≡ Menu

10 Things I Will Bring When We Move to Paradise


10 Things I Will Bring When We Move to ParadiseDo you have an ultimate goal? My ultimate goal is to acquire a piece of land in a nice tropical location where I can build the RB40 villa. We’ll build several small and environmental friendly huts for vacation rentals. It will be like a luxurious campground where family and friends can have a reunion or conduct a yoga camp. Readers will get the discount rate, of course. 😉 I’ve had this dream for about 5 years and I think Mrs. RB40 is slowly coming around to it. We are city people so this would be a big adjustment for us. Mrs. RB40 is getting tired of the craziness, though. I might convince her to move to a tropical location yet.

We visited the Big Island of Hawaii in 2014 and we really liked it. You can acquire a home with 5 acres at a somewhat reasonable price. We probably won’t go off grid because we need internet. Hawaii is nice because it is still in the US. There are differences, but it’s a lot more familiar than, say, Costa Rica. Anyway, I was thinking about what to bring when we move to our retirement paradise. Of course, we’d bring all the necessities like our laptops, old photos, documents, clothes, and such. I’m thinking more along the line of things that aren’t completely necessary, but I just couldn’t bear to leave behind. Check out my list.

*There are links to Amazon in this post and we may receive a referral fee if you buy something on Amazon.

10 Things I Will Bring When We Move to Paradise

1. My Stereo System

I love my 2 channel stereo system. I got a Harman Kardon 2-Channel Stereo Receiver and a pair of AV123 X-sls tower speakers. I got this setup for under $500 about 8 years ago and I love listening to music on it. If I get rid of these, I’d probably spend $1,000+ on a better music system.

2. My Ukuleles

Of course, I’ll have to bring my ukes to Hawaii, that’s a no brainer. I can’t leave my custom-made Glyph ukulele behind! I got it about 10 years ago when Glyph, a one-man shop by Dave Means, was relatively new. He has stopped taking new orders in 2012, so you can’t even order a new one anymore. I’m not sure if the shop has closed or he is still trying to catch up on back orders. I would also bring my other 3 ukes. They aren’t primo ukes, but sometime it’s fun to play a different size. If I had to keep just one, it’d be the Glyph.

3. Kitchen Knives

I’d bring our 6-Inch Chef’s Knife and 5-Inch Santoku Knife. These are nice knives from Calphalon and we might as well keep them. We have used them almost every day for years and they are still very good. If we ever lose these, I’d probably upgrade to Wusthof. Oh, I’d bring my cheap Chinese cleaver while I’m at it. I don’t use the cleaver very often and it is easily replaceable, but if I’m packing the knives, I might as well take it along.

4. Asian Tea Sets Collection

What can I say? I collect tea sets. My grandfather used to drink tea all the time and that’s my image of him. I have tea sets from Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, and Japan. The one I use the most is the tea pot from the local Museum store (top left.) I really like the small Chinese clay teapots. It’s a great way to enjoy tea.

5. DSLR Camera

My Canon Rebel T1i and lens are great. I plan to take a photography class someday and I’d need a serviceable DSLR camera. For lens, I have a Sigma 30mm fixed lens and a Canon EF-S 15-85mm zoom lens. Whoa, the fixed lens cost $499 and the zoom lens cost $799 new at Amazon. Surely, I didn’t pay that much for these lenses? Unless my photography skills improve dramatically, these are all the lenses I’d ever need.

6. Artworks

We have a few nice pieces of artwork and we’d take them with us. Mrs. RB40 is very attached to her Snoopy lithographs and would never leave them behind.

7. Snorkeling stuff

We both got a set of prescription snorkeling masks. They make a huge difference when you have strong prescriptions. Snorkeling is a lot more fun when you can see the sea life.

8. Tools

I would take most of my tools. It has taken a long time to build up my small collection of tools and I don’t want to start over. I’d probably give away some of the old cheap tools, though.

9. Dad’s Buddha collection

My dad used to commission and sell these bronze Buddha statues when he was younger. These are much nicer than the mass produced gift shop Buddha statues. They were made by craftsmen and are worth around $500 to $1,000 each to the right buyer. I don’t know where to sell them, though. These statues are for veneration, not decoration.  We have 10 of these around the condo. I’d probably take just one and leave the rest with my brothers. They are pretty heavy.

