12 January, 2018
Ping, ping, ping. After spending 5 days at sea with no Internet, my phone began singing its obnoxious tune as streams of notifications appeared on my screen. While I missed communicating with friends, being disconnected from social media and other responsibilities was a very detoxing and liberating feeling.
This was my second time in Hawai’i. As the ship pulled into port at sunrise, I found myself so eager to be able to explore the beautiful island of Oahu once again. The first thing we did was hike through a rainforest to see Likeke Falls. Having not seen any greenery for a week, it was a bizarre experience to be enveloped by unique indigenous flora. Scarlet and violet flowers lit up the green backdrop with its natural contrast, and birds sung their songs, as if welcoming us voyagers to the forest. After an hour of hiking, we arrived at the waterfall, and it was breathtaking:
During the hike down, I realized I left my ukulele on the top of the mountain, by the waterfall. After a slight panic, I got a phone call from a friend. Since he was also on a similar tour, he found my ukulele and picked it up for me (thanks Sanjay!). Note: lucky incident #1.
The next destination we arrived at was Waikiki. By a shopping mall, I found another cheap ukulele to play at the beach. Here, I met up with a good friend who is currently a traveling physical therapist stationed in Hawai’i–how cool is that?! We caught up and boogie-boarded on the Pacific shoreline. In the midst of our conversation, I reached into my pocket to take a picture (mind you, we’re still in the middle of the ocean). It was gone. After another much larger panic, my friend and I frantically began searching, with no hope of finding my phone. Miraculously, after 15 minutes, my friend dove and found my phone gently resting on the seafloor. Since my phone had a waterproof casing, my phone turned out to be completely fine. Lucky incident #2. After another hour of exploring Waikiki (and taking that picture), we said our goodbyes as I made my way back to the ship.
Before our tour began, we listened to a local Hawaiian talk about Hawaiian culture and the concept of aloha. Aloha is much more than just “hello”–it’s love, it’s respect, it’s loyalty. It’s a connection between people, because in Hawai’i, everyone is family regardless of blood, occupation, or religious affiliation. It is goodness. He called us his moana ohana–his ocean family–, and asked us to carry this Aloha spirit throughout our travels and to the rest of the world.
Mahalo (thank you) Hawai’i for all of the adventures and lessons in life. Til next time.
Next stop: Japan