Escaping the 9 to 5 with Kahi Pacarro

organisations that clean up beaches with Kahi Pacarro

I’ve just spent a month in Honolulu, where I stayed in a beautiful Airbnb with local couple Louise and Kahi. Louise is an air hostess with Hawaii Airlines, also supporting her husband Kahi with his work at non-profit organisation Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii. When they’re not working, like most people around here, they are likely to be found out on the water, catching a wave.

You might think you’ve entered some kind of cult when you meet this group of people, as they are branded head to toe in Sustainable Coastlines caps and t-shirts and most of all they are recognisable as they each carry a reusable bottle. This is one of their most simple messages about how you can help to reduce waste: stop buying single-use plastic bottles, which inevitably end up as trash on the beaches and in the ocean, and instead get yourself a reusable bottle. So easy to do and yet the impact will be huge if we all make this little behavioural change.

I was interested to hear how Kahi first got involved with this project and learned that he had originally worked in real estate. The change for him started when he quit his job to travel the world with Louise, and on their travels he discovered the impact that human beings are having on our environment.

Today, he lives with his wife in a great house in Kaimuki, making a living doing something he’s passionate about, having the opportunity to travel to the most beautiful places in the world, and making a difference while he’s at it. The good news is that he says it’s easier than you might think! Watch the full video below, or read on to get Kahi’s take on his own transition – and how can you do it too…


Organisations that clean up beaches

Kahi Pacarro

Kahi Pacarro used to help run a real estate development company, leaving his job in 2008 to travel the world with his girlfriend. Today he’s the Executive Director of Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii, a non-profit organisation that runs beach clean-ups as well as various educational programmes and public awareness campaigns to help to reduce waste and keep Hawaii’s beaches clean.

1) At what moment did you decide it was time for a change?

The main change was realising that I could make a living out of this. When people think of non-profits, you think: How do they survive? How do they make it work? But if you work hard enough, make the right connections, you can figure out how to sustain the organisation. So the point where I really said, “Okay, I’m going to make this my career,” was the point when I realised that it was sustainable.

You really take a huge sacrifice in the amount of money that you make versus working in the corporate world but the return on your investment of time is so worth it. Getting to travel around the world, getting to see that you’re making a difference, actually see tangible differences from the services or programmes that you provide on the people or the environment, is well worth it.

2) What was the biggest challenge you faced in making the change?

Without being paid to do this, it’s not sustainable. The trick is really showing how much worth your time is to the funders so that they understand that paying someone to run the organisation is probably one of the most important investments that they can make into the non-profit organisation.

Kahi Pacarro surfing
Kahi comes into close contact with the ocean as he surfs a gorgeous wave

Money is the thing that makes it sustainable but it’s the passion that really drives the organisation. Surfing remains a common theme: we spend so much time in the ocean; we want to see it clean. You look at surfing and it’s one of the only sports where you’re so into your playing field. You could just stare at it for hours, you can just swim in it, you don’t have to be surfing; it brings you so much joy just to be out in the ocean. Surfing is really the driving force of Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii, and also of Sustainable Coastlines New Zealand.

3) Where did you get the support you needed to make it happen?

The original support really came from having savings from my previous career. After that, we looked at other ways we could raise money, personally. Airbnb has actually been a really big help and continues to be a big help. Also Louise was working and I was doing consulting jobs, using my past expertise.

At that point it was about starting to write grants – and then the money started coming in when people believed in what we were doing. It’s a pretty easy sell: take a bunch of people out to a coastline and make community service fun! It wasn’t too much of a sacrifice, because the money came in really quickly.

I think the real key is relationships with other people, being able to sit across from the table from somebody and listen to what they have to say. Take away egos and create a friendship before you get the business going. I think a lot of our success has been in having good partnerships and being nice to people. That’s one of the easiest things to do: just smile more and be nice!

And realise that you’re going to get a lot of rejections but in those rejections you end up growing, learning why you got rejected, and you can improve on that the next time. Especially with a non-profit organisation, the first year when you write grants you usually get rejected, every single time. Then the next year you might get it, or the next year. It’s persistence; they want to see that you’re a tried-and-true organisation that doesn’t give up.

