We have many beautiful days with sunny skies, white sand beaches, and balmy trade winds in Hawaii. Our weather is envied by many and tourist pay top dollar to experience what we take for granted every day.
Born and raised in Hawaii and making a living in paradise can erase the tropical fantasy when you have to work and pay the bills. I do not make time to sit at the beach and soak up the sun when I have appointments and errands to do. Beautiful sunrises? Been there. Gorgeous sunsets? Done that. The beach is right down the road. I can always go tomorrow or the next day or possibly next month.
In the last few years, I decided to view my island home from the eyes of tourists and it changed my perspective. I take advantage of weekend staycations at kama’aina rates now. I enjoy pau hana happy hour sipping cocktails and watching sunsets beside tourists. On the rare occasion that I am camping on the beach, I marvel at the early morning tranquility as the sun rises over the ocean and remind myself that people actually pay to visit where I live. It is also fun to feel like an ambassador of Hawaii when tourist have questions about what to do or where to go.
I still have a job to do and the bills to pay. Like other locals, I am frustrated by the high cost of living and taxes in Hawaii. I worry about how we will care for the islands in the future and what we will leave behind for our keiki too. But when I hear the soothing sounds of the waves or stand at the shoreline to take a photo of the green flash at sunset, it reminds me that there is nowhere else I rather be. I am lucky to live in Hawaii and I no longer take it for granted.