When was the last time you visited a neighbor island? Or, if you aren’t living in Hawaii, when was the last time you visited Hawaii? Since the onset of COVID-19, most of us have been restricted to our homes and our surrounding communities. Understandably so. But, as travel restrictions begin to loosen up, more mainland people are traveling to Hawaii. And, they aren’t alone. Locals are traveling, too. Hawaii residents are beginning to island hop again. If you’ve been in one of Hawaii’s airports recently, you’ve seen the look of joy on the faces of families and friends being reunited. You’ve witnessed the exchange of gifts, hugs, and smiles. And, you’ve felt the renewed sense of freedom that comes from something as simple as a short flight between islands.
The Islands are Home
Regardless of which island you reside on, if you live in Hawaii, all the other islands are home, too. Granted, the island you live on is where you primarily live, work and play, but the neighbor islands often are your home away from home, your playground, and even your extended workplace. If you live in Hawaii, you most likely have family or friends living on a neighbor island. You probably have your favorite spot, restaurant, and activity on each island, too. You may have even ranked the islands from your favorite to your least favorite. Or, perhaps they are all no kai oi (number one) during different seasons of the year or during different seasons of your life. Regardless of how you rank each island, all are special. Unique. Beautiful.
Of course, as travel opens up, so does the controversy. COVID cases have increased recently. Should we be placing greater restrictions on travel? Are we taking sufficient measures and are the proper protocols in place? Are we over-emphasizing safety at the expense of the economy or vice-versa? Our beaches are becoming too crowded, right? Roads too congested? What about our infrastructure? Are mainland buyers and investors driving up our real estate prices? The list goes on and so does the controversy.
Why We Love Hawaii
The issues we face due to the initial shut-down (and now the re-opening) of our state are complex and multi-faceted. Opinions vary about how to re-open and how to resolve the socio-economic problems COVID created. However, there is one thing we can all acknowledge. People love Hawaii and people want to come here. This place we call home is a gift, and perhaps because of COVID, we’ve all learned to appreciate Hawaii a little bit more. Whether you live on Kauai, Oahu, Maui, the Big Island, Molokai, or Lanai, you know and understand the attraction. You know the allure this place has for people. You understand the “why” because you have also felt the same allure. The same attraction. That’s why you wake up everyday, work hard, and sacrifice to make a living here. A life here. You might balk at an overcrowded beach or whine about a missed sunset or surf set due to traffic and tourists, but you get it. This place we call home is beautiful — beautiful in such a way that it can seem almost removed from everyday life. In a word, it’s magical. Given the last year and a half of living through a major pandemic, don’t we all want a little more magic? A little less reality? Perhaps that is why our local residents are hopping on planes to visit their neighbors and friends. It’s why our mainland friends come here, too. In today’s world, we all need an escape. We all need a little more magic. A.Little.More.Hawaii.