Molly Jacobson

Editor of the second best-selling guidebook to MauiTop Maui Restaurants, Molly has called Maui home since 2005.

40 Comments

  1. Amanda W
    April 4, 2017 @ 5:49 am

    Aloha! Loved reading your story. I too have a very strong passion for moving to Maui. The crazy part is, is that i’ve actually never been but I have done TONS of research on Maui and Hawaii in general. I love everything about the culture and I think the island life is for me. I love everything about the outdoors and I love living a healthy, active lifestyle. I have a very laid-back, go with the flow attitude, and i’m always up for adventures. I just feel like Maui is my calling, and I have to give it a shot. The only problem for me is that I am a 25 year old single female who currently lives on the east coast in Delaware. Therefore, I would be making the move alone. My biggest concern is that I wont be able to afford Maui on my own. I have looked into Craigslist and looked up places with roommates which I would totally be willing to do to start off but eventually I would enjoy a place of my own. After looking into different areas, I think that South Kihei would be a good place to start for myself. I guess what I was wondering was, do you think it would be possible for someone like myself to make it on their own in Maui? I don’t have much of a savings but I am currently working on that now and I don’t think I would officially move for a few years until I did have money saved up. Mahalo!

    Reply

    • Molly Jacobson
      April 4, 2017 @ 8:56 am

      Hi Amanda! In my experience, people who are supposed to be here find a way to be here and stay here, no matter the obstacles. I know people who have planned their move for years, but realize a few months in that Maui doesn’t feel like home — and others who, like me, had no idea Maui even existed before being “called” to come, arrive and know immediately that they are in their forever home. I would save up, and have a year’s worth of cash when you come — that way, you’ll be able to find your work and home once you’re here without panicking. The reality is that so many people SAY they want to live here, and so few ACTUALLY COME … that unless you are a very desirable hire in a high paying field, it’s unlikely you will find work before arriving. And it’s difficult to rent/buy before you arrive, as well. So … save up, so that once you arrive, you will have time to figure it out. Also, if you have a skill that allows for working from home, we know have lovely high speed internet — aside from the time zone differences, it’s heaven to work from home on Maui!

      Reply

  2. Karen Dorrance
    March 18, 2017 @ 5:01 am

    I am moving to Maui! My husband died in Wailea 19 years ago having never wanted to leave. I returned to California to deal with business and raising 3 children. It was very hard for me to return to Maui where my life was irrevocably changed in such a dramatic manner.
    While visiting in December, it was raining, I decided to look at properties. The thought that I would ever move from my beautiful home of 32 years never crossed my mind. So Maui offered me a gift that I recognized immediately and seized it without question. A beautiful empty lot in Maui Meadows had just had a for sale sign posted that morning. I made the offer immediately, it was accepted, and I was first in line of about 100 people waiting to buy. I too came home to inform a shocked family….beautiful grandchildren included. At this moment I’m listing my house for sale and have hired a wonderful contractor to build my new home. I never realized what my dreams were till Maui gave me this gift. I have come home.

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  3. Casey
    April 5, 2016 @ 3:33 am

    Waking up heart broken this morning after having a dream that I was back in Maui was the hardest thing. I’ve been back in California for a little over a year now. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about the life I lived and how happy I was. I had never felt so at home and like I belonged until I moved there. I am constantly having dreams about Maui and waking up heart broken. I didn’t think it would be this hard to leave. But at the same time it seems so much harder to go back because I have grown so much closer to my family and have felt like they’ve needed me. I’ve also started a business in weddings and events and that’s my dream job. I’m just unsure how to make it grow on the islands as its competitive. My heart is forever torn. I know I belong in Maui just unsure of how to go about making it happen again. Reading your blog this morning was what I needed.

    Reply

  4. Francheska Gilbert
    April 23, 2015 @ 1:24 am

    I am in love with your story! I have the same feeling about Italy. Once I was on a vacation there and I have never felt that crazy feeling on some other place. I felt that this was my home. Now I am trying to find strength in myself to left everything and to go there. I think that your story gave me a good lesson and inspired me! Thank you!

