Wander: Oahu, Hawaii

Before I introduce you to the magic that is Oahu, let me begin by telling you that Hawaii was #LifeGoals for me since I could walk. In fact, before reality hit me and I became an entrepreneur, I actually used to daydream of living on the shores of Hawaii and making jewelry out of seashells. But, you know, dreams change. Joking aside, I always had a calling for the islands.

In 2015, Waikiki heard me calling. My husband and I were blessed, and I mean blessed, with the opportunity to visit Oahu in September 2015. I just so happened to have family stationed in the military in Honolulu who offered us a stay at the beautiful military resort of Hale Koa. Was this not fate? We had the opportunity to visit distant family and score a trip to paradise – win-win. The Hale Koa was a beautiful beachfront resort with 3 pools, events, shopping, and a luau which I admittedly am guilty of attending twice because we loved it so much.

I would describe downtown Waikiki as your typical tourist spot with luxury storefronts and chain restaurants but they did have frequent streets festivals that really gave you a taste of the culture of Hawaii. There was the custom Hawaii dance, the hula, performed by several locals, local artisans lined up to sell their craft and food trucks that fed us the best of island style cuisine. I remember walking around in awe of the diversity and never wanting to venture back to the resort.

 

Hawaii itself really was an experience that changes you. Maybe it’s all of the sunshine but the people really are much happier and laid back than in the north. There were rainbows every single day and the islands are full of beautiful trees and flowers. (I found it fascinating that the roots of the trees grow downward. See above pictures.) The air felt lighter, cleaner and always smelled like coconut – I’m not exaggerating. It did usually rain once each day but it was light rain that would appear from a cloudless the sky and stop just a few minutes later.

Apart from the venture being a 20+ hour journey, the trip was so memorable and really started my devotion to travel. It was an experience of a lifetime to see a place that holds such beauty. It’s been saddening to see all of the destruction left from the 2018 volcanoes and I’m remembering the islands as a place of beauty and magic because that’s what they are. Since our 2015 trip to Hawaii, I’ve been to several other beaches and islands and nothing compares. I feel like I might be a slight snob now. Spoiled with true paradise.

Recommendations when visiting Honolulu: Visit Pearl Harbor, Visit Diamond Head, see a luau, take a surf lesson, visit Waikiki Beach.