4) What’s the best part of your lifestyle today?

The best part of my life is having a place like this, getting to spend as much time as I can with my wife and soon-to-be little girl.

Sustainable Coastlines clean-up
The first time Kahi ran a beach clean-up in 2011, he and his friends each pitched in 50 dollars; 300 people turned up and many local companies supported the cause. Today, thousands of people have participated in these clean-ups.

Other than that, it’s getting to travel the world and surf. Going on surf or snowboard trips – you can turn it into a way to spread the message, turn it into a work surf trip. I just got back from the Maldives doing that! Figuring out how you can leverage your new knowledge to educate people abroad to effect change on a larger scale. People want to hear these messages, all around the world. If you can identify who those people are and leverage their network, a lot of times you can get these trips subsidised or paid for in their entirety.

5) What one piece of advice would you give to someone who is considering making a big career or lifestyle change?

The best thing to do, especially if it’s something like travelling, is just to go and buy your ticket. We’re only on this earth once, we might as well make the most of it and not get caught up in the minutia of constantly worrying about our bills. Taking that leap of faith and just watching everything fall into place – or not, and learning from those mistakes so that you don’t do it again. For me, it’s just buying the ticket to go. Once that’s happened, you’ll find a way to make it work.

Don’t ever plan anything! Plans never work out, they should be called “guides”. The best plan is to not have a plan. Especially with beach cleaning, with 1,000 people on a beach, nothing ever goes as planned!

Also some of the sayings that I like to live by: “A closed mouth doesn’t get fed.” Speak up, let people know what your intentions are, let them know what you want – because if they don’t know, they can’t help you. So that’s just being proactive, getting out there to let people know what you’re about.

The other one is, “It’s easier to beg for forgiveness than to ask for permission.” Sometimes just go and do it! But you have to understand the heavy risks involved with doing that. I wouldn’t say put yourself in danger any time – but there are certain cases where getting caught up in red bureaucratic tape will just hold you back and it’s better to just go for it. Usually everything is fine.

So just go for it. Buy the ticket. Find a lifestyle that allows you to make less but travel more, or make less and spend more time with your family. You’re only here once – spend it here doing stuff you like, versus making money for someone else.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

You might also be interested in these articles

“Everything you’ve ever
wanted is one step outside
your comfort zone.”

Book a free consultation

Get on the phone with Anna to discuss your unique goals and situation to determine the best programme for you, so you can start taking action towards creating the business and lifestyle you desire.

Get a free assessment of your business

Download this scorecard to review where you are on each of the 5 pillars of building a life outside of the 9 to 5, and get clear action steps to help you fill the gaps.

We will use and protect your data in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

Looking to grow your expert business?

Download this FREE Business Assessment to identify the gaps that are preventing your growth so that you can take actionable steps towards building a more successful and sustainable business.

We will use and protect your data in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

Download the brochure

Find out more about our flagship mentoring programme for experienced professionals who want to translate their skills and experience into a profitable business that brings them more freedom, flexibility, and fulfilment.

We will use and protect your data in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

Privacy Policy

This privacy policy sets out how One Step Outside uses and protects any information that you give One Step Outside when you use this website (

One Step Outside is committed to ensuring that your privacy is protected. Should we ask you to provide certain information by which you can be identified when using this website, then you can be assured that it will only be used in accordance with this privacy statement.

One Step Outside may change this policy from time to time by updating this page. You should check this page from time to time to ensure that you are happy with any changes.

What information we collect and why

We only ever collect the information that we need in order to serve you.

Generally, this just means collecting your first name and email address that you enter, for example, when you request a resource, register for a webinar, or submit a message via a contact form.

If you are a paying customer, we also collect your billing information including your last name and your postal address.


When visitors leave comments on the site we collect the data shown in the comments form, and also the visitor’s IP address and browser user agent string to help spam detection.

