My Journey to Hawaii- preparing to move onto the island

Moving to Hawaii - Photographer

photo by Ashley Simmons

It’s been a few months since our announcement that my husband and I will be moving to the island of Oahu in Hawaii!  Since then I’ve had a lot of friends ask me if I’ve moved yet because no one knows where I currently am.  Trust me, the moment I step foot on Hawaii (for the first time ever!) EVERYONE will know IMMEDIATELY because I will explode my social media with excitement.  Never fear.

In the mean time I’ve been splitting my time between Jacksonville,NC for my husband’s helicopter training and Nashville.

Our Arrival Date

We still don’t have a final move date because military, however it’s looking like we will be there around June 1st!  It’s been a waiting game for the date to arrive, but we’ve kept busy with some special challenges with moving onto an island.  I’m not even going to mention housing here, because it’s all military specific for us.

arrow diver

Shipping Our Cars

So… we can’t drive our cars to our new home obviously, bummer.  We will be shipping our cars over from a shipping point, and then it usually takes a few weeks to arrive.  Actually we may only be shipping one car and may sell the other. Then we’ll have to buy another one when we get there since my car isn’t that great anyway.  It costs $1000-2000 to ship a second car, the military will pay for one to be shipped over.  We’ve never sold a car before and I still need to get to out of town weddings right before our move!  So this starts the complexities!

The Hawaii Pet Quarantine


“I’ll never let go Jack, I mean Dragon”

Hawaii is rabies free!  Yay Hawaii!  However now it’s a big pain to get your pets there, but my cats are worth it.  If your pet arrives to the island without the proper tests and paperwork, they will be quarantined (in a kennel) for 120 days.  This is completely unacceptable as a cat mom so I have been vigilant about getting my kitties ready!

Bloodwork is required to be taken 4 months before arrival and sent to a lab, as well as 2 rabies vaccinations within a certain time frame and a certificate of health 10 days before arriving on the island.  Then you have to arrive at the Hawaii airport by 3:30pm otherwise the office will close and your pets have to stay in the kennel overnight!  Also the only airline that will let you take pets in the cabin and fly into Hawaii (as I understand) is Alaska airlines, but we aren’t sure if we can request this yet.



Restarting a Business

This is the most daunting task of all for me.  I’ve grown my business in Nashville and the South for years, and now I’m starting my client base completely over. Hawaii is a destination wedding location with a need for experienced wedding photographers, so I couldn’t be more thrilled!  I’m looking forward to getting started fast and creating beautiful images of Hawaii to share with new followers, as well as working hard behind the scenes to advertise and network.

There are complex and unique business/insurance rules for being self employed on Hawaii, as well as many locations requiring permits so I have my work cut out for me in this area too.  However at this point in my career I have a good idea where to start and I’m READY to take stunning island photos!  So I’ll have it all taken care of in no time!

Rae Marshall - Hawaii Wedding Photographer

photo by Seth Farmer

Learning how to live on the Island

There is a still a lot to learn, but I do know one thing: Hawaii is expensive. Moving to Oahu can sound like a dream, but in reality it would be a hard place to live if we weren’t being brought there by the military.

We are already learning which stores to shop at, how many bugs there are going to be (NO), and that I probably need to get a mermaid tail as a photography accessory!  *heart eyes*

I am honestly in awe that my life is about to change so dramatically.  I want to learn as much as I can about Hawaii to respect and honor the culture and enrich my time there.  I know that when I look back this will be one of the most memorable times in my life, so I want to absorb everything I can.  We will be here for an estimated 4 years (omg!) and I hope to look back on this blog post remembering how little I knew when I was heading out.

See you in Hawaii in June!


Oahu wedding and portrait photographer