10. Weber Propane Grill

I love my Weber Propane Grill and use it pretty often. It’s so convenient to use and I don’t have to mess with charcoal. We used to have the classic charcoal Weber grill and it was definitely more work to get going. We had to sell it and get a propane grill when we moved to our condo due to HOA rules. When we have our own yard again, I would get the Pit Barrel Cooker for smoking. Mmm… I love BBQ.

Material Things Can Bring Happiness Too

This list actually took me a few days to compile and I almost didn’t get 10 things on the list. I’m not very attached to things so I don’t mind getting rid of 95% of our possessions. Our stuff isn’t heirloom quality. Most of them are just functional. These 10 material things bring a lot of pleasure for me. Who say things can’t make you happy? 😀

Mrs. RB40, on the other hand, is very attached to her stuff. She’d probably want to bring her childhood piano. It’s a solid walnut Wurlitzer upright. She already shipped it from California to Oregon. Yikes! Shipping to Hawaii is going to be expensive.

What would you bring with you if you have to move and can’t bring everything? What material things bring you the most happiness?

Image by Olga Osadcha

The following two tabs change content below.
Joe started Retire by 40 in 2010 to figure out how to retire early. He spent 16 years working in computer design and enjoyed the technical work immensely. However, he hated the corporate BS. He left his engineering career behind to become a stay-at-home dad/blogger at 38. At Retire by 40, Joe focuses on financial independence, early retirement, investing, saving, and passive income.

For 2018, Joe plans to diversify his passive income by investing in US heartland real estate through RealtyShares. He has 3 rental units in Portland and he believes the local market is getting overpriced.

Joe highly recommends Personal Capital for DIY investors. He logs on to Personal Capital almost daily to check his cash flow and net worth. They have many useful tools that will help every investor analyze their portfolio and plan for retirement.
Get update via email:
Sign up to receive new articles via email
We hate spam just as much as you
{ 62 comments… add one }
  • The Green Swan May 20, 2016, 4:21 am

    That is a pretty good list, some very nice things on there. And that is a great idea for retirement life! I’m not entirely sure I could get to 10 either. I have a few sports memorabilia items I definitely wouldn’t leave behind, but I’m not overly attached to many of my things.

    • retirebyforty May 20, 2016, 7:21 am

      Thanks. It’s tough to be frugal on hobbies, but I think I’ve been pretty good. I spend just enough to get quality stuff and don’t go for super high end stuff.

  • Sunny Day May 20, 2016, 4:29 am

    I live in a beautiful place where many people move to for retirement. Sometimes they are surprised by how things run and the local politics. I highly recommend that you do a practice run for a summer or year before moving somewhere. It is very different to visit a place as a tourist. There are some great cities in warmer climates that might be a good compromise for you and your wife. I understand how she feels and like the benefits of a small city.

    Also, paradise is a state of mind. Whoever you are, you take him wherever you go. Have fun building and realizing your dream!

    • retirebyforty May 20, 2016, 7:23 am

      We’ll definitely do a trial run before we buy. We’ll rent for a while to see if we can handle the change. I agree that paradise is a state of mind. We still love Portland and enjoy living here a lot. The move to paradise will take many years to execute. 🙂

  • Pennypincher May 20, 2016, 4:37 am

    Hey, you forgot to mention bringing the kid! I’m as blind as a bat, but when I snorkel, I can see as crystal clear as ever-weird, I know.

    • [email protected] Smarter Decisions May 20, 2016, 4:53 am

      Wow – I guess that could happen. Maybe I should give snorkeling another try without glasses before I go ordering a mask with a prescription!

      • retirebyforty May 20, 2016, 7:26 am

        Yes, try with out glasses first.

    • retirebyforty May 20, 2016, 7:25 am

      The kid will have to be done with school before we move. 🙂
      If your prescription isn’t too strong, the magnification effect of water will be just fine. Our prescriptions are strong and the prescription masks help a lot.

