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A love letter to Hawaii

Sunset over Princeville, Hawaii

5 things our holiday inspired in me

A quick recap: since embarking on my first overseas trip to New Zealand at 21, I’ve since travelled to another 35 countries across Europe, North America and Asia. Whether it’s the sense of peace and tranquillity of the Sri Lankan people, the unending historic marvels around every corner in Istanbul, or the can-do attitude of Iceland as a whole – each gallivant leaves its mark.

In 2018 we set off for Hawaii. I can’t say why it took us so long to reach this jewel in the Pacific — it is so much more than a tropical beach enjoyed over cocktails (in pineapples) at sunset. A two week trip encompassing Kauai’s charms and Waikiki’s ‘woah’ left me itching to return, yet inspired with a load of things to bring to my own day-to-day life in Australia. Here’s 5 things that our trip made me think about differently:

1. Reduce single use waste

We’ve always loved snorkelling and seeing the sea-world; but after two weeks of daily water adventures I feel more solidified than ever that I want to do more to further reduce our personal plastic use and unnecessary waste. We’ve used cloth shopping bags for 11 years, reusable coffee cups religiously for 1, and recently converted to bamboo toothbrushes and (recycled) paper-wrapped toilet paper. We don’t use plastic straws. What else can we do? The underwater world is a wondrous place and we need to do all we can to not just preserve it, but let it prosper.

2. Know what products are made of

Reef safe sunscreen is mandatory in Hawaii to protect their coral reefs. As we learnt about the reported harmful chemicals in regular sunscreen to the underwater world, it made us re-think the products we choose to use. Not only do we want to use sunscreen that protects our skin from the sun’s harmful rays, we want to do our bit to keep all our underwater friends and flora safe. 

If you’re off to Hawaii soon, or keen to learn how you can help keep our reefs safe, here’s a list of sunscreens that exclude oxybenzone and octinoxate to get your research started.

3. Go (coco)nuts

Food is a big player in our travels. We always try out the local cuisines and aim to eat as much like a local when we travel. In Hawaii, that means: poke bowls, (all natural) shave ice, and food embracing the coconut. Yes, coconut can be interwoven into more than just your acai bowl. Coconut rice, coconut milk (in your coffee) – the list goes on!

4. The local brew

We often judge a country’s affordability on the price of, and the taste, of its local beer. It’s a good leveller. In Hawaii? For us it was Longboard lager. Sensational. Now we’re scouting the craft beer bottle shops in Sydney seeking it out for hot summer days.

5. #NotACoffeeSnob

As an avid coffee consumer in Australia, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking I have to have my beans independent and barista-made. After 9 days living with a perculator, seems it IS possible to live happily and be caffeinated. Game changer.

What did travel make you think about differently? Do comment to share below – there is so much to learn and open your mind about in this great world!

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