“I’m leaving New Zealand, flying first to Sydney, then I’ll get to holiday in Hawaii for two weeks with my friend, Steph – who lives there- before heading to Vancouver for a few days, and then back home to Toronto just in time for Christmas.” I repeated this same exhausting sentence many times before I left New Zealand – my home for 2012.
This statement usually received some sort of sarcastic comment such as “oh poor you… having to holiday in Hawaii.” And admittedly, they were fair with their use of sarcasm; there are worse places I could have wound up than beautiful Hawaii.
With my New Zealand working holiday visa approaching it’s expiry date and increasing pressures from my parents to return back to Toronto in time for Christmas, I knew that I would have to leave and started looking into flights. The prices of direct flights from New Zealand to Canada were just too far out of my price range, so I started to look for alternate routes, knowing full well that I had a friend living in Hawaii, which conveniently happens to be en route to Canada. I started looking into flights to Hawaii and sure enough I managed to find a ticket in my price range – I was going to the land of aloha, hula girls, surf and sun.
To be honest, a holiday in Hawaii had never occurred to me, and therefore I never put much research into America’s favourite multi-island sunshine state. Despite the lack of research, my two-week stint in Hawaii was jam packed with fun and adventure. I had the opportunity to shark cage dive, swim with manta rays, learn to surf, see volcanoes, help with a beach clean up, meet a Hawaiian kumu (spiritual leader), explore downtown Waikiki, spend tons of time at the Honolulu Zoo, meet Kelly Slater on Oahu’s North Shore, climb Diamond Head crater and (3/4 of) Kokoheads, and drive around the entire Big Island! These were just the tip of the iceberg and if you arrange your holidays to Hawaii, there are so many more things that you can opt to do – everything from scenic helicopter rides, to attending a traditional luau.
How I was able to Holiday in Hawaii:
Being cheap – Simply put, there was absolutely no way that I could justify spending $1500 on a one-way ticket from Auckland to Toronto. It just wasn’t going to happen. It took a bit of finagling, but in the end I spent a bit less and managed to get to do and see a ton more!
Being flexible – The fact that I allowed myself nearly a month before I knew I absolutely had to be home helped me accommodate a two-week stopover and holiday in Hawaii with one of my best friends.
Maintaining friendships despite distance – Maintaining friendships while you (and/or the other person) are constantly traveling can be difficult, but thanks to this glorious thing we call ‘the internet’ maintaining communication can help with keeping a friendship alive. Thanks to my travels, I now have friends all over the world. This means I can pretty much travel anywhere and at least have the option of staying with a friend (should it fit in with their schedule). I’m not saying to USE people, obviously make sure it’s okay with them, help out with groceries, cooking, cleaning, potentially some bills, but in the long run you’ll likely spend less staying with friends than staying at a hostel or hotel. Why do you think couchsurfing is so popular?!
Being open to possibilities – I suppose this kind of goes hand in hand with being flexible, but being open to possibilities and letting the powers of the universe pull you in a certain direction can bring about opportunities you never thought possible. When I set off for my RTW trip in September 2011, Hawaii was nowhere near being on my radar, yet I got to spend more time in Hawaii than I did in a lot of other places!
QUESTION: Have you ever found yourself in a place you never had intended to travel to?