  • Maria May 20, 2016, 4:49 am

    10 Things I would bring to Paradise:
    1. My Coffee Maker and Lifeboost Organic Coffee
    2. My Journaling Bible
    3. My Electronics -iPhone and iPad for reading and learning
    4. My Fitbit and Weights
    5. Makeup (you still have to look pretty even in Paradise)
    7. Beautiful smelling soaps and candles (you still have to smell good in Paradise)
    8. Organic Dark Chocolate, gourmet cheese and honey
    9. My Art and Craft Supplies
    10. My Hubby

    • retirebyforty May 20, 2016, 7:26 am

      Heh heh, I notice the hubby is #10 on the list. I wonder how he feels about the ranking. 🙂

      • Maria May 20, 2016, 8:24 am

        Shhh! He does not know!

  • [email protected] Smarter Decisions May 20, 2016, 4:51 am

    This is an interesting list. I recently started wearing glasses all the time and have not yet thought of the need for a prescription snorkel mask. Why go snorkeling if you can’t see anything. Off to do some research! Thanks for that idea.

  • John C @ Action Economics May 20, 2016, 5:45 am

    Wow that’s a good questions, its really hard to think about things like that. I would certainly bring my tool collection as well, And a few small items to remind me of home, a railroad spike from the abandoned railroad bed I own, some sand from Lake Michigan, a few pressed maple leaves, things like that. I would probably bring a few of the classic super soakers I have from the 90s when they were much better, those are getting harder to come by. I have about 30 old school super soakers in my collection.

    • retirebyforty May 20, 2016, 11:04 am

      You own a railroad bed? That’s pretty interesting. Sounds like you have a lot of souvenirs from making good memories.
      Super soakers? I didn’t know they got a lot worse. I guess it make sense with the drive to cheaper disposable stuff.

      • John C @ Action Economics May 20, 2016, 1:36 pm

        Yup, It was abandondoned 30+ years ago and the railroad sold off peices to local property owners. It adjoins my yard so to me it was a no brainer. I bought a 1/2 mile long segment last year and I just closed on another 1/2 mile. I wrote an article about the process of buying it and learning what I actually had here http://actionecon.com/researching-property-boundaries/

        Super soakers used to be pressurized, you would pump them up several times and it would gain pressure until you couldn’t pump anymore and they would shoot like 50 feet. All the ones they make now don’t pressurize. They squirt with the pressure created by moving the pump one time.

  • Mike Drak May 20, 2016, 5:59 am

    I’ve been thinking about this for awhile and my wife and I plan on participating in run and bike charity events in different countries. Don’t get me run we are not hard core athletes by any stretch of the imagination more plodders than anything but it’s fun, we meet a lot of interesting people and it helps keep me in shape. So in terms of taking things along it would be running shoes, bikes, swim equipment and the laptop.

    • retirebyforty May 20, 2016, 11:04 am

      That sounds like a lot of fun.

  • Apathy Ends May 20, 2016, 6:02 am

    Weber grills are awesome! I have had mine for about 5 years and it still works like a champ

    I am also struggling to get to 10 must have items outside of electronics.

    I would need to add some fishing gear and a portable stereo with bluetooth

    • retirebyforty May 20, 2016, 11:05 am

      I never got into fishing. I am way too restless. 🙂

  • Pia @ Mama Hustle May 20, 2016, 6:18 am

    Ooh, I’m a tea enthusiast as well! I had a friend who worked at Teavana corporate, and when she retired they gave her dozens of POUNDS of loose tea. She gave me quite a bit of her loot as a gift, and I still think it’s one of the most generous gifts (windfalls, really) I’ve ever received.

    We’d probably bring our grill as well. One thing (well, one set of hundreds of things – ahem) I won’t leave behind is my book collection. I’ve donated hundreds of books to the library in the past few years, but I’m an avid reader, and I’m old school and love paper books. At some point I guess I’ll need to start going digital – I can’t even imagine what it would cost to ship this lot to Hawaii!

