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This is cross-posted from LBYM, but I thought it might be of interest.


My wife is retired and I am now semi-retired (will retire fully in June of next year). We are spending our first extended stay here in Waikiki, where we bought a condo (for cash) a little over a year ago. We have been coming to Hawaii regularly for more than 25 years.

I can see the beach from our lanai, and Diamond Head. And the mountains out our front door. A good-sized grocery store is next door. Perhaps 20 restaurants are within a three-block radius. We can walk to the beach in 5 minutes. The weekly farmers market is a 15 minute walk.

I wake up smiling every morning. I often laugh out loud at the sheer wonderfulness of it all. And I am a Type A+ kinda guy.

Last night, we ate at a local restaurant. People at half of the tables were chatting back and forth in conversation, although I don't think anyone knew anyone else. It's called "talk story" here. It's part of the culture.

Yes, housing is expensive. But if you don't require a 3+ bedroom, 3+ bath house, it is manageable. Yes, most groceries cost more, as does gasoline.

But the beach is free. The parks are free. You can walk almost everywhere, or take a bus ... on which you are likely to find yourself in conversation with other riders. You can watch live music or entertainment every night of the week for free or for the price of a beer.

We rent a car from down the street if we need one for a monthly big shop or a trip to the North Shore. It's like 35 bucks for the day, plus top off the tank. I have a coupon for a free weekend day.

We bought about half of our furniture at a store that liquidates furnishings from the upscale hotels, at pennies on the dollar. Some of it (our lamps, for instance) is surplus that was never unwrapped. People don't believe it when we tell them what we paid for our chair, or coffee table, or patio set, or the lithographs. It is lovely.

We have no heating or a/c bills at all. If you open the windows on one side of the apartment and the sliding door on the other side, you have gentle trade winds wafting through all day long.

We are not rich. We saved and invested prudently for decades and LBYM as a way of life.

We also travel to Europe every year. Many people cannot begin to understand how we do all this. It isn't difficult if you don't end up having lots of useless "stuff" owning you. We know people who spend hundreds of dollars every month to keep their excess stuff in storage lockers. Amazing, and a bit sad. We'd rather travel.
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