Just over two years ago I decided to travel to Hawaii solo. It was one of the best experiences of my life.
I’ll start out by saying I know this isn’t for everyone. Not all people would be willing to travel somewhere where they know nobody, know nothing of the culture, or even what to do alone. But that is kind of the beauty of it. I had this dream a few years ago that I wanted to move to Hawaii. Life on a beautiful beach, beautiful scenery and beautiful culture just seemed perfect. So, knowing most of my friends can’t just drop money on a vacation I knew I would have to go alone if I wanted to see if I would make this huge move from Virginia. I booked my ticket and being the money conscious person that I am, made sure I didn’t spend too much on this trip and booked an Airbnb room.
My experience in one word: phenomenal.
Once I landed on Oahu it was late and I had to make my way to Waianae (not knowing this is not the greatest part of the island) on the bus. The bus was a little more than sketchy and I will say I was holding my luggage pretty tightly. Thankfully once my hour long bus ride was over, I met my amazing host for the week who couldn’t have been more welcoming. I was lucky enough to have chosen a house that had multiple groups of people from all over the world staying here and it made me feel not so alone. My host was very gracious and let us borrow all of her things: bikes, surf boards, GoPro- anything. My first morning I ended up borrowing a bike and went up to the local beach for a bit then hit the grocery store, not really knowing what to do with myself. I got back to the house and ended up meeting an incredibly nice guy from Poland who was also vacationing solo. We ended up going to see Pearl Harbor together that day and the next four days after that we hung out every day together.
He was fun, easy to get along with, a great travel buddy and I’ll be honest in saying that if I didn’t meet him, I’m not sure I would have had as great of a time. It was like I had this immediate new best friend that I loved hanging out with every day. This is where traveling alone can be the best experience! Meeting new people and putting yourself out there can be hard for some, but in the end you might not be traveling alone after all. You may just meet some incredible people and have an even better experience than you thought. On the other hand, if you don’t want to meet new people, rent a car and just drive. See the scenery, find local coffee shops, go to a market, find local landmarks, do anything YOU want to do. Because after all, that is a big reason to travel alone, doing everything you want to do and getting alone time to decompress.
The last three days I had were by myself, since he was on to his next adventure. I took his rental car (literally) and drove to another part of the island we hadn’t gotten to. I was able to lie on the beach, go to some shops and just hang out. It was a time to reflect and just be. I didn’t have to worry about someone else and what they wanted and it was nice. I used to find myself trying to plan every trip with a friend, not even thinking of going alone as an option until visiting Oahu. Now I am already planning trips in my head of all the places I can go and it makes me giddy! Next trip- Los Angeles + San Diego.
Side note: Yes, I am still living in Virginia and never ended up moving to Oahu. It is beautiful but also, island fever is totally a thing.