    • retirebyforty May 20, 2016, 11:21 am

      Wow, that sounds like a great retirement gift. Very nice.
      I’d probably donate my book collection. I love reading too, but there are so many new books to read every day. I don’t really read my old books anymore. It would be very nice to have a nice library in paradise. 🙂

  • connie munoz May 20, 2016, 6:41 am

    in 2 1/2 years we will be moving all to Puerto Vallarta mexico, what I have learned with soooo many visits and research of 15 years and preparing, we are going with 4 large suitcases, all clothes, we will have 4 suitcases left here so when we come back for temp resident visa, will grab other 4 and that will have my vitamix, food processor and you have to have good knifes, cant get those in PV, in mexico its about living with less, most expats move with just their suitcase, most places for rent are furnished, we want to rent and not buy, we have no clue what the Mexican government will be in 10 years, so we want to make sure we can up and always relocate…and we wont own a vehicle because everything is in walking distance and bus if needed for out of town, selling everything we own, we already have had the mentality of living on less, just so we can get to the point of retiring at 55…its so close now I can taste it, cant wait…..

    • retirebyforty May 20, 2016, 11:22 am

      You have done your research. That’s really awesome. Good knives are essential for me too. I cook almost everyday and good knives make cooking much more pleasurable. 2 1/2 years will fly by very quickly. 🙂

  • Christine @ The (mostly) Simple Life May 20, 2016, 6:59 am

    In paradise I think I would want a good internet connection and I would bring my laptop and iPad. As long as I had a nice place to stay and I don’t think I’d bring much else. I’m not that attached to my stuff. As long as I have my dog and husband I’d be good to go!

    • retirebyforty May 20, 2016, 11:24 am

      I read that good internet is fairly hard to get on the Big Island. We’d have to do our research well before buying. I really like your mindset. When it comes down to it, the only thing I value most is my prized ukulele. The other stuff can be replaced.

  • Wilson May 20, 2016, 7:43 am

    Umm, now I’m firing up the smoker for brisket tomorrow. You definitely need a grill in a tropical location, and a nice blender to whip up some fresh fruit smoothies and libations while you sit in the shade tending the grill. I’d definitely use my DSLR a lot more in retirement than I do now; in fact that’d prob be my main pastime. I’d also bring my tennis rackets and maybe build myself a tennis court on my compound. Very tony I know. And I’d bring lots of books, or at least stock up at a used book store out there. A morning hike or some tennis, followed by a swim then BBQ, book and libation, sounds heavenly. I best get back to work so I can make it happen sooner rather than later.

    • retirebyforty May 20, 2016, 11:25 am

      Tennis court, nice! Keep at it and good luck. It’s nice to dream sometime. 🙂

  • David Michael May 20, 2016, 8:13 am

    When we sold our beautiful home, we sold nearly everything we had in way of stuff, leaving us with a collection of family photographs, two recumbent bicycles, and two kayaks, and one canoe. We left the family photos and important documents with kids and stored the bikes and kayaks until we completed five years of traveling the globe. Then, when we RVed for seven years full-time, we added the bikes and kayaks. It was so great to give up all the material stuff for 12 years of nearly complete freedom.

    • retirebyforty May 20, 2016, 11:26 am

      That’s great! It’s better to travel light. I’d probably leave some of our stuff at my brothers when we go globe trotting. Nearly complete freedom sounds great.

  • Justin May 20, 2016, 8:41 am

    A bunch of electronics (laptop, phone, tablet, etc) plus some sharp kitchen knives. I hate renting an airbnb apartment and having no sharp knives anywhere in the house. Cooking isn’t pleasurable if you have to bludgeon your meats and vegetables apart with a dull knife.

    And sunscreen. This white skin of mine wouldn’t last long in the tropical sun.

    Awesome dream of paradise by the way!

    • retirebyforty May 20, 2016, 11:26 am

      That’s it? You need an expensive hobby or two. 😀

  • Believe Fire May 20, 2016, 9:01 am

    I can’t even imagine picking 10 things to keep because I’m unable to think of 10 things we still have. We sold or donated the majority of our possessions before starting our around the world trip. It was so freeing to part with so much unnecessary junk. We even had a storage unit. Now all of our stuff is in the corner of a room at a family member’s house. I know there are several boxes there but it’s hard to even remember what is in them. The sad thing is, that’s the stuff we chose to keep. Must not be very important after all.

