I took another diversion from my trip.

It’s been going well — so well, in fact, that I keep meeting cool folks and trying things I hadn’t thought I would, previously.

A friend I met on the road invited me on a trip to Hawaii — and how could I refuse?

I’ve loved meeting folks this go around, and find myself wondering if this is what traveling solo extensively was like, pre-pandemic. This is definitely an objective I was shooting for when buying the Prius and setting out — yes, to see nature, to travel, but also, to have more experiences that allow me to examine what it means to be human, and to place such value on forming and maintaining connections with others.


I booked a flight just four days in advance and added a bunch of stress to my plate getting everything situated with Hawaii’s extensive travel requirements centered around covid safety. Currently, you have to have a negative covid test result no more than 72 hours before flying, and fill out a bunch of questionnaires and upload your health docs to a Hawaii government website. In the airport, you have to check in regarding your results and you’ll be given a wristband to show you’ve been cleared — and then upon landing, you either have to show proof of vaccination or submit to a second covid test. Whew! But I made it!

I spent this week staying on Hawaii’s big island, lovingly referred to as, yup, “Big Island.”

Knowing absolutely nothing about Hawaii (and as usual, dreading the research stage of traveling so I chose to remain ignorant), I was disheartened to find the humidity here hit me like a sopping wet curtain upon leaving the aircraft, and I spitefully shook my fist at it, because I’d hoped to avoid it traveling West from home for this summer season. Alas.

That said, Hawaii, at least this portion of it, is an interesting little place. It’s of course pretty self contained, being about a five hour flight West of San Diego, probably the closest US point to it. The speed limits here are so low (60 as the highest I’ve seen for a tiny stretch, but mostly 35-45), and there’s “NENE CROSSING” signs everywhere, to protect this endangered goose.

There’s beaches on beaches, and beached sea turtles you’re not allowed to approach, and shacks with fresh produce, and somehow the ocean horizon appears to be eerily high here, ominously reminding you that you’re surrounded on all sides by deep blue waters.

Of course I checked out the beach first thing upon arriving — and there’s a million beaches here. Some were rocky and unsuitable for swimming, and some had fine or coarse black or white sand. Most had a pretty rough surf which kicked my ass getting in and out. There is a pretty strong undertow here.

My first stop here was to Hayden Cove at Kekaha Kai State Park, where I reconnected with my friend and travel partner, and took in the natural beauty and excitement to be in Hawaii!

Hawaii was formed from volcanic activity, and it shows all over the island, as you’re never far from black lava rock. It’s everywhere.

There’s all sorts of little critters running around the island, and birds chirping everywhere. We saw little weasels, and pigs, and a whole bunch of lizards.

And there’s so much diversity with the plant life here.

I felt terrible abandoning my Prius for a week, and had to rent a little piece of crap car which was suboptimal at best — but really makes me appreciate what I’ve got.

Hawaii’s food was good — I ate out sparingly, opting instead to cook at the place I was at because Hawaii is also expensive. So I grabbed a bunch of fresh fruits and veggies from local stands at the Kona farmer’s market, and went out here and there. There’s a bunch of traditional Hawaiian dishes I missed out on, but I’ll be back at another time where I feel more financially up for living large.

There’s a bunch of stuff to do on the big island, and most folks were surprised to hear that some first timers came to this one, rather than Maui or Honolulu or any of the others. But we had the opportunity to check out Volcanoes National Park, which comprises a huge chunk of the South of the island.

The volcano began erupting in 2018 and of course, just ceased for the most part the week before I got there. But you can still go and see a large crater, steam vents, and Caldera.

We also checked out the Thurston lava tube there.

There were beaches, beaches, beaches galore. I went to a bunch. Most notably I enjoyed Manini’owali Beach at Kua Bay,

Papakōlea Green Sand Beach, where we had to pay some local $20 each to ride there in the back of his pickup truck, and

Kehena Black Sand Beach, which was clothing optional:)

Along with the beaches came green sea turtles. We got the best view of these critters at the Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park, and down south at Punalu’u beach.

I met a bunch of folks here overflowing with kindness and generosity with warm welcoming suggestions. One night, we stayed over with a friend we’d met on the beach, who was staying over with a friend and Mom who made some kick-ass traditional Philippino food. We traveled to a local dance at the Hawaiian Sanctuary which really just turned out to be an underground rave, so if you’re into that kind of thing, definitely check that out.

Though we spent most of our time on the West of the island, there’s a bunch of stuff to do on the East, like check out the town of Hilo and surrounding natural features including Wailuku River State Park, and Kaumana Caves.

Up North I was also fortunate to visit the Queen’s Bath near Kiholo Bay. It’s a freshwater pool in a lava tube right by the ocean. You can experience very cool, still, clear water while hearing the waves lap at the shore, the winds blowing, and chirping birds.

All in all, the West side of the island has my heart, for the beautiful sunsets that happened there every night. I’m really glad to have had this experience and sad it was so short, but I’m definitely looking forward to going back and hopping between the islands.