Traveling Hawaii: Embrace the Culture

When travelers come to Hawaii there is an expectation of magic. The beauty of the islands and the culture seems so inviting and carefree. TV, books, movies and magazines all portray the islands in such a mesmerizing way, and it’s real. However, it’s very easy to get caught up in the fake and commercialized parts of Hawaii, which is why it’s not surprising to see people leaving disappointed. So, allow us to provide you with some simple guidance to navigate the cultural dynamics of the islands to properly experience the magic that is Hawaii. The essence and the beauty of the islands lie in the word and culture of “aloha”. The meaning of “aloha” is most commonly used as a greeting towards others but it means much more than that to the people. It’s a way to express respect and love towards others. It’s a gesture of sharing all the love and good you have in your life, with the people you say the word to. Once you understand the culture, then you can live it. Once you live aloha and embrace the giving-ness of the culture and it will return to you ten-fold. Then you’ll realize what all the hype is about. To really experience the Hawaiian way of life, you have to get off the resorts. You’re not going see the real Hawaii sitting by the pool drinking Mai Tais. So get in a car, bus, hitchhike (really, it’s pretty normal), whatever you have to do, and go explore with an open mind. Make a plan to have no plans. Discover the spirit of aloha through the people. Go out of your way and something nice for strangers. Don’t be afraid to approach locals with aloha and ask them questions. Most of them love talking to visitors about their beautiful home. They’ll share with you their knowledge of the best beaches, hikes, sites and local grinds the islands have to offer. Oh, and don’t be surprised if they even invite you to their home for dinner. Now, Hawaii is not all rainbows and lollipops. There are some bad eggs out there. Some locals are just angry. The angry local is upset for a lot of reasons; some of them actually have legitimate reasons to be. Common examples you’ll hear; they don’t like so many people flooding the island, they can’t afford to live where they used to, they want the stolen land returned to Hawaiians, or maybe you're just a stupid haole (white person). No doubt, you’ll have your run-ins with these people. A piece of advice, if they’re angry let them be angry. Move on don’t let them spoil your time in this beautiful place. The majority of Hawaiians are some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet, and that should be your focus. So, if you want to experience the magic of Hawaii, it’s really all about you and the mindset you bring. Live aloha, be open-minded, be adventurous. Do that and you’ll be all set to enjoy the most beautiful places and people this world has to offer. Aloha!