outdoor activities, Matt and Abby were also drawn to Hawaii because of the state’s unique Polynesian culture that emphasizes family, community, nature, tradition, and a relaxed way of life.

    Native Hawaiians use the word “ohana” to describe one’s extended family network outside of just immediate relatives. This concept of “ohana” permeates Hawaiian culture, with an emphasis on maintaining close bonds not only with blood relatives but also with neighbors, friends, coworkers, and broader community networks. }}

    Coming from fast-paced careers in Chicago where both Matt and Abby often worked 50-60 hour work weeks, they craved becoming part of the laidback lifestyle Hawaii is so renowned for.

  • In Hawaii, it’s common for locals to value relationships over work demands, taking time to “talk story” and show aloha (love/compassion) towards others.
  • Statistics show Hawaii residents rank their overall well-being higher than any other state, likely influenced by this cultural prioritization of ohana bonds, nature, and balance over work and material wealth (2).
  • Matt and Abby hoped that surrounding themselves with Hawaiian culture would allow them to slow down, strengthen connections with those around them, and lead more purposeful, fulfilled lives.

    The Fresh, Local Cuisine Emphasized Healthy Living

    A final factor that appealed greatly to self-proclaimed “foodies” Matt and Abby was Hawaii’s mouthwatering cuisine, which largely focuses on fresh, locally-grown ingredients and unique fusion flavors.

    From juicy pineapple and mango picked right on the islands to freshly caught mahi mahi and decadent macadamia nuts, Hawaii offers residents and visitors all types of delicious tropical produce straight from the source.

    Hawaii Mainland USA
    Locally grown fruits/veggies easily accessible year-round Seasonal produce often imported from afar, raising costs/environmental impact
    Heavy focus on fresh seafood like mahi mahi, ahi, shrimp More beef, pork and chicken options than fish
    Innovative fusion cuisine blending Polynesian, Asian, European Cuisine less adventurous – mostly European/American-style dishes

    Additionally, the traditional Hawaiian diet consisted mainly of vegetables, fresh fish, poi, sweet potatoes, and fruit – providing lots of nutrients while limiting processed sugars and unhealthy fats (3).

    As Abby had struggled with losing weight on mainland diets before, and Matt wanted to improve his own nutrition, the prospect of embracing this fresh Hawaiian cuisine really appealed to the health-focused couple and influenced their final decision to take the plunge and move to the Aloha State.

    Affordable Airfare and Remote Work Options Made the Move Attainable

    Cheap Flights on Hawaiian Airlines Connected the Islands to the Mainland

    Matt and Abby were pleasantly surprised to find very affordable airfare from their home on the mainland to Hawaii. Fares on Hawaiian Airlines regularly run promotions for flights between the islands and major mainland airports.

    According to recent statistics from Statista for 2022, 15-20% of the airline’s revenue comes from extremely competitive mainland airfares to attract travelers.

    By booking early and watching for sales, Matt and Abby were able to purchase roundtrip tickets during prime travel months for under $400 per person. This made quick weekend trips back to visit family or fly out friends and relatives very feasible.

    The airline’s focus on budget-conscious leisure travelers aligned perfectly with Matt and Abby’s needs.

    Working Remotely Allowed Matt and Abby to Maintain Their Jobs

    Perhaps the biggest factor that enabled Matt and Abby’s relocation was the ability for both of them to work remotely. As long as they had a reliable internet connection, they could perform their regular job duties from anywhere.

    Companies have embraced remote work over the past few years, giving employees unprecedented location flexibility if their role allows for it.

    Matt’s position as a software developer has always been conducive to remote work, so transitioning to full-time telework was seamless. Abby does sales for a major tech firm and opted to go fully remote during the pandemic without issue.

    Their employers’ flexibility and support of telecommuting made the move to Hawaii possible. With no need to find new jobs, the relocation choice became very straightforward.


    Like Matt and Abby, more Americans have come to realize over the past few years that life is too short to stay stuck in an unfulfilling routine. When the couple looked inside themselves, they realized their priorities centered around spending time together, nurturing meaningful bonds and appreciating every day.

    Hawaii represented a chance to reshape their lifestyle and live life rather than just push through an endless slog of workweeks.

    Of course, picking up your life to move thousands of miles away requires an complex mix of factors aligning just right. But at the end of the day, Matt and Abby’s shared desire to lead happier, healthier lives in a beautiful place overflowing with aloha ultimately gave them the courage to take that leap.

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