The Hawaiian Islands are as close to paradise as you can get without leaving the good old United States of America – but that doesn’t mean everything about living in Hawaii is perfect 100 percent of the time. When you forget about the gorgeous beaches, phenomenal weather and stunning panoramic views for a minute, you’re left thinking about the few aspects of island life that can be – how do I say this – annoying. Don’t get me wrong, I’m absolutely head over heels in love with Hawaii, but even those who live in paradise deserve to complain every once in a while, right?
1. Vog exists - and it’s awful.
Vog, or the volcanic smog, that wafts over from the Big Island when the trade winds die down, is absolutely killer. We’re talking itchy eyes, sinus headaches, and more. Plus, it’s unpredictable and you never know when it will come your way.
2. Sun guilt sucks.
Yes, sun guilt is a real thing, and it sucks. Sometimes, all you want to do is stay inside and binge watch Netflix. But enjoying a lazy day at home can be hard when you feel guilty about not enjoying the weather and taking advantage of exploring Hawaii’s magnificent landscapes whenever you get the chance.
3. Your tour guide duties will get old.
While it is fun to play tour guide for your closest friends and family members, when you’re hiking Diamond Head for the zillionth time this year, you’ll wish you could ditch that guest bedroom so no one would come visit.
4. The best local produce is exported.
Though it is easy to find fresh fruits and vegetables being grown in Hawaii, approximately 90 percent of the food eaten in Hawaii is imported. This means that produce tends to go bad rather quickly, unless you shop exclusively at farmer’s markets.
5. The cost of living is astronomical.
Most of Hawaii’s food is imported from the mainland, translating to overwhelming grocery bills; Hawaii residents pay almost double the national average for a gallon of milk. Don’t even get us started with the outrageous cost of housing here.
6. And the salaries don’t make up for it.
Hawaii salaries are no higher than many places on the mainland. For example, the average computer programmer living in Hawaii had an annual salary of $63,570 in 2013, less than California, Massachusetts, New York and Washington, where individuals with similar careers made between $82,750 and $111,320 annually. Same goes for teachers, police officers, and pediatricians.
7. No one from the mainland will be able to pronounce your street name.
Not only will your mainland friends not be able to pronounce your street, some online data entry forms won’t accept your address as it is because it’s too weird.
8. Even online shopping is difficult.
When you’re online shopping and fall in love with something only to put it in your shopping cart and realize that it won’t ship to Hawaii. Or – equally as frustrating – that the shipping will cost more than the item you want to buy. Amazon Prime is almost a necessity for anyone who lives in Hawaii, though I’ll be honest, even Prime shipping times have gotten insane lately.
9. The traffic is soul-crushing.
Oahu is home to the worst traffic in the country - second only to Los Angeles. With streets crumbling with potholes and seemingly endless road closures, the average Honolulu resident sits in more traffic than anyone on the mainland – except for L.A. residents. The state is also ranked dead last in highway conditions and cost-effectiveness.
10. And the radio doesn’t help.
Despite the amount of time spent driving in Hawaii, the radio stations are generally a few months behind the mainland in terms on new music.
11. The Mexican food is meh.
Unfortunately, good Mexican food is hard to come by in Hawaii. At least the Japanese, Korean and Hawaiian food is absolutely to die for.
12. Access to your favorite mainland restaurants is limited.
Sometimes, all you want are breadsticks from Olive Garden, a Chipotle burrito, or even Caribou Coffee or whatever coffee chain is most popular in your area of the country. (Though a Dunkin Donuts did just open on Oahu - and we can guarantee it’ll be packed for weeks.)
13. Your dreams of attending major concerts all the time are unrealistic.
Oh, you love live music? Well, you’ll never see a big concert again. Even when a major artist makes a stop in Hawaii, tickets are expensive and extremely hard to come by.
14. You can’t escape from people.
When you live on a small island, there’s no avoiding that annoying friend from college who you want nothing to do with, or your clingy ex you never want to see again.
15. Hawaii is a revolving door.
Many people move to the islands for a good ol' adventure, and then head back to their mainland reality. While this means that you can constantly make new friends, there will always be people who are leaving.
16. Island fever is real.
It’s easy to go stir crazy when you live on a small island, especially when the only road trip you can take is the drive around the island, and your weekend getaways consist of visiting a neighboring island.
17. You’re not allowed to complain - like, ever.
You definitely won’t be getting any sympathy for your problems when your friends have just been caught in a blizzard. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve tried to vent about something only to be told, "Relax. You live in Hawaii. Life is good."