First impressions last a lifetime. I think it is safe to say that Hawaii already has a very special place in my heart considering I have only been here for a few short days. The instant slow down and calm pace everyone functions at is very contagious. So much so that I didn’t even realize I was doing the same thing. After leaving the airport, my eyes immediately went up. The mountainscape was impressive! Covered in deep green foliage climbing so high that the peaks got lost in the clouds and mist. Such a simple, yet beautiful welcome to this pretty little island. I guess it only makes sense that everything is so green in a warm climate. It also helped that it rained for days before my arrival. The best way to describe it is like entering Jurassic Park. I half expected a dinosaur to emerge from the trees and onto the highway. Thankfully, that didn’t happen.

I planned ahead and rented a car knowing that I had to make it to the other side of the island to the North Shore. The available options to me were either a blue sedan or a black Volkswagen Beetle…. convertible. Um, yes! Being a Jeep owner myself, I was missing out on all the Jeep waves happening around me. So I thought I’d start something on my own and began to wave at the other Volkswagen Beetle’s driving past. Needless to say, that didn’t go as planned.

I am pleasantly surprised by how quiet the beaches are. Coming from Canada, any nice day that would be beach appropriate feels like everyone and their parents find a spot on the sand. Whereas in Hawaii, there are so many shores and beaches to choose from and everyone respects each others spaces. I have already taken advantage of this and achieved a few shades darker.

What I love most about traveling is getting to know the heritage and culture of where I am visiting. I do my best to stick to less commercial destinations so I can get a better idea of what it’s like to live there. I’ve been taking my time to speak with the locals and learning their stories, where they come from and why they chose to live in Hawaii. Apart from the very obvious reasons, I’ve been surprised by some of the answers.

I need to make mention of the famous Hawaii sunsets. I’ve seen them in movies and photographed in coffee table books, I’ve also been told about their picturesque beauty. But let me tell you, to experience it in person is unreal! Straight out of a post card. Even the locals come out and sit on the beach with their families and dogs to watch the sun slip beneath the surface of the ocean. It feels like an unspoken gathering of people sharing the same moment together and admiring Mother Nature's beauty.

Needless to say, Hawaii has been treating me pretty well. In such a short time I have created and accumulated many lifelong memories. I can see the appeal and attraction here and I can’t wait to explore more.