An anonymised string created from your email address (also called a hash) may be provided to the Gravatar service to see if you are using it. The Gravatar service privacy policy is available here: After approval of your comment, your profile picture is visible to the public in the context of your comment.

Contact forms

We use Gravity Forms to allow you to contact us via the website. We will use the information you submit for the sole purpose of that specific form and will explicitly ask you to provide your consent to allow us to do so.

Embedded content from other websites

Articles on this site may include embedded content (e.g. videos, images, articles, etc.). Embedded content from other websites behaves in the exact same way as if the visitor has visited the other website.

These websites may collect data about you, use cookies, embed additional third-party tracking, and monitor your interaction with that embedded content, including tracking your interaction with the embedded content if you have an account and are logged in to that website.

Advertising and Analytics


We use Google Analytics to track and optimise performance on this site as well as embedding video content from YouTube, and this means that your web browser automatically sends certain information to Google. This includes the URL of the page that you’re visiting and your IP address. Google may also set cookies on your browser or read cookies that are already there. Apps that use Google advertising services also share information with Google, such as the name of the app and a unique identifier for advertising.

Google uses the information shared by sites and apps to deliver our services, maintain and improve them, develop new services, measure the effectiveness of advertising, protect against fraud and abuse and personalise content and ads that you see on Google and on our partners’ sites and apps. See their Privacy Policy to learn more about how they process data for each of these purposes, and their Advertising page for more about Google ads, how your information is used in the context of advertising and how long Google stores this information.


We use the conversion tracking and custom audiences via the Facebook pixel on our website. This allows user behaviour to be tracked after they have been redirected to our website by clicking on a Facebook ad and enables us to measure the effectiveness of our Facebook ads. The data collected in this way is anonymous to us, i.e. we do not see the personal data of individual users. However, this data is stored and processed by Facebook, who may link this information to your Facebook account and also use it for its own promotional purposes, in accordance with Facebook’s Data Usage Policy

You can allow Facebook and its partners to place ads on and off Facebook. A cookie may also be stored on your computer for these purposes. You can revoke your permission directly on Facebook here: For more guidance on opting out you can also consult

Who we share your data with

We use a number of third parties to provide us with services which are necessary to run our business or to assist us with running our business and who process your information for us on our behalf. These include a hosting and email provider (Siteground), mailing list provider (GetResponse), and a payment provider (Stripe).

Your information will be shared with these service providers only where necessary to enable us to run our business.

How long we maintain your data

If you leave a comment, the comment and its metadata are retained indefinitely. This is so we can recognise and approve any follow-up comments automatically instead of holding them in a moderation queue.

For users that register on our website, we also store the personal information they provide in their user profile. All users can see, edit, or delete their personal information at any time (except they cannot change their username). Website administrators can also see and edit that information.

The main reason for collecting this information is to be able to send you resources, updates and, sometimes, information and products and services, as well as for internal record keeping.

The rights you have over your data

If you have an account on this site, or have left comments, you can request to receive an exported file of the personal data we hold about you, including any data you have provided to us. You can also request that we erase any personal data we hold about you. This does not include any data we are obliged to keep for administrative, legal, or security purposes.

How we protect your data

We are committed to ensuring that your information is secure.

Where we have given you (or where you have chosen) a password that lets you access certain parts of our site, you are responsible for keeping this password confidential and we ask you not to share a password with anyone.

Unfortunately, the transmission of information via the internet is not completely secure. Although we will do our best to protect your personal data, we cannot guarantee the security of your data transmitted to our site; any transmission is at your own risk. Once we have received your information, we will use strict procedures and security features to try to prevent unauthorised access.

Links to other websites

Our website contains links to other websites. This privacy policy only applies to this website so once you have used these links to leave our site, you should note that we do not have any control over that other website. You should exercise caution and look at the privacy statement applicable to the website in question.

Changes to our privacy policy

We keep our privacy policy under regular review. Initially created on 18th November 2016, it was last updated on 23rd May 2018 to be compliant with GDPR.

Contact information

If you have any questions or concerns related to your privacy, you can get in touch here >>