    Reply

  5. Shawn
    April 11, 2015 @ 1:03 am

    Wow, in reading this I felt I could have written it myself – my husband and I moved to Maui from Queensland last July having never stepped foot on the island and eager for a change. While challenging, it is wonderful. And while things have gone wrong (this is life, isn’t it?) it feels as if everything here continuously falls in to place when and where it is intended to. Happy to read this, thank you 🙂

    Reply

  6. matt
    March 7, 2015 @ 3:42 am

    I’ve had to read this blog entry several times. Ever since I was a kid, growing up watching Magnum P.I., I KNEW that I had to get to Hawaii… A Decade and a half later, my friends and I spent over a week on Maui. I had the exact same feeling you described when getting off the plane. That sweet scent of Hawaii captured me. I’ll never forget that moment.

    Hopefully my wife and I will take the plunge and make our way out there permanently.

    Mahalo for your blog!

    Aloha!

    Reply

  7. Elle
    December 11, 2014 @ 1:59 am

    I just moved to Maui about 4 weeks ago, after reading all these amazing stories and in between I had lots of tears in my eyes, I had planned my move for several months to Maui because of love, but that soon through. For some reason or another I always felt something tugging at me often about going to Maui, I had never been to HI. I started telling my friends about it one in particular always seemed to discourage me and speak awful things about it. I decided to stop speaking to her often, then once she called and said she had purchased two time shares here, wow! Anyhow. I let it be! As I was really working on getting rid of belongings etc., it had became awfully stressful and car wasn’t selling, however at the last minute car sold, got the very last one way ticket to Maui at the lowest price, everything started to fall in line amazingly well, though was stressful at stop over, however when I boarded 2nd plane from Seattle was welcomed by a beautiful warm and friendly Hawaiian lady and heard the beautiful Aloha music, felt relieved, as I did feel love, the spirit of Aloha! When plane arrived I was nervous, but happy, and cried, not knowing what to expect, as I walked towards luggage area I smelled that beautiful and amazing scent of plumerias, and gave me a big smile, then met a friend Iwas to meet for the first time as well as share his home, he welcomed me with his daughter with open arms and treated me with amazing kindness! Then went
    to get vehicle to bring to curb, as I waited I had an incredible feeling and experience, the beautiful trade winds embraced me, I felt as though a giant fan from heaven was fanning me, hugging me and this amazing joy came over me I cried a little, it was an amazing spiritual experience! I felt so blessed! So happy!
    Things can get difficult if you don’t have a job if you had a great career, it is what you make of it and how hard you are willing to work at things to have the life you so desire. I’ve also been having incredible dreams, since I got here, they are quite vivid and beautiful, I know many of them with spiritual meanings I’d need to decipher. I love Maui and I know I’ve seen the beauty of our creator here. Aloha, and Mahalo, lots of Aloha to all of you who feel called as I did to call this beautiful island your home as well

    Reply

  8. Shilo Preslar
    October 29, 2014 @ 6:12 pm

    Aloha thanks for the awsome post… me my g/f and our 8 yr old son live in seattle area as well and have decided to move there… quick question i hear a lot about racism …prob from people who have never been there but anyway i dont want my son to get bullied or just end up hating hawaii. what are your thoughts on children living there and will we have to put up with much of that?? and any other reasons you might think its a bad idea for a fam to move there would be much helpful Thanks 🙂

    Reply

  9. Shawn-Marie
    August 23, 2014 @ 10:28 am

    This story had me in tears. My husband and I moved to Maui this July from Australia. We moved over with our dog and began to panic, what if we never found housing before arriving?
    We were contacted out of the blue by a lovely woman who offered us her home when we arrived here. At Honolulu Airport we hit some speed bumps getting our dog through quarantine, and the man at Hawaiian Airlines literally saved our day, offering to take the dog into his care while we sorted everything out. My husband was able to find a job temporarily until our own business picks up again and I work tirelessly from home until that happens.

    While moving over here was hardly easy and every day carries significant challenges, we ultimately feel right being here both in our business and personal lives. Thank you for sharing this!

