Spending time in Hawaii is a bit different than spending time in Los Angeles (and I’m not just saying this because I was on vacation). Los Angeles – the land of the superficial – is often consumed by selfies, labels, and smartphones. On Hawaii, there is no room to think of such things. Time slows down in such a way that you are able to notice things you usually take for granted. The locals are friendlier. You just feel happy and carefree.
It’s all true – movies, pictures, and everything you’ve heard about Hawaii are all true – it’s a state with plenty of aloha. And by the end of our stay, there were many lessons to be learned:
1. We often let life get the best of us and shuffle through our days…. moving through commutes on autopilot, attending one mindless meeting after another, and driving from errand to errand, lost in the haze of our worries (or at least I do). Remember to stop and breathe. Take time to stop by the side of the road and watch the sunset, or linger just a little longer at dinner. You don’t have to rush through life or you may miss the little bits of beauty in each day.
2. The same goes for driving. In a state where the highway posted speed limit is 40 mph, there is no hurry to get to places. In Hawaii, there is no weaving in and out of lanes, tailgating, or cutting off drivers just to get one spot ahead. Be kind to your fellow drivers and respect each other. In fact, we witnessed a driver stop his car in the middle of the road to help a motorist who slipped in the rain.. an act of kindness seldom seen in LA.
3. There is no way my wavy hair will ever look good in humidity. I gave up after a day. Note to self: bobby pins are my friend next time.
4. Yes, Hawaii is beautiful and around every corner is a photo op. So yes, take your pictures, but not so much that it takes away the joy of simply being there and the experience of sharing it with that special person. I went a little picture-taking crazy…and also drove D crazy. The last evening, I finally learned to relax and just simply enjoy the sunset without snapping one single pic.
5. Design your own experience. Before my trip, lots of people told me that attending a luau is a must-do activity. We decided not to do it (somehow, being crammed in with a horde of tourists and being fed mass produced food did not sound like fun) in favor of finding other local eats instead.
6. Speaking of… It’s OK to throw your diet out the window. A main joy of traveling is being able to eat authentic local food of the culture. And yes, the local food on Oahu is amazing and definitely diet-cheating worthy.
7. That said…. one week without any vegetables is far too long. I don’t recommend doing it again.
8. Budget wisely and don’t be too cheap. The last thing you want is to fly away and regret not doing that one activity or eat at that one restaurant. Most of us are not made of money, but with proper budgeting and prioritizing, it is possible to do the things that you really want. Could you give up a couple of fancy meals in order to go zip-lining or shark diving? Probably. I wanted to do the wild dolphin cruise/swim so badly, but opted out of it as it was pricey and I wasn’t sure if I would even see dolphins. In the end, if I regret anything about my trip, it would be that I didn’t get to swim with wild dolphins.
It’s no big deal though. I already know that this will not be our last trip to Hawaii and we’ll be back someday.
Wild dolphins will just have to wait.