Throughout my many years of travelling, I have never once visited somewhere that truly stole my heart. Well, that was true up until September 2016 when I set foot in Hawaii for the first time.

I’d often heard stories of others who had gone backpacking in Southeast Asia and discovered their love for the local culture, the food or even just the picturesque sunsets. I’d even heard of travellers who had visited Paris and loved everything about it, only to return year upon year.

For me though, since 2013, I’ve aimed to explore 3 new places abroad every year. In some ways, I have been searching for a second home, somewhere I may want to explore multiple times over without ever getting bored and somewhere that I could truly fall in love with.

I found all of these things and more last year, when my other half and I were finally able to explore Hawaii for the first time. In the time we had, we explored two Hawaiian islands: O’ahu and The Big Island.

Two very different islands. Two very beautiful and distinct islands. Two islands that I fell in love with for two very different reasons.

Here’s my story of how I fell in love with Hawaii…

Hawaii Radio Tower

I fell in love with the Hawaiian landscape…

Any regular follower of my blog knows that I am in love with nature. It has played a huge part in my journey through the UK, and plays a significant part in any overseas travelling I do as well.

This was no different in Hawaii.

We explored the island of O’ahu first. As part of a Lost filming locations tour with KOS tours, we experienced more than just the beauties and histories of Honolulu.

If I ever take anything away from O’ahu, it will be the dramatic landscapes we had the pleasure of seeing. From exotic palm trees, to golden beaches, to turquoise waters, to deep forests, O’ahu offered so much beauty in nature. One large take home for me was this tree.

Kate's Tree, Hawaii

Known as ‘Kate’s Tree’ within the hit TV show, Lost, I was mesmerised by not only the tree itself, but the surrounding meadow, blue sky and white picket fence.

Fast forward a few days and we then found ourselves on The Big Island. This time, we had the pleasure of embarking on two more tours with Arnott’s Lodge based in Hilo.

The first tour was to see smoking volcanic craters and active volcanoes in the Volcano National Park (a must for any first-timer to The Big Island).

The second tour was to scale the Mauna Kea mountain (home to one of the most famous observatories) to watch sunsets and stargaze. Mauna Kea mountain allows you to view the Milky Way with just the naked eye, and I had the pleasure of seeing more stars than I ever could have imagined existed.

If I take just one learning away from The Big Island’s landscape, it will be the wonders both above and below the ground. Way up high, you will see thousands upon thousands of sparkling stars. Below ground, there will be steaming lava spurting from volcanoes or hot steam rising through cracks in active craters.

Hawaii Volcanic Crater

I’ve always loved the Hawaiian culture…

As an admirer of any culture that truly respects nature and fellow people, I have always loved the Hawaiian way of life. Upon actually visiting, I can now say this is most definitely true.

When visiting Kīlauea Iki crater on The Big Island, our tour guide told us that it is a taboo to steal lava rock. Admittedly, a large number of travellers probably do this without knowing how sacred this rock is to Hawaiians. Maybe they would listen if they learned that stolen lava rock is considered to be cursed?

As an archipelago created from volcanic rock, one of Hawaii’s most famous legends involves Pele (or Pelehonuamea) aka the Volcano Goddess. So the story goes that if you steal any rock, or even a grain of sand belonging to Pele, a curse will fall upon you.

A Public Affairs Specialist for Hawaii Volcano National Park has previously said: “[The superstition] wasn’t started in a mean way. But here, people are told that taking pohaku [stones] is a sign of disrespect. You wouldn’t take something that doesn’t belong to you from somebody’s house.” You can’t deny that she doesn’t make a good point there! Read more about this curse here.

Fire Fetish: Hawaii Volcano

But it’s not just this love of nature that has caused me to fall in love with Hawaiian culture.

It’s their relaxed, laid back way of life, the language (although incredibly difficult for any outsider to master) and even their state laws. Wait, what? How could I fall in love with someone’s rulebook?

In Hawaii, ‘Aloha’ is more than just a hello or goodbye. A common state law known as the “Aloha Spirit” exists to ensure that a person’s mind and heart are in balance with one another. Each person must think positively and display positive feelings to others. How you decide to show those good feelings to others could be influenced by:

  • Akahai – meaning kindness expressed with tenderness
  • Lokahi – meaning unity expressed with harmony
  • ‘Olu’olo – meaning agreeableness expressed with pleasantness
  • Ha’aha’a – meaning humility expressed with modesty
  • Ahonui – meaning patience expressed with perseverance

Quite simply – people of Hawaii know not only how to respect nature, but also how to respect eachother. This is one thing I think more of us most definitely can learn from!

Oahu Beach

They say the way to a girl’s heart is through her stomach…

It’s not just men who fall in love with food!

Hawaii has some incredible dishes, and in true honour of their love and respect for others, you can guarantee that the food will be made with true love and passion.

In Hawaii, many locals are able to find papayas, mangoes, coconuts and avocados just growing on their trees. To me, this screams the epitome of tropical life! You may even be lucky enough to find a pineapple growing in a bush nearby…

Pineapple growing in Hawaii

Aside from these luscious fruits and vegetables, the macadamia nut is native to Hawaii as well. Okay, so I may only like them in my desserts but still, Hawaii should be super smug about this posh nut, as it’s treasured by so many!

Hawaii also introduced me to guava juice. Served in restaurants, shops, cafes and even on Hawaiian Airlines flights, this is a super tasty drink! I just wish it was more common to buy here in England.

As a total purveyor of puddings, Hawaii allowed me to find my own kind of dessert heaven. Chocolatey masterpieces of goodness, volcano-shaped cakes and flower-laden cheesecakes – need I say more?