    Reply

  10. Gary Lewis
    May 9, 2014 @ 11:13 am

    Came to visit Maui in the 80’s. Also visited Princeville, Waikiki, Turtle Bay, Mana Lani Bay on the Big Island. Maui made a lasting impression. Moved here last summer, 2013, with our now 13 year old daughter, the youngest of 4 and the only girl. Lived communally in the Redwood Forests of Humboldt County California during the 70’s along the rugged, wild coastline just south of Oregon. Lived in Oregon, rural Idaho, then northern Idaho with long term plans to settle in the “valley of healing and wellness” of British Columbia, Canada near Nelson, BC. We loved the low population density (no cars) the pristine air, the glacial lakes and rivers and the powder filled snow covered mountains in the winter. There is even a Waldorf School on Nelson, called “The Farm” that our daughter who has been writing since she was 3 years old could attend. All of a sudden those plans got nixed because our youngest son applied to U of H Hilo and decided to attend. I had chosen the last 7 moves, this one was my wife’s call. She visited Maui and called me weeping. I knew then there was no question where we were moving to. So far so good. Lots of healing, and restoration happening in our lives. Maui loves us. Maui lives me. Now if I could just stop fighting it and allow the full and complete regeneration that I need to take place. My objections to the place are numerous and unending but the reality of the good that has and is taking place in my life here is undeniable. Despite my protestations, I’m where I’m suppose to be.

    Reply

  11. laurie
    January 1, 2014 @ 8:25 am

    I had to not only reply, but save this page because of the impact it had on me.
    we vacationed in Maui for the first time years ago and one night, my husband and I looked at each other and said, “this is home.”
    now, “home” was currently Minnesota where we had both lived for all our lives…but when we got back, we picked a day on the calendar, booked one way tickets, and started our journey. We sold almost everything and shipped the rest, such a freeing feeling to part with “stuff!” people said we were crazy, maybe we were, but off we went with our 7 month old son. The part where you said doors will open if Maui accepts you…couldnt be truer. Literally things fell into place like answered prayers. We lived there just under a year, after securing jobs and a great place, because of my husbands fathers declining health, and its been just over 3 years. I expected it to get easier, not harder. But the other day my husband and I looked at each other and agreed, we left our hearts in Maui.
    we’ve started to save, and are planning in a few years to return, hoping the island will once again welcome us back. I worry about a place, jobs, and now we have two children coming with, but we’re going with the same blind faith as before. Going home.

    Reply

  12. Debi Ritter
    January 26, 2013 @ 8:40 am

    Did the same thing… been here 5 years and have not intention of leaving. We will see if I make it past 7. Seems as though I will but now you make me wonder. I too sold everything and moved. Glad I did. Love it here.

    Reply

  13. Michael Looney
    January 26, 2013 @ 6:44 am

    Just discovered this piece on Facebook of all places. I LOVE IT ! My partner and I started to visit Maui about 6 years ago, and from the moment we stepped off the plane, we felt the stress and weight of life lift off of our shoulders and know that the island would take care of us. We started visiting twice a year, by the time we were in the airport to go home we were planning our return trip already ! About a year ago, through a string of random occurrences, fate intervened and we were offered job positions on the island. We’ve been in the planning stages for a few months now and we’re making the move in the first part of June. The process is beyond stressful, but when I close my eyes and look ahead 6 months, I see the peace and calm in life, and it’s all worth it. We’re going a few months before the job starts, and have secured an Ohana to stay in during that time, will give us time to find a place to rent for a year or so before we buy.

    Your post described exactly how we’ve been feeling during this time leading up to the move, and it described perfectly the draw the island has on us as well.

    Thanks for the great words…see you on the beach !

    Reply

  14. Wanda Strickland
    January 26, 2013 @ 5:11 am

    Wow! I can’t tell you how much this article spoke to me! Ever since our first visit to Maui in 2009, I have felt like I belong there. We came again in September 2012, and had a little bit different experience, but I still felt like I was “home.” I cried as we were leaving, and watched the coastline from the plane window for as long as I could. Just a few days ago, I had the strangest thing happen – I was fully awake (and not even thinking about Maui at the time), but suddenly, in my mind, I was driving down Pi’ilani Hwy, and it was just as real as if I were actually there. I couldn’t shake that feeling for the rest of the day. I feel that Maui keeps calling me, but it doesn’t seem feasible to make a move there – yet. I’ll keep dreaming of it, though, even if it never actually happens. Thank you for your article. All the things that you, and those who have commented, have said make me realize that Maui affects a lot of people the same way it affects me, and that I’m not completely crazy for wanting to be there more than I’ve ever wanted anything. Maui no ka oi! Mahalo!

