What Is Island Fever?

Is Island Fever Even a Real Thing?

Island Fever is the phenomenon of feeling claustrophobic due to the close proximity of each shoreline and feeling disconnected from the outside world. This is quite common on the Hawaiian islands, given that we’re situated in the middle of the largest ocean in the world. Many people move away after a few months to a few years because they lack family connections and miss the amenities readily available on the mainland.

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Who Generally Gets Island Fever?

Typically, those who don’t utilize the resources available on the island experience Island Fever. This includes not appreciating or engaging in ocean activities or most importantly participating in the various island communities. People from big cities often find it the hardest to adjust to island living due to the limited resources. There are fewer choices of restaurants, bars, shows, and large events. Coupled with sometimes not getting anything you want at the local store, this can be discouraging for those unaccustomed to driving across the island for necessities.

City dwellers also struggle with the slower pace of life. The heat often leads to a lack of motivation to work, and this affects everyone. Dealing with your own laziness is one thing, but coping with someone else’s can be more challenging. When you need something immediately, you’re likely going to have to wait. On the mainland, you can make things happen quickly. Additionally, everything is more expensive, from homes to groceries.

Hawaii location in the Pacific Ocean

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How Do I Keep From Getting Island Fever?

How to get rid of Island Fever:

Those who thrive on the islands take advantage of the many wonderful free Maui activities. For example, instead of spending $100 at a bar or club on the mainland, you can go to the beach or park with some store-bought drinks and BBQ. To last on Maui or any of the Hawaiian Islands, you must build relationships with residents and learn to appreciate all the amazing things these islands offer.

One factor that deters people from living here full-time is the perceived cliquishness of island residents. It might seem like people are standoffish, but it’s not snobbery. People shy away from new arrivals because they’ve often been hurt by losing friends who move away soon after arriving. Transient translants are a regular occurrence, so people become cautious about forming new friendships. The same applies to finding a job. Why invest time training someone who might leave within a year? In most industries on the islands, it’s easy to find someone in need of a job, but it’s risky to hire someone new to the island.

To live happily on the Hawaiian Islands and avoid Island Fever, you must make an effort to meet long-term residents, enjoy the many free activities, slow down and anticipate the generally relaxed pace, learn to cope without all the usual mainland amenities, and consider making bi-annual trips off the island.

Living in Hawaii isn’t for everyone, and that’s a good thing!  If you’re thinking about moving here, but you don’t think you’ll last, then try somewhere else where you can truly put down roots.  ALOHA!