Your experience is similar to mine, and I'd venture to say the common one. Like Swanky asserts earlier in this thread, a lot of the dissonance is created by folks who presume a certain entitlement to turn their hobby into a career, whether deserved or no. Like most of life's endeavors, we usually take away approximately what we bring to any given thing, and there are always more takers than givers. Not to sound clichéd, but I think Tiki at its purest is a state of mind; a direction to move in more than a destination to arrive at.
I exchanged a massive ceramics collection, along with a house full of the requisite bamboo, matting, carved trim and idols, three bars & a Witco living room suite for a mid-century Florida condo surrounded by water. I retain a few reminders of my Tikiphile days, but they reside within an overall man cave/library aesthetic. As I'm now a single retiree with everything I own paid for, there's no more intrinsic need for escapism, other than from annoying people and ill health.
Mahalo arises from the simple life: right thinking, right motivation and right action, and a few friends of like mindset. I can drive five miles down the road to enjoy a nearby Tiki bar/Chinese restaurant, and converse & reminisce about the joy I discovered in my previous encounters, haunts & collection, knowing that all that stuff is out there providing others the same enjoyment it once gave to me.
[ Edited by WhiteDevilPress on 2023-01-22 12:35:05 ]