“Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travelers don’t know where they’re going.” – Paul Theroux
Hawaii came and went in a blur. One minute my boyfriend and I were discussing buying our plane tickets, and the next minute we were sitting at the Sea-Tac Airport watching the sunrise from our gate and waiting to board our plane to Oahu. In a flash!
Sometimes it scares me to realize how fast time disappears right before my eyes. It scares me to think I will waste any minute of my life. And I think that is the reason why I sometimes over-exhaust myself when I travel. I try to fit as many things into a single day.
…As was the case in Hawaii. I have never felt the need to go on vacation to relax. In fact, relaxing is the last thing on my mind. The thought of sitting around all day in a beachfront resort freaks me out. Part of it is that my time is simply limited. Limited to the weekend. Limited to PTO from work. Limited to me having to fly back because I have two kitties that are eagerly waiting at home :) I cannot sit still knowing that I could be climbing mountains and cliffs instead. So I choose lack of sleep over beaching around.
And until all that changes, I will keep living on the edge – finding the needed relaxation during my 9-5 and adventuring during the limited time I do have. Plus, everyone has their own idea of relaxing, right?
So with all that being said, we had an incredible time absorbing everything that Oahu had to offer! One of my beautiful sorority sisters tied the knot in her hometown of Honolulu, and we decided to turn our visit into an eight-day adventure. We experienced so many beautiful places and fell in love with all of North/East Oahu. I will be sharing photos and blurbs from our visit throughout the next few days. Or weeks? I’m not sure yet, but I will try my best not to spam your emails.
Keep reading below to hear about our first impression on the island. It may not be what you expect :)
Love & Adventure,
WAIKIKI – HONOLULU, HAWAII
“You’re leaving a beautiful city to go to a …city,” I thought to myself.
“But it’ll be fine. We’ll make the best of it, no doubt!” I answered myself.
Nothing could have prepared me for the overwhelming feeling I felt as I realized how crowded the island looked with towers of concrete. The only other Pacific Island I have traveled to is Tahiti, French Polynesia, so I had been mentally preparing myself to experience the complete opposite of those island vibes. But when I finally found myself absorbed by the city, why did I feel incredibly overwhelmed?
We had read that we could do fine without renting a car, at least for a few days. However, as soon as we realized just how crowded the city was, we decided we needed a car. And quick. Not because we were being fussy, but rather TIME. We wanted to experience as much as we could in our limited timeframe and knew that staying carless would require time and patience.
So we checked into our AirBnb near Waikiki and started making phone calls for available car rentals. Best decision we made! And just in time before spring break crowds could leave us carless (as was some people’s luck). It was too bad we didn’t plan all this rental stuff in advance to save us all the unnecessary taxi fees.
But we had flown to Oahu with only one plan…which was to have no plan. You live and you learn!
We stayed local our first night exploring Waikiki. Crowded but stunning in its own way.
I had only heard stories about this place before…about it’s beauty and incomparable sunsets. We kept walking trying to find the beach but never found what we were looking for. I guess in my mind I imagined a secluded beach away from the rowdy restaurants and shops. I even dared compared it to Alki Beach in Seattle. Ha ha ha. Sorry guys. I think I was still feeling the aftershock after the whole city situation hit me unexpectedly. I personally am not attracted to high-end shops, but if that is what you’re into, you would enjoy Waikiki.
I had to take a step back to recollect myself. I did not want to ignore the urbanization and crazy tourism that the island was facing (errr, suffering), but I also did not want it to overshadow my personal experience.
I could either strap my traveling shoes extra tight, or let myself get too suckered into the tourist shoes. I could either choose to see all the things that could be different on the island, or focus on enjoying the magic that existed.
…And as we watched the sun disappearing into the ocean, we saw a massive whale jump into the sunset. Holy smokes – MASSIVE. What a beautiful show (not photographed).
City worries were suddenly a thought of the past, and I realized just how lucky we were to be experiencing that moment, toes digging into cornmeal sand and clear blue waters kissing our skin.
How were we here already when just yesterday I was dreaming of beaches and palmtrees?
…Our experience on the island only got better =)
PS: For whatever reason, I didn’t cary my camera during the times we went to Waikiki. I was using my iPhone instead. Unfortunately, I had to trade in my phone shortly after getting back to Seattle, and lost all my photos. Darn! For all the other places we visited, I brought along my camera and GoPro, so stay tuned for the rest of the Oahu adventures!
You can also find some photos on my Instagram under hashtag #OfWildestOahu. Go follow if you don’t already =)
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Stay curious, wild hearts!