1. Trade winds.
Imagine standing on a sunny corner, hoping for a moment of refuge: shade, a pool, maybe even a cold drink of water. Just then the glorious trade winds, or “trades” as we call them here in Hawaii, caress over your face and offer you sweet, sweet respite from the heat. Trade winds are perhaps the best thing about living somewhere so hot. They’re a cool reminder that the ocean surrounds us in all directions.
2. Jawaiian music.
Is there anything sweeter than listening to Jawaiian (read: Hawaiian-style reggae music)? Its constant theme is love, ohana (family), and loyalty. It focuses on positivity, pride, and knowing where you come from. You miss it hard when it’s not there.
3. Life happening year-round.
Hawaii’s tropical climate is incredible. You wake up to birds chirping in the middle of December. Flowers bloom year-round. You can go running outside (without suffering from hypothermia) any day of the year.
4. Night-blooming Jasmine.
You’re just walking by, minding your own business when all of a sudden… Mmmmm. You just caught a whiff of the heavenly night-blooming jasmine, a type of flower that blooms only in the evenings and smells incredible. There are so many other varieties of lovely-smelling flowers in Hawaii that’s it hard to pick one, but this is the one I missed the most when I left.
5. Mango season.
Come summertime, you see more and more people walking around collecting mangoes from what you hope is their tree, but doing just about anything to get their hands on some tasty, juicy mangoes. Everyone swears they have an auntie or grandma whose mango tree produces the sweetest mango you’ve ever tasted. More than likely, you’re lucky enough to be the judge of that.
6. Winter swell buzz.
Winter in Hawaii is big wave season. Enter the madness of Haleiwa town on Oahu’s North Shore where the craziest paddle into 30+ feet waves. There’s always fun energy buzzing about when you know you can drive from town about 45 minutes north to see some of the biggest waves in the world crashing onto the shore.
When you can wake up, grab your bag, and literally do anything on the island and it makes all of your Facebook friends and Instagram followers instantly jealous, you know you live somewhere awesome. It’s tough to give up many options: hiking, surfing, paragliding, kiteboarding, swimming in water holes, and snorkeling with turtles, just to name a few.
8. Cruising in the back of trucks.
The lax laws about riding in the back of trucks here mean you get open-air rides to mountain ranges, cerulean shorelines, and best of all, prime access to the tantalizing smells of huli huli chicken spindling over an open flame.
9. The local vernacular.
Speaking in pidgin is addicting. If you become localized, you likely already speak in pidgin with your friends and family. After you return to the mainland, you find yourself telling your brudduhs you like “grind”, but they have no idea what you mean. Not guaranteed to make you feel mo’ better.
10. The ocean is your backyard.
Some of the freshest seafood and sushi in the world. Opportunities to sail, cruise, surf, boogie board, snorkel, dive, spearfish. Sunsets that never get old. When you leave a place where your backyard is the ocean, a life force here in Hawaii, you’ll never be the same.