    Reply

  15. Lori Winkelman
    November 7, 2012 @ 9:59 am

    Thanks for writing this! My fiance and I talk of Maui and believe it is our home even though we have never been. He wants to plan a trip in the Spring to see if the island embraces us. I’m ready to sell everything and just go even without a visit. My only concern is keeping my dog out of quarantine : ) I love everyone’s stories here…. inspiring. MAHALO!

    Reply

  16. Briana
    October 12, 2012 @ 10:31 pm

    Aloha. My husband left for Maui from the mainland with a one way ticket just three days ago in hopes to build us a new life for us in this magical land we fell in love with 6 years ago. His family is originally from hawaii and he always had a draw to the islands. When we honeymooned there in 2006 we knew we wanted to call Maui our home. We had obstacles that seemed to prevent us from leaving the mainland and regretted allowing those obstacles to stop us. Now after years of struggle he has made the leap and continues to struggle. From the moment he got on the plane it everything has been against him. Bad things have happened and now just 3 days in he is miserable and wants to throw in the towel. He is trying so hard, he only went with his backpack and his motorcycle and every single thing he tries to do no matter what, even parking at the beach which led him to dump his motorcycle, has been rough. In his heart he is suppose to be there but is so discouraged and doesnt understand what is going on. He intentions are good and pure and he has become scared as to what will happen next. Any advice as to what can be done to improve his experience or luck if you want to call it luck. Maui is still definitely the best. Mahalo for listening.

    Reply

  17. Joyce
    September 23, 2012 @ 2:15 pm

    Thanks for sharing your story!

    My husband and I moved here from NYC in January 2002 when we were six months pregnant with our first child. We brought almost nothing with us. We were pregnant, only knew our landlords and started a solo medical practice.

    Many of our friends and family thought we were crazy for moving more than 6,600 miles away from everyone we knew. Especially since this baby would be the first grandchild on both sides of the family. There was some attempt at guilt, but we were determined to make a go of it. In the immortal words of our accountant, “If you have a shitty year, have a shitty year on Maui. Move somewhere else if it doesn’t work out.” He’s still our accountant, and we’re still here 10 1/2 years and two kids later.

    We still cannot believe how incredibly lucky we are. Friends now confide in us by telling us how we inspired them to go for what they want.

    By the way, you know you’ve lived on Maui a long time when you pronounce NIKE, “knee-kay.”

    Maui No Ka Oi.

    Reply

  18. auntie aloha
    September 22, 2012 @ 4:54 pm

    I’m a babyboomer grew up in southern california. At 16 was invited by my neighboors to tag along on a trip to the big island then oahu. it was a fun trip. years later my daughter asked to go with her girlfriend on a trip to the big island. she meets a local guy who sweeps her off her feet. they end up moving to maui. me divorced and caring for elderly parents start visiting them during my most heart-wrenching years. maui becomes my home-away from sorrow. daughter gives me grandchildren. talk on phone daily then i visit during the holidays now. my middle grandchild on the phone at age 2 says..grandma come home..grandma come home. i hear her words in my head day and night. then my daughter calls me and says you should move here because all you do is go to the cemetery and no ones there for you. i sold everything and bought that one way ticket. maui called me here and i have no desire to ever leave again. “Maui either embraces you or turns you away”!

    Reply

  19. Greg
    September 21, 2012 @ 11:11 pm

    Hello Molly,
    I hate to sound like everyone else but your post also spoke volumes to me!! My wife and I had our honeymoon on Maui and Kauie (and we also had a chance to visit Waikiki Beach). I felt an overwhelming sense of urgency to get back to Maui even as we were visiting the other islands. And even though the other islands were beautiful they did not “call” to us as Maui did. So I definitely know the magic that people talk about. IT was so overwhelming that we had planned to moved there within 4 days of being on the island. And we had EVERYTHING planned back home with great jobs, great family and friends, the whole thing. Maui had answered many of our questions we had before getting married aas far as how to raise kids back in southern NH and have a life together without both working full time jobs and juggling them between day care and going through the rat race it seems all my friends go through to make ends meet. Not to mention keeping up with the Johnses. We were and are ready to shed the materialistic part of our lives. I mean i had never been anywhere in the world that had called to me (and my wife) as loud and as in your face as Maui did. We almost didn’t make the plane ride off the island and I had found that very strange almost like Maui was trying to not let us leave. So many signs and so much confidence that we could have gone to Maui and overcome any obstacle. However as we got home and talked about it we ended up talking ourselves right out of it. “Reality” got in the way of our dream. But I still have the thoughts and dreams of moving there and I suppose I read the forums to keep it alive and maybe build up the confidence over time to go. So i right this to finally join a forum. Thank you for reading and I thank you for all your thoughts as well. Mahalo

