by Lynn Kim Do

Mahalo Spirit in Hawaii

"It's hard to put to words all the things that I took away from during this trip. But if I can just put all the people, the sub-moments, and the calming chaos under once category and gave it a name, it would be "Mahalo". "

Palms Cover Up - Pily Q // Swimwear - Bettinis // Alzerina Sandals - Call It Spring

There's some events in your life that you can always recall. You know, that one moment that made your eyes open just that much wider, the moment when you look up and the sky winks at you, the moment when you felt the tectonic plates shifting underneath your feet just so you can be closer to where you need to be, the moment when everyone around you is laughing uncontrollably and you close your eyes just so you can quickly imprint this moment in your mind forever. The moment when everything changes. Sometimes these moments are small and sometimes they are big. This one particular one is big - like being hundreds of thousands away on an isolated island called O'ahu. 

I never knew how much I needed this trip until I went there. Hawaii wasn't even in my Top 20 places to visit. I landed here from a google search page. I believe it was "where to travel alone as a woman". All I knew was that I needed to go somewhere this summer even if it meant that I was going by myself. I saw Hilo, Hawaii and my mind was set. Before booking a solo trip, I asked around to see if anyone was just as crazy as me. Luckily, my roommate (and partner in crime, Tina Maria, is just as crazy as me. Armed with another badass in hand, we decided to say "Eff it! Let's go to Honolulu!" We booked it only a month in advance and then solidified our Airbnb and car rental three weeks before our trip. We are the spawns of spontaneity and good timing. So off we went with only a slight idea of what we were in for, yet having no idea at all. It also didn't help that we both missed our flight. I was coming from New York City and she was coming from Vegas. But I'll tell you how "meant to be" this trip was, we both made it to Hawaii in upgraded seats for no additional charges. Complimentary drinks, more leg room, and free entertainment? Yes, please. 

13 hours later, I landed in a foreign island. It was so hard for my brain synapses to really connect me and Hawaii as being in one location. I even hesitated for 10 minutes, hovering right where the sand and the clear ocean's water met before I ran into the water. Tina said, "So did I, I had no idea what to do. And then I said, fuck it!" After putting my feet in, I never hesitated again. And metaphorically, we jumped right into this experience whole heartedly. I can't tell you how many times we looked at each other and said, "This isn't real life." Like when the sun came out right as we arrived ad the beach. Like when we somehow ended up at a mansion at the top the highest hill. Like when we saw the most agile male strippers in this random gay club (how did we even get there?). Like when we swore we were going to get pulled over...but didn't. Like the first time I tried a Poke Bowl. Or got drunk at 2pm off of two Mai Tais. I can go on and on. Luck will have it that Tina also had a dear friend who was born and raised in Hawaii. She wrote extensive non-touristy itineraries for us. She was right, we did love Lanikai Beach and Waimea Bay the most. It was serene and the ocean may as well have been a massive pool because the waters were clear and the waves were so calm. 

It's hard to put to words all the things that I took away from during this trip. But if I can just put all the people, the sub-moments, and the climatic chaos under once category and give it a name, it would be "Mahalo". Don't be mistaken. This feeling transcends beyond Hawaii but it began in Hawaii for me. Mahalo reminds me how really beautiful everything is. And I mean, everyfuckingthing. From the sweet man who generously gave me fresh aloe vera when I was just buying pineapples from him, the wallpaper-esque view 24/7 around me, like the mountains with a soft mist at the peak, to the weather scheming to be on our side. Mahalo reminded me how simple and forgiving life is. It's a living breathing thing that is in your favor. We complicate things. We are desensitized to the gentle universe. Mahalo reminded me what it is to be in tuned and to encourage and curate good vibes. 

And that's what I plan to bring back to New York City. 

Photos by iPhone & Tina Maria