Each day of my stay in Hawai’i, I found myself saying, “what more do I need from life than this?” With every new day, I did things I had never done before, and witnessed unparalleled beauty.
I experienced the Big Island with two amazing friends I met on a youth trip in Ireland last summer. Because my friend has lived in Kona for as long as she can remember, we took trips, “missions,” to beaches, valleys, and sushi restaurants locals love, steering clear of tourist spots. Blasting “The Green” and B.o.B in the truck, we adjusted to the laid-back lifestyle, in our bikinis virtually 24-7.
Although Florida has a reputation for its beaches and natural sights, the clear water and vibrant reefs we enjoyed far surpassed the likes of Beach Place. Unlike many coastal destinations on “the mainland,” as Hawaiians call the continental US, the beaches of Hawai’i often require a long walk across lava fields or the strength of a 4-wheel-drive to reach. We were rewarded, however, with black sand, unbelievable green valleys and a plethora of fish.
Our friend took us to work once on her kayak tour, where we snorkeled and even jumped off a cliff! I was “stoked.”
As we drove around the island, we made the rugged hike through Waipio Valley to the foot of a thundering waterfall, climbing over mossy rocks, navigating through bamboo forests and wading through rocky rivers on the way, visited Volcano Village, went tubing from a jet ski, and so many more adventures.
Equal to my appreciation of the natural world was my happiness from living with such close friends, always having a blast even just driving in the car, or hanging out at home. Visiting friends, especially such an adventurous guide, made my vacation unlike any other.
Back home, I plan on discovering the best our state has to offer, and hopefully showing my friends the Everglades, South Beach, Key West, and our local spots soon.