What I Miss About Living in Hawaii

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Sunset Hawaii

I was feeling nostalgic yesterday when I wrote the title of this Hawaii article – What I Miss About Living in Hawaii. Being here in Thailand has been incredible for eight years, and in many ways it is similar to Hawaii, but in most ways they are worlds apart, obviously.

Some of the things I miss about life in Hawaii…

The Waves! Besides windy chop battering the coast in Phuket, I’ve yet to experience any decent, ridable waves livng in this country. I miss the waves at Makapu’u, Bellows AFB, Diamond Head, Waikiki, Honolua Bay, and other spots – so much. There is something about hanging out on a board for six hours in the ocean, and only getting out to go eat, and return for more. It’s a sensation of incomparable freedom, that for me, only happens in the Hawaiian surf.

Hiking! Oahu has some world-class hiking, at least that’s what I’m calling it, it has to be some of the best hiking in the world. There are many ridge hikes up mountains, leading to the incredible views of the windward side of the Ko’olau mountain chain on Oahu, that are absolutely breathtaking. I have climbed most of the trails on Oahu and Maui, and I miss them a lot. Here in Thailand we don’t have many hikes in comparison. Hiking in the Hawaiian islands can be an all day affair. Usually I’d bring fruit to eat at the top to replenish energy lost over a 2-3 hour hike. Some of the hikes took 7 hours round-trip!  Remember to bring enough water! If you haven’t yet tried hiking on Oahu, you should visit this website and choose a trail for a day this weekend. Hawaii Hiking Trails – one cool thing about this site, you can download the hikes into your iPhone for free. One of the ultimate hikes that I have yet to do, is located on Kauai. Next time I am in Hawaii I will do this hike and make a long article about it. Here is a video about it:

I love this video, it’s four guys coming from Oahu to Kauai for this Na Pali hike, it’s 11 miles long and took them 8.5 hours to reach it. A great video!

Picnics! When you live in Hawaii you always know someone that is having a picnic on the weekend, and usually it is you. Picnic, BBQ, whatever you want to call it, friendship is built over getting together at the beach, usually a beach park like Ala Moana, Bellows, Waimanolo, etc. Picnics are a great place to try out new local foods, and to really relax after what might be a stressful week at work. Some people work 2-3 jobs in the islands, and they still find time to head out for some down time at the beach BBQ’ing with friends.

Camping at the Beach! One of my absolute favorite things to do in Hawaii is camping at the beach. It combines most things I like about the islands into one activity that stretches over a couple of days. Usually we’d rent cabins at Bellows AFB, or bring tents and camp out at the Waimanolo campground on the beach on Friday and Saturday nights. We’d buy big shrimp, swordfish chunks, fresh tuna, chicken, everything you can possibly put on the barbeque, and then cover it with shoyu! There would always be beer and boards, and we’d spend the weekend living like cavemen. It was a great time. Here in Thailand, there is little camping available. I don’t think I’d feel all that safe camping on the beaches here.

Friends! I have friends I haven’t seen for a while. When you live in Hawaii, one of the barometers of success… one of the predictors of success of staying long-term, is whether or not you are the kind of person that can put yourself out there a little bit and make enough friends to keep like interesting. If you don’t make the effort, I think you are much more likely to return to the mainland, or somewhere else, leaving Hawaii for what you see as greener grass. The grass is abundantly green in Hawaii, it is just that people need to make the effort to make friends. Making friends in Hawaii is not difficult. If you’re fun to be around people will invite you to their weekend barbecues and you’ll meet extended family and friends, eventually creating a little social group for yourself to stave off boredom.

The Food! I think I’d just about die to have a grilled mahi-mahi sandwich in Lahaina right now. Seared ahi… mmmm. Ahi poke! Ahi limu! Wow… It has been much too long. Huli-huli chicken! Man, I miss it all. What about Portuguese sausage and rice with scrambled eggs for breakfast – at McDonalds? I love it! Good food is one of those things I just cannot miss for long before quenching my cravings. I need to get back to the islands for a visit. I’m hoping 2013 will be the year.

What about you? Anything in particular you’re missing about Hawaii?


Peter Kay

[Image by FamilyMWR at flickr.com]

About the Author:

I’ve lived Hawaii since the mid ‘80s when I moved here at the age of 21. I arrived site-unseen in Honolulu with zero contacts and about $5k in savings. I worked from nearly zero and today Hawaii has given me the greatest gifts in the world in all aspects: spiritually, financially, romantically (married since early ‘90s w/ 2 children), and most important, peace. My goal with this site is to share the magic of this Land of Aloha and help others who are on a similar quest.


  1. Allyson D. 05/28/2017 at 7:32 am - Reply

    Vern, I found this site when I googled ” I miss Kauai so much.” That should tell you something after my second visit. Of course, I felt that way the first time (including tears on my last day) but this time it’s like my heart is breaking. Your comment about making friends struck a chord with me. First off, I met and conversed easily with a couple ladies at farmers markets. One who moved there, and the other selling her dresses (and she moved there also.) Second thing that I miss and readily appreciate is the atmosphere on the weekends. Back on the mainland, the weekends are so hectic and rushed. I love being a part of the community that gathers, stays and plays. I tell people that Kauai is a way of life, not just a place. I feel it. Alas, I have grandchildren and elderly parents and I just can’t escape. It’s a conundrum.

    • Peter Kay 05/29/2017 at 9:53 am - Reply

      Family ties are incredibly powerful and is one of the reasons why it’s a question on our quiz to see if Hawaii is right for you.

      Your next best thing is to do what many people do: buy a timeshare and come to Kauai every year!

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