What I Learned About the Aloha Spirit

I’ve often wondered what it would be like to travel to a place for vacation and then never leave. I have this habit of daydreaming about that every time I go somewhere. I wonder how much it costs to live there, what the people are like, and how I’d feel. You probably have, too.

This wondering became reality when I came to Hawaii after lockdowns sort of lifted. I never intended to live in Honolulu or have a burning desire to experience island life, but here I am, a year and a half later.

Hawaii had just opened up again and I jumped at the chance to get out of Oakland and visit my sister. It was my sixth time on the island and each time I’d visited, I couldn’t help but wonder if I could ever live here beyond a week or two. How quickly would I get island fever and how bad would it be?

The pandemic caused mass relocations and “the great resignation” and I was a part of both movements. My work was indefinitely remote, so after my five-year stint in The Bay Area, l put my things in storage and bid farewell.

Honolulu had become quite the hot spot for remote workers who, like me, wanted to float around. During my time here, I met a few transient folks who were cheating the 9-5 grind for blue waters and warm breezes. (But I have yet to meet anyone who actually takes their laptop to the beach. I think that’s just a meme for remote workers.)

At first, I wanted to stay to enjoy the island’s slower pace, practice yoga, and hike regularly. What was supposed to be only a month turned into two, then four, and eventually, I found a condo and signed a one-year lease.

Photo: A blazing sunset, snapped from my lanai.

And now that my lease is coming to a swift end, I wanted to honor my time on this beautiful rock and write about my time in O’ahu. To me, living in a new place or traveling is about noticing all the little things. The tiny and the mundane that give you greater insight into the people and culture.

Perhaps my views will help you better understand what it’s like to really live here. I’ve graduated from tourist status. I definitely don’t claim to be a local, but I do know a helluva lot more than I did when I was just a visitor who thought Waikiki was the shit.

To me, Hawaii is no longer associated with hotels and brightly colored cocktails topped with little umbrellas. Sometimes, I feel like I live on a different planet. A planet with breathtaking views and perfect weather. A place where Amazon deliveries take a week instead of two days, and you’ll see rainbows even when there’s no rain.

Read the full article on Claire’sHoliday.com.