Editor’s Note: Not suprisingly, “Why go to Hawaii?,” is not a question often asked of Malia Yoshioka, resident expert for Why Go Hawaii? of the BootsnAll family of travel blogs. Perplexed visitors usually ask Malia, when they hear her speak of her round-the-world journeys, “But why would you ever leave?” In her guest post today she insightfully answers our question with some revealing twists. So put on your imaginary lei (and perhaps mix yourself a real Mai Tai) and enjoy!
Why go to Hawaii? Having been born and raised in Hawaii, I find that I’m often asked the question in reverse: Why would you ever leave?
And it’s true, I live in one of the most beautiful places on earth – paradise, even. I’ve just always had a classic case of wanderlust – always wanting to see what lay across the ocean.
In high school in Hawaii, most students who take a foreign language will study Japanese (the most commonly spoken second language here), Spanish (rumored to be the easiest), or Hawaiian. I opted for French.
Why French? Common sense says it’s the least practical language for a Hawaiian because we are located halfway around the globe from France; I can count on a single hand the number of times I’ve heard French spoken in Hawaii outside of a classroom. It’s quite ridiculous, actually. But I guess simply because the French speaking world is so far away, and so different, that was why I chose it.
Perhaps I had some romantic notion in my head that one day I’d trade the palm trees and tropical sunsets for a clandestine kiss on the top of the Eiffel Tower, or something equally befitting of a black and white movie with a dramatic score. In Hawaii, we’re all about rainbows and lush tropical greens. I wanted to wash it all out for black and white.
Simarly my pick of university was almost entirely based on what city would have the best and least expensive flights to Europe and other points around the globe. Naturally I wound up in New York City. I lasted one semester before deciding I couldn’t take the cold, but my desire to travel remained.
Ten years later, I quit my job, packed up my belongings in storage, and took off on an eight month trip through Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, and the Continental U.S. before returning home to Hawaii. And as soon as I landed, I was eager to do it all over again. I’ve got entire continents left to cover, for goodness sake!
However, I must admit that as the years go on, I find myself appreciating home more and more. When I’m traveling and I tell people that I’m from Hawaii, they often react with excitement followed closely by confusion and the inevitable question, “Why did you leave?”
I guess the answer lies somewhere in between the fact that although Hawaii will always be my home, I’m the type of person who always wants more. And also, I’ve learned that when you leave and come back, in some ways, you learn to appreciate home even more. It’s the coming back that’s the trick.
Home will always be there, and in my case, home will always be amazingly beautiful. That much I know. Each trip outside my home allows me to experience the contrasts of these rainbow colors with the subtle yet distinct shades of grey that give depth and beauty to the big picture.
So maybe the question isn’t so much Why Go as Why Not? As long as you never forget that there’s no place like home…
*Editor’s Note: Did you know that on Maui there is wine made out of pineapples? And that on Kauai there is so much to do that you may have to remind yourself to relax?