Feeling worn out? Beaten up by life?
Hawaii will knock the cynicism right out of you.
They have this thing called aloha. It’s a greeting and well-known tourism slogan but it’s also so much more.
Aloha, as explained to me by Lily, the cultural advisor at Sheraton Kona on the Big Island, is all about kindness, generosity, humility, patience, pleasantness and openness to learning.
And it’s everywhere in Hawaii. From the guy carrying your bags, to the taxi drivers to the lady sitting next to you on the plane.
People are open and, because of that, they have this glow about them. Being around Hawaiian people is like breathing fresh air, sitting in the sun or swimming in the warm ocean; utterly refreshing and so in tune with the surrounding environment.
Because that’s the other thing. Hawaii is beautiful. The volcanic mountains – depending on whether you’re on the dry side or the wet side of the islands – are covered in lush tropical vegetation or savannah, lava fields or arid desert. The ocean, while breathtaking, doesn’t take your breath away when you get in because the temperature is perfect.
It’s a land of happiness, comfort and ease. You can drink the water out of the tap, everyone speaks English and the food is fresh, healthy and full of life. You can wear Havaianas to the most expensive restaurant. You can wander through the forest without fear of snakes, poisonous spiders, crocodiles or anything that will hurt you.
I arrived in Hawaii feeling knackered and to be honest, I left feeling knackered too. But there are different kinds of tired and when I arrived, I felt like life had lost its lustre. Now, sitting in Starbucks before I fly out, I can feel my abs from the stand-up paddleboarding and sunset yoga I did yesterday. I’m a little dusty because I drank too much Californian red wine at Morimoto’s last night. I’m tired because I have been living it up; not because I have been crushed by deadlines.
And I think that’s the point. When life feels like it’s going downhill, Hawaii is the remedy for that. It will correct your course and steer you in the right direction, all the while navigating by the stars like the Polynesian ancients.