This stop on my mad travels had some amazing ups but also a few downs. I finally learnt that maybe you really can’t see and do everything in the time scale and budget I’ve given myself. I had thought that 8 days in Hawaii would be enough to see two islands but in hind sight, I think I’d have been better off to just staying on Oahu. At least nothing from here on out is booked so I can apply these newly learnt lessons.

The other island I went to was the big island, the island of Hawai’i. However, having researched only a very small amount (which has always been completely fine up to this point, but I’ve only been staying in major cities/tourist hot spots), I thought I could get around by bus. However, the buses are almost nonexistent and then pretty much only to and from working locations which is not exactly the sorts of places that I wanted to go. I’m sure I could have found this out if I hadn’t been so confident in my travels or even just realised that there really aren’t many people on the island and definitely no cities and therefore no buses.

A potential alternative of car hire wasn’t really viable either. Being under 25 means is not a cheap option, let alone with the added isolation of the place with not much competition for prices. However, once I’d got to my Airbnb, all I wanted to do was sleep in the end! I planned to stay in a private room/Airbnb once every few weeks to give myself a chance to avoid humans for a short while etc. and this was a really great combination of having my own space, catching up on sleep, and using the free time to begin to plan my next few weeks of travel. I only realised once I’d landed on Hawaii island, after a bit of a rough morning, that that’s what I really wanted and needed at this stage. I definitely could have saved myself some money/stress and stayed on Oahu potentially just in a private room in a hostel, but hey, it’s all part of this giant learning experience.

On Oahu, however, I had a fantastic time. After I got to my hostel, I went to wander around the beach and watch the sunset. It was one of those places where I couldn’t quite believe where I was and what I was seeing.

The hostel had an event on in the evening so after the sun had set, I went back to meet some people. Most of Hawaii’s quiet hours start at 10pm which is absolutely perfect for sleepy old me so a lot of free food later, I crashed out. The next day was a beach day with perfect blue skies, warm seas, and white sand was pretty great however, towards the end of the day, I had begun to feel a little bit sick and bored of my own company and for the first time, wishing I was travelling with someone else. However, I also knew I had just spent a whole day not really engaging my brain in anything and not in a place where I could chat to people casually. That evening in the hostel, I made a conscious effort to chat properly to people and the moment I started doing that, I went straight back to loving to solo travel life.

A day at the beach with a view towards the diamond head crater.
Putting my feet up for a day
View back to Honolulu from the top of Diamond head

Things I love about solo travel are just the pure freedom to do whatever I want to do, go wherever I want to go, and also meeting other people from all over the world (although so far, it’s mostly been a lot of Australians/New Zealanders!). If I did have someone else I was travelling with then I’m not sure I would make quite such an effort to meet people and if I wasn’t putting much in, I probably wouldn’t get much out. As an example, I’m currently in Sydney (I know it’s taken me forever to write this post -I’ve been busy!) staying with someone who I met on my first solo trip, to Berlin.

One morning, while openly musing about what I was going to get up to that day, I met a group of people from Canada,New Zealand, and California and between us, we decided to hire a car and go on a road trip to the north coast of the island. I think it was my best day on the island with a lot of friendly banter as someone thought it would be a great idea for me to navigate, dj, be shotgun, and plan the day all at the same time! I couldn’t decline as I do love being dictator however, I can’t multitask so there were some funny moments in there. Not only that but the number of times the Satan satnav wanted to give directions without pausing the music at the best point in the song were driving me up the wall, much to the amusement of the other passengers.

On the north coast, we saw turtles sun bathing on the beach, got some amazing truck food and fresh pineapple juice served in a pineapple, snorkelled in sharks bay, and watched probably the best sunset of the week from the aptly named sunset beach. All in all, a great day in great company.

Some fish from my snorkelling
This is the Hawaiian state fish, a humuhumunukunukuapua’a fish. It really exists for anyone familiar with HSM2 songs….
Sunbathing turtle
Swimming turtles
Selfie with a turtle (yeh, I really was this happy if you can’t tell from the number of turtle photos…)
Sunset beach

Pearl Harbour was an interesting place. I hadn’t appreciated that you could not only see the sunken Arizona from the surface but also that parts of the ship are above the waterline which would have made the whole event that much worse with everyone trying to save these men who really were only just out of reach.

Part of the Arizona battleship
You can still see the rough outline of the ship here
From inside the memorial
A ship just out of reach

That same day, I was heading out of the hostel just before sunset to watch it again (I was hooked) when I stumbled across a festival of some sorts going on. There were many different stalls selling all sorts of Hawaiian cultural things from food to jewellery (where I obviously bought some more earrings!) and trinkets (I never knew I needed a turtle bowl until now… damn this backpacking thing and having a limited amount of stuff I can carry!).

One very-into-the-culture dog

There were also quite a few live performance stages with all sorts of music and dancing which all added to this amazing atmosphere of the festival. I found the Hawaiian people to really be the most humble and openly, genuinely friendly people, never doing it for any ulterior motives. I can’t wait to come back here in the future!

Parade through the festival
Mahalo, Hawaii

1 Comment

  1. Victoria Hellyer

    I love the selfie-with-turtle! x

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