Visiting My Home as a Tourist

There are so many things to do on Oahu, and most of my favorites have something to do with food. I often get asked “What should I do when I visit Hawaii?” My answer “Eat. Eat as much as you can.”

Next time I visit, I will probably write about every food place I enjoy so that others can enjoy it too! But for now, an overview.

My last two trips home happened earlier in 2016–one in January and the other in March. The January trip was very much one where I was more of a tourist than I ever had been. And it had everything to do with me becoming a tour guide for my friend Judy, who had never been to Hawaii before.

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Performers from the luau. Photo: Judy Lopez

Unfortunately, our plan for any sort of hike fell through, but we still did a lot of fun things that I had never done before including parasailing, stand-up paddle boarding, going to the Dole plantation and attending a luau.

You must be thinking how I never had attended a luau before. Let me emphasize the fact that though I had been to many culturally Hawaiian parties and festivities, a touristy-type luau was never something I’ve done. It pretty much felt like all the parties I attended, except it was geared towards the tourists, obviously.

Parasailing was fun, but I think a separate blog with the many photos will better tell the story.

Even the Dole plantation was something new to me. I always drove by on my way to the North Shore, but for whatever reason, never stopped to taste the pineapples. I enjoyed the Dole Whip, the train ride, but did not step foot into the maze for this visit. Maybe next time! It would still be something fun to do with my niece and nephews.

fullsizerender-6Paddle-boarding happened at Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa (where we stayed for one night), so it was on a private lagoon that made it easy to move on the steady water. It was a pretty good workout to keep my balance on the board and try to turn. I was pretty tempted just to kick back and let the water move me instead. You can find out more info about how to do this here.

The next trip I went back solo to attend the wedding of my best friend from high school, Jayne, and her high school sweet heart, Karl. I remember the day they got together like it was yesterday, and to witness their union was something so beautiful. I never thought I’d be one for an outdoor wedding, but it was so nicely done that it gave me inspiration for my possible future. The best part was that it was supposed to rain, but it subsided in time for the wedding to happen.

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Jayne and Karl’s wedding at Hale Koa Phineas Estates

For the rest of my time at home, I was able to enjoy a holiday that I had not celebrated with my family for quite some time–Easter! That weekend, I even took my niece out on a hike to Diamond Head, which was the first time I did that particular hike even though it’s such a common and easy one to do. We enjoyed dropping by different beaches and having mini photoshoots together before heading to my favorite place to eat Acai bowls.

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My niece Jade and I taking a break between our mini road trip around Oahu.

Before I’m about to head home for a vacation, I think of the different things I miss doing or have never done and try to make them happen. I feel like I took growing up in Hawaii for granted, and never realized how much more fun it could be to live up to those stereotypes of going to the beach and having tropical adventures. Silly as it sounds, I enjoy acting like a tourist when I visit. It reminds me to appreciate the beauty of the place I called home for almost 22 years of life.

I’m just glad it’s still a place I can head back to whenever my heart (and wallet) desires.

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