With all of the travel I have been blessed to embark on, I thought Hawaii was just going to be another “wow” moment and mesh in with the others.
I have realized that travel just isn’t as fulfilling for me as I once thought it was, and I’ve finally come to terms and am okay with that statement. To give you a sneak peek into this post... I was wrong.
My all-time best friend happens to go to college in Hawaii (she’s crazy, I know) and over a pinky promise made at Lollapalooza, I found myself and my 2 other high school best friends on our way to Hawaii for Thanksgiving break. Hawaii satisfied every ounce of my middle school surfer dream life and made me question if I really could live in a big city. I didn’t know how much I would love Oahu until I got there, it is everything you hear about it and everything you didn’t know you needed.
One thing travel has taught me is that people make the place. I’ve said that countless times, but the reality is if I was in Honolulu on a random vacation, I can assure you it wouldn’t have impacted me the way it did.
There’s this saying that once you're on the islands you are taken over by an unusual calmness. I can’t exactly put it into words, but wherever we were heading to - in the car, staring at a waterfall, sitting at the beach - I always had to just shut my eyes and breathe it all in.
The serenity that fills the air is so tangible like I’ve never experienced before. On top of that, I was with girls that know me better than I know myself, that love me so well. This trip was full of honeyed smiles and celebrating our friendship that is such a sacred gem to us. I want to dwell on my sweet friend Maddy - the girl who couldn’t resist isolating herself on an island for college.
She had this trip planned HOUR BY HOUR, people. Every stop, every view, every bite to eat. She precisely catered to each one of our wants and created a master schedule for us to follow. The funny thing about this is that it was so flawless, that we didn’t even notice. We just let her lead us from place to place. The best part about it? Her favorite part was seeing our reactions to each place.
If you need to know anything about Maddy, it’s that she is the most determined girl you will probably ever meet. She is reckless in her pursuit of what she wants, and I am in awe of every ounce of that. To get to experience her place, Oahu, through her eyes and her day-to-day was everything I thought it would be: breathtaking. I mean - we did something every minute, I’m talking waking up when the sun rises to get every mile of the island. I could type pages and pages about Maddy’s character and how she has taught me so much, but I know you want to hear about Hawaii!
I don’t think anyone can put into words the vibe the island holds - so I’ll just give you a couple of must-see/do things. In can be kind of hard to get to some of these (as I said, Maddy is crazy) but they have trail maps and what-not that will help you figure things out.
The North Shore is 7 miles long and supplies you with the “quintessential local Hawaiian” vibe. North Shore was my favorite part of our trip, so much that we drove an hour to go back my second to last day. Eat at the food trucks, stargaze and camp on the beach, and watch surfers at Pipeline. Maddy gave us one “10” the whole trip to describe our favorite thing, and mine was stargazing on the North Shore.
This is a hike in Oahu that (might be illegal?) leads to a waterfall and was the prettiest thing I’ll probably ever see. I genuinely thought I wasn’t going to make it down the hill to get to it, so it made me appreciate it so much more (along with the 27 mosquito bites I got)
This was my favorite beach we went to, it’s the perfect mix of ocean and mountains and is so beautiful.
Ho'omaluhia Botanical Gardens
We had our Thanksgiving dinner picnic here. It's breathtaking in every way possible.
Those are three must-see things- but I could give you 100 more things to do, or better yet hook you up with the all-star travel guide Maddy. This was the sisterhood trip of our dreams and really taught me that you can be anywhere in the world and all that will matter is the people you are with.