I found paradise! Hawaii is so much more than just a tropical island with picture-perfect scenery, Hawaii is an idyllic lifestyle too.
The aloha spirit is very real in Hawaii. It’s about positivity and love and community. If you look up “aloha” in the Hawaiian dictionary, all the warm and fuzzy words in the English language pop up: love, affection, compassion, mercy, sympathy, pity, kindness, sentiment, grace, charity.
Aloha is most commonly used as a greeting or parting phrase, like, hello and farewell. It’s the most often repeated word in Hawaii…. It sounds like a promise, an affirmation or mantra, a constant reminder to live life with generous doses of love. People swim and surf with aloha, they cook with aloha, they ring you up at the grocery store with aloha…..aloha is an infusion of good vibes into every aspect of life in Hawaii. Pretty sweet, huh?
What else makes Hawaii paradise?…. you don’t need clothes! The weather is perfect in Hawaii, so perfect that a bikini can, and often does, replace not only a bra, but your whole outfit!
There’s something undeniably beautiful and honest about living your life without clothes. I really believe that when we are able to strip all those outer layers off…… exposing our skin and revealing our bodies, it actually facilitates an openness and an acceptance throughout the community. We see each other for exactly who we are, just people, humans of all shapes and sizes and shades of skin, under the same sun, sharing the same vulnerabilities.
Being comfortable in our own skin is a battle most women if not most, everyone, struggles with and deserves to overcome. And who doesn’t feel beautiful, half-naked in a tropical paradise? You are! We all are! It’s beautiful!
The smell of plumeria in my nose, random geckos in the kitchen, perfect weather, crystal blue water, fresh fruit dropping from trees, jungle kitties…Hawaii is paradise!
We spent two and half weeks on the Big Island, and it really is big. Our short stay was well spent and I’d say we were pretty spoiled! The first week we spent on the Hilo side, with my childhood friend, Robin. I hadn’t seen her like twenty years!! And she welcomed us with all the enthusiasm anyone could ask for. She showed us around, gave us a beautiful room with a deck in her jungle oasis, fed us and encouraged us to stay for as long as we’d like. Robin lives the aloha spirit and graciously shared her world with us.
We swam in waterfalls, swam in the ocean, swam at the Pahoa community aquatic center with her mom (a FREE outdoor public swimming pool!), shopped at the Hilo Farmer’s Market, went to gym classes…so many normal and exciting things! I loved Hilo. It rained and it was gloriously warm and sunny. I think when I move to Hawaii…. it will be here. Hilo has a local vibe, it’s more rural and off the beaten touristy path compared to the Kona side of the island. And it felt like home. Someday it will be.
Another one of my favorite places on the Big Island was the south point. The southernmost point of the USA! People drive out here to jump off the cliffs and it was tempting, but we didn’t do it. I chickened out I guess. No regrets though, because, guess what, I’m totally going back to Hawaii.
Once we got back to the Kona side we chose a really cute Air BnB on a farm in Captain Cook to stay a few days. The snorkeling here is the best and we swam with dolphins, sea turtles and a zillion colorful fishes. I only almost died once when we swam out off a rocky shore to see the Dolphins and had to swim back with the high surf. I was terrified and I kick kick kicked my little heart out between crashing waves and made it to the shore breathless but alive, Cota right behind me. If challenges build character, I’m as characteristic as I can get..
We spent our last few days on the Big Island in Kona. We made friends with the owner at the first Air BnB we stayed in and he offered us a work trade. So, in exchange for dragging some branches out of the yard and loading his truck, and painting a living room wall, he let us stay in a vacant house he was fixing up. The house sits just meters above the shore and the sound of waves crashing over the rocks can be heard from any room in the house. I love traveling with Cota! He’s so handy and people seem to want him around…. I’m pretty sure we could’ve just moved into this house on Alii Drive and accepted long-term work.
After a few weeks on the Big Island, we hopped over to Kauai, one of the smaller, more remote islands. Kauai has perfect sandy beaches all the way around the island. Definitely better beaches than the Big Island. It’s much, much smaller and less diverse, but incredibly laid back and perfect in its own way.
The highlight of our trip to Hawaii was hiking the Kalalau trail on Kauai island. The trail is eleven miles one way along the stunning Napali Coast, through lush jungle and across rugged volcanic slopes with a pristine, undeveloped beach at the end. Besides being breathtakingly beautiful, it’s also commonly cited as one of the most difficult hikes in the world. In our opinion that’s an extreme review. The trail traverses steep cliffs with long drop offs that plunge into the ocean… but, I dunno, people don’t just fall off….. Do they? It was a long, sweaty pilgrimage to Kalalau Beach and one of the most amazing places I’ve ever been. I’m thinking about returning one day and spending a month or two out there at the end of the trail. People do it. There’s a small community of people from all over the world, including some locals, that live there. The jungle kitties need me, I’ll be back for them!
It felt like the scene of a survivor reality TV show. The idyllic postcard remote beach, a waterfall to shower in every day and collect your drinking water from. Wild pigs and chickens to hunt and roast over a fire. Kittens that need love. Helicopters buzzing overhead giving tours of the perfect coast that you’re an integral part of. Paradise.
If you’ve ever been to Hawaii, you know what I’m talking about, you know about the aloha spirit. If you haven’t yet made it to Hawaii…..add it to your bucket list today!