    • retirebyforty May 20, 2016, 11:27 am

      That’s awesome. You got an unfair advantage. 🙂

  • linda May 20, 2016, 9:33 am

    what is the price range for 5 acres in Big Island?

    • retirebyforty May 20, 2016, 11:34 am

      Depends on location. Anywhere from around $50k for bare land up country to $600k with a nice house on it near a town. The price range is very wide.

  • Nathan May 20, 2016, 10:52 am

    You have to take the Weber. I see many retirement BBQs in your future.

    • retirebyforty May 20, 2016, 11:35 am

      I’m grilling some Tbones today. 🙂

  • KA May 20, 2016, 12:13 pm

    re the piano. Believe me, I know how a musical instrument (think of your ukes) can have sentimental value. But really – unless she has scratched her initials in it – one Wurlitzer upright piano is like any other. It would probably be cheaper to get a used one just like it in Hawaii rather than to ship yours. In fact, the shipping will cost more than your piano’s intrinsic value. That’s the sad truth about Wurlitzer pianos.

    • retirebyforty May 20, 2016, 10:32 pm

      At least I can carry my uke. 🙂 I would buy used in Hawaii too. Shipping would cost a bundle. She said she might consider a nice keyboard.

  • Mike H. May 20, 2016, 12:15 pm

    I couldn’t leave my music gear behind either. I could probably part with one or two of my guitars, but there are three more on which I have done serious customization work with friends and family, and am very attached to.

    Other than that…maybe some artwork. Not that they’re worth anything, but there are either custom pieces which were made for me, or inheritances, or something as simple as the poster I’ve had on every one of my bedroom doors for my entire life.

    • retirebyforty May 20, 2016, 10:34 pm

      Nice, I wouldn’t part with a guitar that has been customized and set up just right. 🙂

  • KA May 20, 2016, 12:19 pm

    more about the piano: in lieu of moving it, consider putting a picture of it on the music stand of a modern electronic keyboard. Like the Giving Tree, I’m sure the piano does not want to be a burden but would like to be remembered.

  • The Jolly Ledger May 20, 2016, 12:42 pm

    Do dogs count?

    • retirebyforty May 20, 2016, 10:36 pm

      No, our cat is a part of the family and we have to bring her.

  • Smart Money MD May 20, 2016, 12:58 pm

    The Big Island sounds like a great option. I was surprised to see how many outdoor activities are available there, and it’s still not super-crowded compared to Oahu or Maui. Would be interesting how much land and space you can get with the equivalent cost of what you’re paying in Portland. I would imagine that the Big Island would still be more expensive on the housing part.

    • retirebyforty May 20, 2016, 10:38 pm

      We liked the Big Island. It’s a lot more affordable than Oahu and Maui. The price of the properties are dependent on the area. Generally, the houses seem cheaper than Portland. I think there are a lot of turn overs on the Big Island. There are a ton of listings on Zillow.

  • Millennial Moola May 20, 2016, 2:04 pm

    I’d bring my pocket knife because you could entertain yourself for hours making things. If the stock market went south, you could then go back into earning mode by selling your stuff on the side of the street.

    • retirebyforty May 20, 2016, 10:39 pm

      That’s a nice skill to have. Sounds like a good hobby to pick up.

  • The Personal Economist May 20, 2016, 2:34 pm

    Wow that sounds like a wonderful place! How about an island in the South Pacific? You and your wife could play the uke and the piano together!

    • retirebyforty May 20, 2016, 10:43 pm

      I’ve to Rarotonga and it was great. We’d have to visit a few locations to see. I would feel most comfortable in Hawaii, but who knows.

  • Mr. Tako @ Mr. Tako Escapes May 21, 2016, 9:44 pm

    Great list Joe, and great retirement dream. Are you guys really serious about moving to Hawaii? Guam might be an interesting option for you guys too!

    Like you, my list would mostly have tools. Kitchen tools, woodworking tools, electronics tools, and computing tools. Would still want to bring old photographs I guess.