One final note on the food… when in Hawaii, the most common ingredients to be used will be lau lau, kalua pig, squid luau, lomi salmon, pipikaula, poi and haupia. Combine this with an appetite the size of the Pacific Ocean, and you are most definitely onto a winner with Hawaiian food.

Mango Cheesecake, Hawaii

Hawaii saw me become a travel writer shortly after my trip…

Despite travelling for many years, I had never really thought about writing about my travels. I simply took photos and shared memories with my friends and family back home via Facebook and spoken conversations.

Yet, after visiting Hawaii, I wanted to tell the whole world about just how amazing it is! My other half was the one to put travel blogging in my head prior to visiting Hawaii, and it was Hawaii that finally sealed the deal for me.

Upon arriving home, I quickly set to work researching blogging and how to start a website. And then my very first article was born (pretty much as a blogging experiment that I now refuse to delete, no matter how rubbish it is!)

Since launching my blog, I have joined a Marketing team to write about retail and business, whilst continuing to love travel writing in my spare time. I think it’s safe to say that Hawaii really did change my life (in more ways than one).

Love birds in Hawaii

Halona Beach Cove

China Man's Hat, Hawaii

I could probably write thousands upon thousands of words about how I fell in love with Hawaii, but I would also like to leave a little mystery for future articles about this stunning archipelago. You will just have to keep reading to find out more! 😉

One thing I will say though is this: I will most definitely be returning to Hawaii again. Next time, I plan on seeing some other islands, including Maui and Kauai. But I would also love to return to The Big Island again too. Watch this space!

Have you fallen in love with somewhere yet – where was it? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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26 thoughts on “How I Fell in Love with Beautiful Hawaii

  1. I honestly think Hawaii life calls to me! Reading this, I just wanted to pack a bag a jump a flight! It seems like such a wonderful place, the perfect mixture of beachy paradise and lush forests! Thank you for sharing!

    1. I would have to agree with you wholeheartedly on that – I adore Hawaii (obviously) and would happily up sticks and move there if I could!

  2. nomadepicureans says:

    Hawaii is super high on my bucket list and probably no 1 in terms of island holidays! I love your post. I’m really into food and culture and judging by your post Hawaii is the place to be. Thanks for sharing your insights ❤

    1. Hawaii was always at the top of my bucket list too. It was pretty much love at first sight from the plane window as it’s such an incredible place! Hawaii is most definitely the place to be… I hope you get to visit some day soon! <3

  3. Wow, I know exactly what feeling you’re talking about. It’s so special to find a place that you connect with on all levels.

    1. Absolutely! Hawaii was the first place to make me feel this way, and I hope not the last! Happy travels! xoxo

  4. suzieturtle says:

    You write so passionately that you paint a wonderfully vivid picture of the islands you visited! I’ve never really thought about visiting Hawaii for some reason, but it is definitely being added to my travel list!

    1. Aww thank you!! I’m really pleased you liked my article… and I’m happy my love and passion for the place has come across. I hope you can visit soon Suzie!

  5. tina says:

    What a great article! You can tell you really love the place! I especially like how you explain the meaning of Aloha in Hawaiian terms!

    1. Thanks Tina! I’m glad you liked it… learning about the Aloha laws and all of that was super interesting for me too!

  6. Annika says:

    I really want to visit Hawaii and this post has only deepened my desire. Your pictures are gorgeous!

    1. I hope you get to visit soon Annika! Aww thanks, I’m glad you like them 🙂

  7. Momma To Go says:

    we were lucky enough to spend a month in hawaii last year. Big Island and Maui. I love the landscape, the beaches and then lava and volcanos… amazing. The people were incredible. I Love the laid back life, going to the grocery store barefoot etc. I cant wait to return!

    1. I hope you get to go back some day – looks like we loved all of the same things about Hawaii! Such a magical place!

  8. NieNie says:

    I haven’t been to Hawaii since I was 5 lol but I absolutely loved and remembered everything on that trip. So I can only imagine how it is as an adult. Beautiful photos!

    1. Thanks so much: I’m pleased you like them! Oh wow, it really must be a memorable place if you can remember all the way back to 5 years old!!

  9. I’ve yet to visit Hawaii but every time I see someone’s photos and hear about their experiences on the islands, I get so jealous! It looks like absolute paradise.

    1. It really is paradise! I hope you get to visit Hawaii some day!

  10. tashasoyster says:

    I am also a lover of nature and the volcano you visited looks amazing. It’s really interesting about what you wrote about stealing any rock or sand from the volcano.

    1. The stealing rock thing is very close to many Hawaiian’s hearts. If you go on a tour or speak to a local, they are more than likely to mention it in reference to the Volcano National Park and other big sights/landmarks.

  11. You have changed my whole perspective with regards to Hawaii. Haha. I always thought that this has only water. Beautiful experience and photos out there Justine 🙂

    1. Excellent! Nope, not just water… instead, dramatic and varied landscapes!

  12. Julie Cao says:

    Hawaii stolen my heart too! It also a place saw me become a travel blogger as well! I started my blog because I was sad to leave Hawaii, so five years ago one day in a cold winter weather, I wrote my thoughts and reality of living in Hawaii and it just went viral. It inspired me to share my journey in Hawaii and part of the island people dont know about. I have never returned there but always want to, and I will always have a Aloha state of mind with me. Hope we will both get to visit Hawaii again, maybe see each other there:)

    1. I love that story Julie! Hawaii is clearly a powerful place (I’m glad it’s not just me who has noticed!) Fingers crossed we can both go back!

  13. amandasettle says:

    A wonderful article, it’s great to learn about the culture and the people not just a ‘see this’ post. Sounds like you’ve fallen for the place completely. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    1. I’m so pleased you liked it Amanda! Sometimes it’s nice to think a little outside the box when it comes to writing – I’m just glad my love for the place has definitely come across!

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