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  • jonathanrwalton

Tribute to the People of Hawaii

I hate beach vacations. Let's just start there. They stress me. Beaches are hot, sandy, and salty, none of which I have ever enjoyed. I love the idea of the beach. Sitting on a porch, watching the waves roll, the smell of the ocean, and the gentle breeze. Inspiring, breathtaking, and even faith-building. But a week-and-a-half in a tropical location. Honestly, I was looking to it and dreading it at the same time.

However, from the moment we landed, something changed. We were greeted by our car rental guy with a warm smile and leis made from beautiful, fresh flowers. That set the tone for what was to come.

Our first tour was the next morning, tubing with Kauai Backcountry Adventures (more about them in a future blog). The guide was warm, fun, and informative. It was there that we learned what the "Aloha" attitude is all about. I thought it was just another way of saying "hello" and "goodbye," but I was wrong. The guide proudly informed us that "aloha" is more than just a greeting. It is a way of life for the people of Hawaii. It is a consideration by each individual to center themselves in happiness and peace and then to project those good feelings and intentions toward others. In short, it is a desire to make other people happy. In his words, "it is a community of living in freedom, where we slow down and enjoy the beauty of each moment."

That is just what this family from the hustle and bustle of South Louisiana needed. An escape from the noise. A place to reconnect, to slow down, to self-reflect, to rediscover the purpose of trying to help others find joy.

The pace was notably slower. The kindness and helpfulness were obvious. The vibe was much more laid back and chill. Local store owners were very grateful you were doing business with them. Local grocers were glad you were in their store. Local waiters/waitresses were thankful for your business in their establishment. Every tour guide we had was eager to share from their heritage and proud history. One even sang traditional songs for us while playing his ukulele. Everyone we met was kind, polite, and helpful. I can honestly say that I did not want to leave.

So, thank you to the many cultures, traditions, and influences that have come together to make up the proud people of Hawaii. I was just as awestruck by Hawaii's inner beauty as I was by the breathtaking views around me. If you want a place to relax, catch your breath, and reconnect to kindness and patience, Hawaii should be on your list of destinations.


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