I was born and raised in Kona. I was 49 years old when I left for the mainland in 2017. Kilauea had been erupting constantly since 1983, and the air quality was horrible. I ended up with asthma and susceptible to pneumonia.
Initially I went to Washington state on vacation. By the second day I realized what it was like to breathe clean air.
While I was there, I also noticed the lower cost of products in the stores. Food and housing were so much cheaper. Within one month of going back to Kona, I decided to move to Washington for good. I could buy a mobile home for $40,000, and there were lots of available jobs. Within three months I got an awesome job with the Washington state government. I’ve been here four years now.
I came alone with my two dogs and a few boxes to start life again. Most of my family is still in Hawaii. A few are in different states. They moved for schools, low costs of living and higher pay.
I wish I had moved before 2017, but I didn’t know how much better it is outside of Hawaii.
Former resident of Kailua-Kona, Hawaii Island