Hawaii… as the word of this land rolls off your tongue, vivid images starts to form in your mind. You picture yourself on a secluded beach, drifting away with the sound of the ocean waves. So gentle, but yet so powerful. Finding your self philosophize about life, about love, about finding your own happiness, while staring at the ocean into the crystal clear water. At this moment you feel completely at peace and there is no other places in the world you want to be than right here, right now. You just want to freeze time and stay forever.
Hawaii does something to us, everyone who has been there knows it, and everyone who haven’t been have heard about it. Hawaii will change you, or something in you. Inspired by the Aloha spirit you start living life more relaxed, more easy going, more adaptive to new environments, you turn strangers into friends more easily, throwing shaka´s around and just enjoy life as it comes. The truth is you change to a better version of yourself, just because of the positive surroundings, the power of the Aloha and the people, every local you meet turns into Ohana (Family).
Somehow these changes make you feel different when you return to where you originally came from. You feel out of place somehow when you´re not in Hawaii, and you miss it so much – words can´t even describe the feeling. You tried to cope by traveling to new places, but all you do is comparing these places to the Hawaiian Islands. Then you realized: you have found your paradise, you have found home. Home is where your heart is.
Perhaps that´s why I always felt like a better version of myself when I´m on the island, and that´s why I keep returning.
Thanks to an amazing flight deal, I went back to Hawaii just recently in April, 2016.
Before that, I lived in Hawaii for two years, during studies to a Master degree (2012 – graduated 2014) and since then my heart has been lost in this paradise.
Hawaii is located in the middle of the Pacific ocean, so to travel here I have to cross half the globe, travel time up to 24 hours, and yet, it is still worth it. I discovered that Hawaii was the place to meet people from all over the world. Nicknamed the Aloha State, Hawaii is the 50th State of the United States of America. Yet, you might question it as your plane touches down and you step out into the airport. Caucasians are a minority here. You would probably think you´re in Asia. Japanese and Filipinos are in much greater numbers. But there are also people from all over the globe living here. I became friends with people from the US mainland, Norway, Sweden, Austria, Germany, Japan, Korea, Thailand, China, Indonesia, Philippines, Fiji, Samoa and Native Hawaiians. The Islands of Hawaii are truly a melting pot of cultures. Also, thanks to Hawaii Pacific University I got to expand my academic knowledge and cultural diversity in a way I could not imagine. After graduating I still miss being a student at HPU.
Hawaii is an amazing place to live for so many reasons
1. An endless bucket list: There are eight main Hawaiian islands, but only six of them you are allow to visit as a tourist: Oahu, Big Island, Maui, Kauai, Lanai and Molokai. I lived on Oahu, I have been on the Big Island once, Maui twice, Kauai four times, and I have on purpose saved Lanai and Molokai as an excuse to return (The bucket list in Hawaii is never ending because all the Islands are different in their own way). And also, the other two islands: Ni’ihau “the forbidden Island” (here you need a permittion or invitation from the local people to visit because its privately owned) and Kaho’olawe “the target island” (your only way to get here is through volunteer work opportunities due to a large-scale restoration work, after Kahoolawe was used as training ground and bombing range for the U.S. military after World War II. If you´re interested you can read more about the volunteer work here).
2. Great weather all year around: Hawaii is truly blessed with great, beautiful weather. It is never too hot nor too cold. And its almost constant trade winds, which keep fresh air blowing in across the island.
3. The Hawaiian Islands are surrounded by ocean as far as the eyes can see: The clear blue water is unlike anything I’ve seen anywhere. You can swim, snorkel or dive in the free ocean with fishes of all colors, turtles, seals, wild dolphins or even whales (the humpback whales visit Hawaiian waters each year from November to May with the peak of the season being from January to March).
4. Majestic nature and Jurassic mountains: Hawaii is definitely a place for nature lovers, this majestic nature makes you want to spend more time outdoors than anywhere else. Featured in a lot of movies; these amazing mountains, waterfalls and the lush jungles with all shades of green. My absolutely favourites movies are the Jurassic Park (1993 + 2015), Aloha (2015), Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008), 51 First Dates (2004), Pearl Harbor (2001) and Six Days Seven Nights (1998).
5. Awesome things to do for an adventurous soul: Hiking, climbing, surfing, windsurfing, parasailing, paragliding, skydiving, kayaking, snorkeling, diving, bodyboarding etc. you name it!
6. There is always a mountain to climb: I believe there is over twelve mountain ridge hikes on Oahu alone. And on rainy days, there is always a waterfall to chase. Most of the days there is sunny beach bum day. Check out the Instagram tag #luckywelivehawaii and you will know what I´m talking about. You´ll never get bored!
7. Stunning Sunrises, Sunsets and Rainbows: There´s no other places I have catch so many stunning sunrises and brilliant sunsets than in Hawaii. Getting up 4am to chase a sunrise on top of a hill, or chasing a sunset at a beach around 7pm. East side, Lanikai, is definitely the best spot for sunrise on top of the Pillbox Hike, and Sunsets, must be on the Westside of Oahu. Rainbows you can see almost every day due to small rain showers in certain valleys, which makes everything so green, fresh and tropical.
8. Secluded secret beach: Yes, they still exist, but maybe not on Oahu. Oahu, has been more crowded this past few years, and what used to be “secret beach” and “secret spots” are not secret anymore, thanks to many more blogs about these places. I won´t blog about it, I´m just telling you that there is still hope for finding a secret secluded beach, so its up to you to discover it yourself.
9. Besides all this awesome outdoors adventures, Oahu also offers a big city feeling and shopping activities: Including Kalakaua Avenue Shopping in Waikiki, Ala Moana Mall Center, Ward Village Shops, Waikele Premium Outlets, Farmers Market etc. Experience luxury high rises, roof top bars, restaurants and bars right on the beach. Go sightseeing or visit museums and historical attractions such as Pearl Harbor.
10. Last but not least, Hawaii offers cultural diversity: The people, the food, the cultures, the way of life, the whole atmosphere and the Aloha spirit is different from anything you have ever experienced.
Thanks to Hawaii and its life-changing effect, it has made me to the person I am today. Inspired by the Aloha, I keep it with me everywhere I go. I can´t wait for the next great deal, to return to the Islands again, sip on another Mai Tai and catch another stunning sunset.
Toast for this Aloha Friday! Mahalo (Thank you) for reading.
Feel free to send us a message if you have any questions about Hawaii
By: Bella Lu