    Reply

  20. Michele
    September 20, 2012 @ 3:36 pm

    Love your blog!
    I thought I was the only one who feels sheer “peace and happiness” when I arrive on the Big Island and CRY as the plane picks up off the runway when I have to return to NJ.
    My grandmother told me stories of Hawaii when I was a young child. She passed before we could go together.
    When I finally arrived, I felt I was home.
    My heart is tore between leaving my large family (4 brothersm 27 nieces,nephews & tons of cousins) or feeling the happiness of being in Hawaii. They all know my heart is on the island, but I love them deeply too. I look for the signs of when it is good “to go”.
    When the kids are older, I am sure they won’t need “auntie” like they do now, and I will go and find new keiki who need me there.
    Thanks for making me know that anything is possible if you let the spirit carry you.
    Mahalo sista!

    Reply

    • Molly Jacobson
      September 20, 2012 @ 4:20 pm

      Aloha, Michele! Thank you for your sweet comments. And we may actually be related — I have cousins with the last name Caron, and my maiden name is Theriault … those big French Canadian families stick together, don’t they. You’ll come when it’s time.

      Reply

      • Michele
        September 23, 2012 @ 5:08 pm

        Yes….I am related to those French Canadians…Uncle Hugh is a Mounted Canadian Police Officer. There are many many Caron’s in Quebec. When I travel there, I am spoken to in French when they see my name. Speaking of French…what do you think of Gilles Marini…woo..Wooo! 🙂

        Reply

  21. Billy Jalbert
    September 20, 2012 @ 2:05 pm

    Well done Molly. You hit on many great points. We get this question all the time. For my wife and I, it’s been 12 years, 2 kids, 3 dogs, a cat and 2 different homes since we moved here from San Francisco…Life here is truly different than on the mainland, and inconceivably good for some and not so good for others. To me, more than anything, life on Maui is what you make it.

    Reply

    • Molly Jacobson
      September 20, 2012 @ 3:05 pm

      Thanks, Billy. Too true: it’s what you make of it.

      Reply

  22. MChock
    September 20, 2012 @ 11:26 am

    I love this write up about Maui. My husband and I moved there in 1998 and lived there for 10 years. We bought our 1st 2 homes there, had our 3 kids there and made some great friends. We now live on the mainland and do miss Maui alot. Eventhough, we’ve been in “America” (as my husband calls the mainland) for 3 years, our kids still feel that Maui will always be their home. We miss the lifestyle, the people, the food but most of all the feeling of serenity. One day we will be back again.

    Reply

    • Molly Jacobson
      September 20, 2012 @ 3:04 pm

      Thank you, MChock! It’s hard to find the deep peace of Maui elsewhere — although I’ve had similar experiences in other rural areas. Hope you get back soon.

      Reply

  23. Trina Peterson
    September 20, 2012 @ 9:48 am

    Your post made me catch my breath a couple times. I’m in Kihei, I moved to Maui back in 1992. We have a very similar story. When I started selling everything to come here, I had the same reaction from friends and family. It was hard. I received the same insights about the transient nature of the island which is very true. I even relate to your husbands dream. I had premonitions my entire childhood about things that did come to fruition once I had moved here. It was a little nutty, but absolutely true. Hope to run into you someday so we can compare stories… Mine is much too long to do it justice here… 🙂 Also, Grady, I agree with your observations. <3

    Reply

    • Molly Jacobson
      September 20, 2012 @ 10:30 am

      Trina, I’m sure I’ll see you at Costco sometime! 😉 Thanks for your post. Yes, I thought my story was unique before I arrived — but it’s been proven to be quite ordinary, after all. So many other transplants have similar stories!

