This is 40 - Solo/Hawaii Tips

Oddly enough, I’ve been putting off this final Hawaii post.  I’m not entirely sure why, really.  Maybe the finality of it all was more than I wanted to deal with.  I’m home.  Things are back to normal (or as normal as things are in the summer in my life…many trips are in various planning stages up in here).  The feel of Maui is fading.  And this is the last thing I plan to “do” to close the chapter on this trip.  Once this post is done, my trip will officially be over.  And I’m not sure I want that to happen.

Then again, I could be really lazy.

Because this was my first trip to Hawaii and my first “big” (partially) solo trip (a trip to Disney World when I had my first nervous breakdown in the parking lot of Animal Kingdom doesn’t necessarily count, right??  It was pre-blog…it doesn’t count), I thought I might as well share a few bonus pictures along with some of the things I’ve learned from experiencing both of these things for the first time.

I used this as my mantra because this particular number freaked me the hell out.   The more I used the phrase, the less scary the number seemed.
Solo Tip #1 – You Can Do This

Seriously, Solo Travel is not that hard.  Think about yourself.  Do you mind doing things by yourself??  Are you cool with your own company??  Do you need someone to push you to do things??  NO!!  You don't.  Come on, you got this.

Don't you want to be here right now??  I do.
Solo Tip #2 – Get Up and at ‘em

Now, this one is a bit harder, but…get out of bed.  Get off of the chair.  Get moving.  The more you sit, the longer you can convince yourself that you don’t want to leave the room/balcony/bed.  If there is no one else around to grab your arm and drag you away from Candy Crush, you could spend the whole day doing nothing.  So no excuses.  Grab your own arm and drag yourself away from Candy Crush.  You were only going to spend money on more lives anyway.  Get moving.

Solo Tip #3 – You are Totally Allowed to Have Downtime

That being said, you do have the option to just lounge.  Everyone does.  Everyone always does.  In fact, this is the thing I think we just don’t do enough while traveling.  You’re in a new place that is all fresh and shiny, so IHAVETOSEEITALLRIGHTNOW!!!!!!!

No.  Calm down.  Stop screaming.

Not every moment has to be scheduled.  Just sitting on the balcony of your hotel room (or in a chair or even on the bed), reading a book is a perfectly acceptable pastime.  You may even want to make that an entire trip (this one was supposed to be mostly like that – more downtime than scheduled time).  But if you’re like me, there is a fine line between lazy and downtime.  Though it is very possible that downtime is just lazy with a bottle of wine.

Solo Tip #4 - Talking IS Possible

It is very well known that I don’t normally like people.  And I actually don’t like talking.  I can do it, obviously.  But it’s not a favorite thing to do.  I guess that’s the Introvert in me talking.  But I just don’t like making conversation with others.  But after a few days, you're going to want to communicate with the outside world.  Even if it is just to make sure your voice box still works.

Depending on the vacation you're taking, you may be around people more or less than you'd expect to be.  It's easy enough to strike up a conversation with someone in the coffee line ("Well this is a longer line than expected").  Or on a boat tour ("You're from *insert location here*??  The weather sure is better here than there!!").  If you're in a foreign country, it tends to be easier to talk to others because they love your accent as much as you love theirs ("What are you doing in Wales??").  You just have to make a bit of effort.  When you want to.  The other times...feel free to bask in your own silence. 

Solo Tip #5 - Embrace (but Don't Rely Solely on) the Selfie

The greatest feature of the iPhone has to be the front facing camera.  Some people use it to take thousands of pictures of themselves with duck lips while in the car.  Whatever, man.  You do you.  I rarely did Selfies because it just felt weird.  And I was worried that I would be judged because I was taking pictures of myself smiling maniacally in the car (duck lips optional).  I started slowly embracing the Selfie when I went to China, but I was ready to go in Maui.  Why??  There was no one with me to take actual pictures (this is why the Selfie is a Solo Tip...keep with me here).

A different kind of Selfie.
So the Selfie had to happen out of necessity.  If you wanted proof you were there, you take a Selfie.  And here's the reality, everyone is taking a Selfie.  Not that you need to follow the "everyone else is doing it, so why shouldn't I??" sort of thing.  But why not??  A Selfie is mostly harmless.  And one day you will figure out the right angle for you.  I keep thinking I found it, but then I lose it.

That being said, you don't have to rely solely on the Selfie.  If you're somewhere where you want your picture taken, ask someone that looks nice enough.  You can usually figure out who that person is.  Just ask.  Or if, while you're taking a Selfie, someone asks you if you'd like them to take your picture, say yes.  People are friendly (when they're not being awful).  I was at a beautiful scenic location and said, "No thanks, that's ok" to a guy who asked if I wanted him to take my picture.  That's because I'm an idiot.

A real Selfie with the best hair I had on the trip.
Solo Tip #6 – Touring is an Option

I tend to shy away from tours.  Mostly, my theory is I can do it myself.  But the more I travel, the more open I am to tours.  Why??  They know what they are doing.  Yeah.  Tours are there for a reason.  It is easier on the tourist and you get to see what you're there to see.

