2500 miles away from the mainland United States, and 4,108 miles from Japan; Hawai’i is the most remote islands in the world.  It’s home to the Hula, Ukulele, surfing, year long sunshine, and beautiful scenery.  The Big Island of Hawai’i (the official name is just Hawai’i) is the youngest of the eight main islands at 800,000 years old, while it’s older sister Kauai is 6 million years old.  The chain of Hawaiian Islands consist of 132 islands officially, but just 8 are inhabited and the most well known.  They are: Niihau, Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Lani, Kahoolawe, Maui, and The Big Island.

Hawai’i’s politics are convoluted, and controversial.  In a nut shell, the Hawaiian monarchy was over thrown by some rich British guys that wanted the land.  They held the Queen prisoner in her own palace (the only palace in the United States), and held her at bayonet while she signed a treaty handing over her kingdom to the British.  Naturally, this has caused an upset with the Native Hawaiians and has called for a sovereignty movement.  Hawaii is often looked at as just a tourist destination, but you have to get closer and look at the true heart of the ‘aina.  It’s the land, and it’s people that make this culturally diversified melting pot unique to the rest of the world.  On Oahu lives 1.4 million people, each with different ethnic and religious backgrounds.  What’s truly amazing is that we are a community of people embracing each other for who we really are.  Sure there lives some bigotry, and stereotypes, but if you look at the rest of the world the same holds true.  Respect for one another, the Hawaiian culture, and diversity goes a long way.

As a matter of fact, that’s one of the reason’s why we chose to move to Hawai’i.  Sure the weather was a deciding factor as well (Michigan winters are terrible), living in a multi-cultural state appealed to our small town up-bringing.  While it was a bit of a culture shock finding our places, we soon seemed to slip into our roles.  We’ve been here now for 14 years, and only a handful of times entered my mind that we would be able to live a much more financially conventional lifestyle on the mainland.  That quickly disappears though when we go on a hike through the tropical rainforest, or take to the ocean for a quick swim or SUP session.  In fact, living the Hawaiian lifestyle is all that we know now.  To move away from home is unfathomable.  There are times though, were it’s difficult to be away from our families. Surely when I see updated photos or have FaceTime conversations, makes being 4,000 miles away from Michigan difficult.  But then I take a step outside, breath that fresh Hawaiian air, and remember that home is where the heart is.  And a plane ticket is $1400.00 away.