How I Moved Across The Ocean

The majority of my friends nowadays express their fantasies to me about moving across the country, ocean, or world. This “anywhere but here” mentality permeates through age, gender, culture, and social class. How often do you hear friends or coworkers say, “Man, I wish I could live in XYZ. That would be unreal”?

Even my retired father, an immigrant from Taiwan, is bracing to live out his dream of backpacking through uncharted lands for several months at a time. But he hasn’t left, yet. In fact, he’s spent the past three years preparing– researching hammocks, teepees, sleeping bags, cots, backpacks, knives, utensils, fishing equipment, dehydrated foods, inflatable kayaks, safety vests, fat tire bikes, and the list literally does not end. None of us (my mother, sister, or grandma) have any idea when he’ll be leaving, but we’ve stopped asking and have left him to his own smug devices.

My point is, this narrative gets played over and over again in each of our lives as we grapple between the figment of dreaming and the reality of doing. When is it ever a good time to do anything? “Not now, I’m going through a breakup. Not now, I’ve only been at my job for 6 months. Not now, I’ll miss my friends too much. Not now, everything needs to be in order before I go.” And before we know it, we’re living out the fruition of our excuses.

I do agree, doing anything against the status quo is unnerving. Imagine how I felt living in the Silicon Valley in a newly furnished one-bedroom apartment with a job that my parents would brag to their friends about. I created this perfect bubble for myself, but still felt like something was missing.

Step 1: Plan

Ok, say you want to move to Hawaii. But which island? Which area? For how long? What’s the economic climate there? What’s the cost of living? Will you need a car? Are there stores readily available? Will you be traveling to other places once you arrive? Are you willing to work for money? If you’re already feeling faint, don’t worry, these are just questions to get you started on your journey. To be quite honest, I only had two of these questions answered when I started budgeting. It’s always helpful to sift through TripAdvisor, Facebook Groups, and other travel forums, or even reach out to your network of friends.

Step 2: Save

Several months before the big move, I started to save. This timeframe will vary according to your lifestyle. I set a goal and saved a generous chunk of my paycheck every month. I stopped going to the mall when I was bored, I stopped eating out all the time, and I started selling things that I owned. I created a budget through Excel and tried to outline a ballpark amount of money I would need to fund the trip. The biggest advice I have is to focus on what you abundantly have already and to trust that money is simply currency meant to flow continuously.

Step 3: Trust

Repeat after me, “I trust that the Universe has my back. My dreams and aspirations are valid. I am worthy of anything I put my energy and attention towards.” Your dreams are scary for a reason: because no one but yourself can accomplish them. Without full buy-in from your biggest stakeholder (you), how could you ever expect your company to take off?

Step 4: Surrender

Your plan is a work in progress, you’ve saved aggressively for the allotted amount of months now, and you’ve repeated the above mantra to yourself everyday. Now what? Well, this part I struggle with the most, but it’s to surrender. Surrender to the manifestation of your dreams, whatever form they may take. Sometimes, you want something so badly that you miss out on all the ways the Universe course corrects for you.

For example, I found this adorable Airbnb converted garage in Honolulu for what was a fair bit over my budget. But it was so cute and I had lost hope on all the other scam-stentched Craigslist ads. A week later, I heard back from an inquiry about a master bedroom in a newly renovated home for way less than the garage. A few days later, I agreed to move in.

Life seldom works out exactly the way you imagine. But that doesn’t mean you can’t come close. Surrendering allows you to get out of the way to make room for life to work its magic.

Step 5: Look, it’s all happening!

Your flight is booked, your things are packed, and you have a loose plan of what you’ll do once you arrive. Congratulations, you’ve made it this far! Around this time is when you might receive various tests from the Universe– to see how badly you want to live out your dreams. These tests may take the form of a job offer or a bonus at work, a friend moving into town, or a new love interest. Whatever it is, it’s important to ask yourself “Why”? Why are you doing this in the first place? Allow that answer to carry you, one foot in front of the other, towards and into the rest of your life.


If you haven’t figured out by now, I’m the girl with the big dreams of living in Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, and wherever else I feel called to reside.

I’m in a long-distance relationship with my boyfriend of two (or eight) years; it’s been so long we’ve stopped counting. I have two college friends on O’ahu who have been inexplicably generous and loving, and I’ve met an insane amount of talented and hilarious people as well. I celebrated my 25th birthday here last weekend and it wasn’t as lonely and terrible as I feared it would be.

But as an extrovert, I do find pockets of time throughout the week when I’m lonely or bored. On days where I should be working, I yearn for rosé at Cromwell’s beach or a hike up Crouching Lion. But I came here to work on my podcast, to spend time reflecting, to conquer some of my fears, and to get better at being alone. With a little help from my spiritual life coach, I’m able to return to my “Why” and stay aligned in one of the most incredible places on Earth.

6 responses to “How I Moved Across The Ocean”

  1. Great post 🙂

    1. Thank you so much for reading! Means a lot <3

  2. Great Read! We only gave ourselves 1.5 months to make our move to Oahu. I know if we waited longer it wouldn’t happened. You just have to do it. We both had jobs lined up and everything else fell into place.

    1. That’s amazing! I’m honestly like that as well– if I give myself more time to do something, I’ll wait until the very end. And like you, it often doesn’t happen. I’m so happy for you and your partner!

  3. Absolutely love this fantastic post-Karen…it pushes me beyond the comfort zone in asking questions on accomplishment, priorities and savings-Which I did quite recently but not enough yet slowly getting there. I do have plans to cross the seas and to think during the last decade crossed twice. I love this line: I trust that the Universe has my back. My dreams and aspirations are valid. I am worthy of anything I put my energy and attention towards.”

    1. Hi Vishal! Wow, thank you not only for reading but also for leaving such a thoughtful comment. I’m glad you were able to self-reflect– reevaluating priorities is essential to personal, financial, and spiritual growth. Repeat that line to yourself and you’ll be at your goals in no time. 🙂 Best of luck!

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