Did I want to rent a car and drive the Road to Hana??  Nope.  Could I could have??  Sure.  But would I have seen everything I did on the tour??  Probably not.  Did I want to drive a boat and snorkel by myself??  Nope.  Could I have??  Nope.  Ok, so this one doesn't work so well.  Who cares though??  The theory is still sound.

The extra benefit of tours for the Solo Traveler is contact with the outside world.  Everyone is the tour for the same reason and conversations begin out of proximity more than anything else.  But at a certain point in the tour, you form a small bond.  You may not become Facebook friends, but you may be able to share a knowing glance with another passenger over some jerkwad and their weird behavior.  And that's all you really need, right??

Sometimes you need a flower given to you by your dreamy tour guide.
Solo Tip #7 - Don't Be Afraid of Food

You may think I'm going to zig with this one, but I'm gonna zag here.

I struggle with dining alone.

I know, right??  The one thing you wouldn't think would be my problem, right??  But it just is.  I do a ton of things by myself and most things don't bother me.  Shopping, movies, concerts, whatever.  I've embraced the idea that I'm not going to miss out on something I want to do because I can't find anyone to tag along with me.  Screw that.

Tasting Poi.
But dining...that's the solo activity that makes me feel a little out of sorts.  And it shouldn't.  Especially now that I have an iPhone or iPad with me at all times.  It's the perfect accessory for the Solo Diner.  I still can't shake the feeling of "weird" over the fact that I'm at a table by myself at a restaurant.  Since I was here alone and I like to eat, I was going to have to get over this feeling.

The easiest thing to do is to belly up to the bar and order some grub.  It just makes things easier.  And you are more likely to have a conversation with others (if you so choose).  Or, you can put your face directly into the soft glow of your book and ignore the outside world with a glass of whatever in your hand.  Either way, get out and eat.  You can do this.  We both can.

Really tasting Poi.
Hawaii Tip #1 - Makeup and Hair Products are not Necessary

I brought my flat iron.  I brought my Moroccan Oil and hairspray.  I had my MAC StudioFix and my mascara.  I had it all.

I used it none.

Well, I take that back.  I used it once.  On the night we went to the luau, I did use a little bit of makeup.  But other than that…nothing.  I will say, this was the one (and only) time I wished I had long hair so I could put it up in a ponytail or a bun or something.  But I also had pseudo-beachy waves.  And by “pseudo” I mean, my hair has no bend to it, so if it’s still wet when I’m sleeping, it will dry in a ridiculous manner.  I’m calling those my beachy-waves.  Don't judge me.

Hawaii Tip #2 - Neither is a Bra

I was in public many times basically in my jammies.  Now, my jammies may be yoga pants, a sports bra and a tank top (also known as my gym attire...I like to multi-task with my outfits), but they are still jammies.  And after seeing the other traveler's attire on the first day, I didn’t blink an eye with my choices.  After all, who was I going to see in Lahaina that would know who I was??  And many people looked much worse than I did.

I did dress up once.
Hawaii Tip #3 - Sunscreen is Your Friend

“You are going to die there.”

People told me that a lot.

If you are even remotely fair-skinned, there will be a high probability of a sunburn.  People made fun of me because I brought six bottles of sunscreen to the island.  I walked away from the island, with barely any color.  Look who’s laughing now.

As I sat in the cabana or as we walked down the street, I had a timer going on my phone.  After one hour, the alarm sounded and I reapplied sunscreen.  It may have been a bit much, but I didn’t want to take any chances.  Pay attention to the sun and it won't murder you.

Two different times on the beach.
Hawaii Tip #4 - Always Take Pics of your Driver/Guide

If you take a tour while on the island and your guide is a very good looking guy, you should take pictures of him.  You will want to remember the handsome.  And if you have a pic of the two of you together, you can always freak out your family as you share the picture of your "one true love"

This is neither a Driver nor a Guide.  But it was a cool picture, so there.
Hawaii Tip #5 – Decide What Works for “Your Hawaii”

I started “my Hawaii” trip on a whim.  My deciding factor on the island and the hotel was the proximity to the beach along with the pool and spa situation.  I didn’t buy a guide book and hardly looked on TripAdvisor.  I was all about the relaxation.

Danielle joined me midway through the trip.  She had read books and had come up with the idea of the Road to Hana Tour.  The first day without a tour, she ran three miles on the island.  On the day we were leaving, she didn’t like just sitting in the room, lounging before we had to check out.  When she left the island, she went to another, even more remote island for hiking and...other outdoor stuff.  She didn’t do the relaxation thing.

Neither one of us were wrong on our version of Hawaii.  Obviously, there is enough in Hawaii to satisfy both of us (as we’ve been texting non stop since we returned home, “We have to go baaaaaack!!”).  Know how you want to spend time in Hawaii and go for it.

As #ThisIs40 ends for now (just wait for Part 2 at the end of the summer!!), the interest in another Solo Trip or Hawaii Trip only increases.  I can do this again.  I will do this again.  


Popular posts from this blog

Nun Cookies of Madrid

A Mighty Big Deal in Panama - The Panama Canal

The Crocodile Incident on a Nighttime Safari