#sparktravels: Hawai’i Travel Diary

A short while ago, I had the opportunity to go to the Hawaiian Islands. Driving through Hawai’i (I promise that’s the correct spelling and pronunciation), blasting traditional Hawaiian songs, I fell completely in love with the land.

We often remarked how we felt like we were in another country – it felt too surreal, too culturally different, too beautiful to be a part of the mainland.

After 10 days of travel, several rainbows, and one hundred organic meals later, I’m determined to return.

Hawai’i coastline from above.
Father and son play in the Maui waters.
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View of the sunrise, above the clouds, from the summit of Haleakala in Haleakala National Park, Maui.

Watching the sun rise as I sat atop a dormant volcano, high above the clouds, left me in awe. In Maui, we drove the famous “Road to Hana”, past places featured in the Jurassic Park movies. Then, we somehow found ourselves driving further onto one of the most dangerous roads in the world, with super narrow, steep, windy, rocky roads lining the edges of cliffs. I went on a helicopter ride over both the West Maui Mountains and the island of Moloka’i and couldn’t help but shed a few tears as I came eye to eye with a 2,165 foot waterfall and the tallest sea cliffs on Earth.

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Kahiwa Falls, about 2165 feet tall, seen from a helicopter.
The tallest sea cliffs on Earth on the island of Moloka’i, HI.

On the Big Island, I snorkeled at night and brushed up against giant Manta Rays, seeing deep inside their mouths and watching them dance as they fed. I hiked through dense jungle and found wild land that met an even wilder sea. Hot molten lava spewed upwards from deep pools in a crater atop an active volcano in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, the bright red visible from miles away.

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Jungle near Pepeekeo, Island of Hawai’i.
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Coconut seller on Punalu’u Beach.

On both islands, we engaged in discussions with locals that only reiterated how kind and loving these people are, despite the gentrification and ignorance of their land. The people of Maui maintained a constant “chill factor,” and seemed to be permanently on island time, which I loved in comparison to the expectations and bustle back in the main states.

The perfect place to shed inhibitions and worries, the islands of Hawai’i left me craving to see more of the land I hope to someday call my home.

Here’s more of my photographic recap of just a few of the amazing places and people I saw along my trip:

Iris Bilich

Iris Bilich is a Journalism and Sociology double major.

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