3 things I learned in Hawaii


While I'm away in China, I'll be taking a unintentional hiatus from blogging, social media and work thanks to China's censorship laws. During my time away you'll be hearing from some of my good friends in the blogging world. Welcoming Hazal, from The Gentle Life.

I’m not a tropical island, “oh my god how gorgeous is this 42 degree day” kind of girl, or a sunbake for three hours and then go shopping for four hours kind of girl either – so basically I thought I was going to hate Hawaii.

I booked the holiday very late on a work night, on a whim and decided it was a spontaneous and fun move, kind of like ordering those $300 shoes from net.a.porter except it was half way around the world, required a visa and half my annual leave. And it’s true, there were days on my trip that I prayed for a portable air conditioner and craved tim tams, but for the most part I fell in love with Hawaii because of the things I learned during my short trip there.

Let me share them with you!


The Aloha Spirit

I had heard people mention this prior to my trip and then commence to make ‘hang loose’ signs with their hands to express the ‘Aloha Spirit’. I thought that Tourism Hawaii’s marketing team should get a raise – until I met a man who epitomised the phrase and I scolded myself for my cynicism.

During our exploring, we met a 72-year-old former Japanese citizen, now full time Hawaiian taxi driver who had the language of a sailor and the skin of a young Brad Pitt. He was amazing – so expressive and so… chill. Stuck in peak hour traffic, I asked him whether he ever got frustrated with Waikiki’s stilted traffic. He just turned around to me, waved his arms around and said (in an accent reminiscent of Owen Wilson’s), “nah man, we’re going to get there eventually, what’s the point in getting worried? It’s no problem. We get there when we get there; I have the best job in the world. It’s all about the aloha spirit”.

He told us a lot about his story; he exuded strength, grace and a childish playfulness that I loved. I think about him often and hope that when I get older, I’m something like that guy.


The Mountain

Halfway through our journey, we packed our bags from our gorgeous Waikiki apartment and headed to Kauai, the most underdeveloped island of Hawaii. We stayed in a plantation turned hotel that was home to lizards on the ceiling, chickens in the yard and mosquitoes everywhere. Instantly, I craved the comfort and familiarity of our apartment – something was irking me and I didn’t figure out what it was until much later.

The next morning, I opened our room’s door and truly appreciated the gorgeous mountain that the plantation looked on to, and realised what it was that was making me feel so uncomfortable. It was so quiet. No neighbours calling after their pets or phone’s ringing, no slamming of car doors or the rattle of trucks going by. Absolutely nothing. And I liked it.

The Local

On a particularly hot day in which I was planning on avoiding the beach all together and seek comfort from the searing heat by shopping for things I definitely didn’t have enough room for in my luggage, I decided to bypass the shops and sit on the beach for a moment.

There I saw a man who seemed to me, like the most content person I’ve ever seen on beach, potentially ever. Singing to himself in a language I didn’t understand (I assumed Spanish?), playing with his adorable dog and generally looking satisfied and happy with life. Obviously, I had to sit near this interesting character and get the low down – why was he so happy? What’s his secret? We got chatting and later it was revealed to me that he was actually having a pretty crappy time of it; someone who I was drawn to simply due to the perception that he was having a jolly good time of it.

A quote comes to mind, “keep your face always toward the sunshine – and shadows will fall behind you”, because in that moment – why not embrace the beauty of it all?


End note:

The thing I love most about travelling are the experiences we have that can change our perceptions or simply provide some food for thought. No matter the destination, our journeys will always be different. Hawaii for you might be entirely different than Hawaii for me, so no matter where your travelling takes you, happy adventuring, friends.

See more of Hazal over on her blog The Gentle Life

What has travel changed your perspective on?