      Reply

  24. Corey McNeil
    September 20, 2012 @ 6:08 am

    I almost wish I had never gone to Maui. It has been 1,579 days (4 years, 3 months and 26 days) since I left. I have almost been a sort of depression ever since. I feel almost like a teenager who lost his first love.

    To be honest I have begun to doubt my own sanity. I don’t know why I feel so strongly that I have to move there. Honestly it scares me. I have a family (4 kids and a wife) to think about. I worry about my selfishness to fill this explainable need vs. uprooting my children. I have been told the younger locals are not very Haole friendly. I have a job that allows me to work from anywhere (at least if there is internet).

    I think it would be a cruel fate that would lead me to true love just to tear us apart. I have examined almost every possible scenario and at a loss.

    Reply

    • Molly Jacobson
      September 20, 2012 @ 10:36 am

      Corey, I feel your pain. Whenever I leave Maui I cry a little, even when it’s just to go to another island. It really is such a lovely place. If this is your home, and you are supposed to be here, the way will be made clear for you and your family. Getting back for a little vacation might be needed, to give you perspective?

      Reply

  25. Aracely
    September 20, 2012 @ 5:30 am

    Thanks for sharing your experience, I love anything Maui or Hawai’i for that matter. I’m from Houston, TX born and raised. I’ve visited Oahu and Maui, both islands are very different but I must say Maui is my favorite. I always tell everyone that if I could live there I would, no hesitations. I’m happy to say I do have friends there who are native to Hawai’i, beautiful people. When I am there, I am HAPPY. Stepping off the plane and out of the airport I feel something inside me come alive, it’s a wonderful feeling like no other. Unlike other places I’ve been on vacation to, I hold back the tears when it’s time to come back home because I feel like I’m leaving HOME. For now I only dream that Maui will one day be my home, but in the meantime I will try to go to any chance I get. ~aloha~

    Reply

    • Molly Jacobson
      September 20, 2012 @ 10:37 am

      Thank you Aracely. The best part about leaving Maui, for me, is the return home. It’s wonderful to know that Maui is my home. Hope you get back soon.

      Reply

  26. Kila Pakeli
    September 20, 2012 @ 5:28 am

    This article was a big neon sign for me, not only neon, but flashing in my face neon. Thank you for your beautiful and honest words of wisdom. We moved our family to Maui years ago, for a job opportunity. We were young and sold it all to live the dream. The job opportunity lasted about a year and so did our confidence in our place on the island. We always felt welcomed, but were too young to understand island living, let alone living away from family & friends.
    So, here we are, 3 years after moving back to the mainland and as I type this I’m surrounded by boxes and bubble wrap and our one-way tickets in hand. We are moving back to what I know in my heart is home. I was experiencing the doubt, the anxiety and the uncertainty you spoke of in the weeks leading up to the move… until I read this article. Maui embraced us once. I feel like we have been punished for leaving and are now righting a wrong. Maui no ka oi, and that’s all there is to it! (Had myself a chuckle over the pale-ale… I completely understand!)

    Reply

  27. Courtney
    August 28, 2012 @ 3:38 pm

    It’s a challenging question – move to Maui or not? I know people who have been here for years, took a gamble and love it and others who didn’t fit in and were unhappy. Visiting a place is NEVER the same as living in a place, no matter where it is in the world. If you can spend an extended amount of time on island, it’s worth it to get to the know the “lay of the land.” I grew up on Oahu and it’s still DIFFERENT from Maui and required adjustment. I lived a year on Kauai and it’s still a different island with different attitudes.

    Reply

    • Molly Jacobson
      August 28, 2012 @ 5:07 pm

      So true, Courtney. Even if you have lived in isolated/rural areas before, nothing compares. For one thing, Maui is crowded with 2 million visitors each year. The resort feel of the island is overwhelming — until you live here and realize it’s not all playtime 😉

      Every place on the planet has its own character. Rural Vermont and rural Maine, where I spent a lot of time growing up, are very different from my home in Montana’s Big Sky Country. And Maui is a place apart, even in Hawaii. Each island is so different!

      Reply

  28. Grady Booch
    August 24, 2012 @ 3:44 am

    Lovely post! As for the dangers of rock fever, I have made the observation that only boring people get bored on Maui.

    Reply

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