What Hawaii is REALLY Like

As I sit in Arctic Tundra temps, praying my tiny dogs don’t poop on the floor in protest, it’s very hard to believe I just lived 6 weeks in a world wear tanks tops are acceptable in winter. (As an aside, I have finally accepted that I have tiny dogs. It’s been hard, but I made here with hard work and real introspection.)

hawaii beach lgbt couple

We’ve been home from our epic tropical journey for a week now, and before I could come out of my travel stupor I was hit by food poisoning (or a 24 hr stomach flu, who knows) and slept for two days straight. Now we are getting ourselves ready to hit to road again in a few days and it’s time to reflect on our epic-once-in-a-lifetime trip to Hawaii (and Mexico, that’s coming too!).

Just a country gal living the island life…

I was talking to my friend on the phone last night who told me “You were my favorite Instagram Influencer while you were gone” which cracked me up! It really felt crazy to be posting pics of all our insane travels for 6 straight weeks. That is not me! Yes, we hit the road in a camper, but that’s not glamorous most of the time. That’s truck stop dog poop bags and wearing shoes in the campground shower for fear of…..lots of things. (Somehow I fit dog poop into this post twice already. Score!)

The feeling of landing back in PA last week, where my parents met us with gloves, hats and coats, was so surreal. There was snow on the ground and I know people were staring at me like: That girl CLEARLY has a tanning addiction, call TLC! Anyway, that’s how it felt landing in Hawaii in December: Why is the airport just OPEN, why is the porch door open, why am I sweating…it’s Christmas?!?!?!

What they don’t tell you…

I was really not prepared for Hawaii. I read tons of blogs and travel books and talked to lots of folks who had been there. And maybe it’s because we had so much time there to continually reflect on our daily experiences, but I was really not expecting it to be so damn MAGICAL.

Our time in Hawaii can be summed up in two phrases: “Drive with Aloha” and what Heather and I were always saying to each other “I can’t get over it.”

There were actual signs on the road that told you to DRIVE WITH ALOHA. The GOVERNMENT, the DOT, is even on board here!! Before you come to Hawaii you heard about the Aloha Spirit, but I didn’t really get it until we were there. A few examples, if you will…

  • When texting a guy from Craigslist about buying his bike, he asked my shoe size because he accidentally bought women’s size 9 Converse shoes and would rather give them away than return them.
  • A woman in our condo building brought me $2.50 in quarters and a bag of veggies after the dryer ate my last quarters!
  • Driving like an absolute tourist and NO ONE honking, at all!
  • Buying more stuff off Craigslist and getting all for free, just because
  • An offer to stay in a new friend’s Air BnB properties when they’re not being used when we’re in their neck of the woods


The general serendipitous feeling you get of being surrounded by happy, kind people is enough to make a vacation there worth it. Imagine driving down the road, not knowing where the hell you are and NOT STRESSING that you’re pissing off the person in the car behind you. It’s really crazy. Good things happen to good people, and their attitudes wore off on us! I felt more patient, more open and more appreciative of the little beauties we saw every day. I even once told Heather that Hawaii made me feel more spiritual. Like I said, it GOT to me!

We’d booked a late night flight out of Hawaii on our last day, which left us exhausted with nowhere to go. In desperation, I found the only nearby beach (a strange problem on an island, I know) on Google maps so we could get horizontal and maybe take a nap. We ended up seeing our first seal, catching an amazing sunset AT THE SAME TIME that a full rainbow appeared behind us, and meeting the kindest couple we talked to for 2 full hours. It totally turned our weird moods around and was the perfect sendoff!


I really hate the phrase “Next Time” when it comes to travel because…who really knows if you’ll be back. But, Hawaii, I WILL be back!!

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