  • Olga King May 22, 2016, 5:53 am

    My paradise spot is different than yours, but I do have a list. My knitting needles and yarn collection. A number of books. 6 photo-albums (from before-internet, and I love flipping through pages more than browsing computer screen). Piano (so my husband would play every night for me). Running shoes – to run mountain trails out the door. Backpack – to explore backcountry of where I will live. Come to think about, this is it…:)

  • Financial Slacker May 22, 2016, 7:41 am

    I love the idea. If I can figure out a “retirement” that allows me to spend time on the beach and swimming in the ocean, I would be all over it.

    Cutting possessions would be a challenge. I do like how you distinguish between “heirloom” vs “functional” as that tends to be difficult for me. Ms. Financial Slacker is much better about throwing stuff away, so she would need to be in charge (as usual).

    Financial Slacker

  • Dividend Diplomats May 22, 2016, 9:11 am


    Fun post! Don’t forget… your dividend portfolio! haha. Loving it!


    • Mike May 22, 2016, 4:55 pm

      That’s the beautiful thing about a dividend portfolio (travels globally and takes no space in your bags!) . I take it everywhere I go.

  • christy May 23, 2016, 11:58 am

    We scaled back when we moved to the islands 3 yrs ago. My suggestion is go thru your house and assess your possessions. Would you shed a tear they burned up in a house fire?..then they can be packed ..otherwise sell at garage sale,craigslist and eBay. Cars(completely empty) are approx $1,000 to ship over. a small crate(about the size of a mini van) is approx $3,000 to ship. For a family of 6..we sold everything except for irreplaceables. took only our suitcases, 2 crates and 2 cars. It cost about 20k to move our family when you include 1 month rental housing and eating out.
    With that said, it is so worth it. we are living our dream. Love the ocean and all water activities, the laid back life,the weather, no mosquitos, the rich culture, beauty of the island. etc. Costco prices are similar to mainland.you can fish, gasoline is cheap($1.50/gal after Safeway points) most weekend activities are free, clothing budget near zero(shorts, t’s and flip flops year round) there are state taxes except but property tax pretty cheap, however;
    housing, and utilities are expensive..our electricity was$500/month, we put on solar, now its $18/month.
    Water..$300/mo for us..we are always trying to bring this one down..so ask how your property will access water. Also, check out Molokai as well as BigIsland…cheapest realestate around, raw unspoiled beauty..and a daily ferry to Maui(so your not as isolated as you think) WIFi even on the most remote parts of island.

    • retirebyforty May 23, 2016, 10:07 pm

      Thank you for the details. If there is a fire, I’d probably grab the old photos, my uke, and kid. That’s the most valuable things to me. We might be able to fit my stuff into one crate. I don’t have a ton of stuff. Not sure about the car, though.
      Thanks for the tip about Molokai. I will have to visit it soon.

  • Jonathan May 24, 2016, 3:03 pm

    I love dreaming about a move to the Big Island. What area are you considering?

    • retirebyforty May 25, 2016, 6:58 am

      I was thinking a little south of Hilo. The land seems affordable, but the infrastructure may not be there quite yet – internet.. We will need to take an extended visit. Maybe rent for a month or so.

  • Linda June 15, 2016, 5:43 am

    is Volcano a concern for you in Big Island?
    there’re 2 of the world’s most dangerous volcanoes are in Big Island.
    Please tell me you did research on this.

    • retirebyforty June 15, 2016, 10:00 am

      The main concern I have is the Vog. I have seasonal allergy so I might not react well to it. It seems the volcanoes are not very active and there are plenty of warnings. I don’t think anyone died from explosion for a long time. I see a few tourist fatalities.

  • Greg Pasden October 11, 2016, 12:44 am

    WE DID IT! We Retired Early – We Sold Everything and Moved to a Tropical Island.
    We moved to a Tropical Island and learned that Island Life is Better than anything we could have imagined.
    We have an awesome ocean view home about 300 meters from the beach, we grow lots of our own fruit and vegetables, plus we have several animals for fresh eggs & meat. We can get plenty of fresh fish from the local fishermen. And we have more close friends here than than we’ve ever had anywhere on the planet.
    We took a practical approach and made it happen. If you want to see some pictures of what we are doing and what we have done, then visit us: http://www.IslandLifeIsBetter.com
    Island Life Is Better
    Greg & Rose Pasden

Leave a Comment