I’ve learned that sometimes you don’t know the specialness of a place until you’ve left, when you are in it moments can consume you and you are just trying to take in all the beauty. That is how I felt about Hawaii, a place that I have always wanted to visit, that has been a dream of mine to explore but the enormity of seeing it in real life took over and only now do I really feel the specialness of it.
Hawaii is what you expect it to be, exactly as you expect it to be. Its beautiful, and not just on the beaches or on the side of a mountain, but beautiful the second you step out of the airport, on every drive, around every bend. In Oahu there are surfers everywhere, mai tais are the speciality cocktail, men are in Hawaiian shirts and during the holidays you will see a santa with a surfboard in some capacity. It is perfectly expectant in the best way! What I didn’t expect was to feel the slowness of the place. To feel this sense of magic in the quiet moments, to have the time to appreciate and sit in awe of the landscape, the flower gardens, the bluest oceans and the greenest trees.
There were many moments of being “off the grid” which not only meant I was not connected to wifi or the rest of the world but also solar power, rainwater systems, showering outside amongst the jungle, no blow dryer for my jungle hair! There was a lot of time to think and contemplate my surroundings, a blessing and a lesson. A lesson in how much I rely on my morning rituals, on how being out of your element can really teach you new things about yourself and for me it was very inspiring. Inspiring in the sense that I want to learn how to really live off grid, I want to be ok not always being connected and how I really want to learn how to cook beautiful vegan meals.
This is less of a where to stay guide (in truth I do not remember the name of any place we went to) and more of a reflection on my time in a place I have always known I needed to see. It was shockingly beautiful, we went to this really cool dive bar the first night decked out in christmas everything, I finally learned how to say acai bowls, I tried surfing in Waikiki, Maui was slow and peaceful and so many people cherished the land and worked with the land, I saw the most incredible sunset on the beach and I stepped in dog poo the moment we got there, and the drive to Hana is the best thing ever and my favourite day...only on the road to Hana. And I hiked a crater in Haleakala National Park, and experienced hikers double my age were passing me on the trail, it was harder than it looked and much colder than expected but one of the coolest things we did on our trip. The specialness of it all was really the person I got to experience everything with, and the people that I spent time with and shared their home with us, that is how I will remember Hawaii.