I love to travel.
I was fortunate enough to have parents who wanted to show their children the world — instilling wanderlust in me at an early age — and I am married to someone who thankfully shares my joy of seeing new places and experiencing different cultures.
But I have to admit, it is especially gratifying when people elsewhere have nice things to say about my own home turf.
This month, the aforementioned fabulous wife treated me to a trip to Hawaii to celebrate 10 years of marriage — and to get away from the kids for the first time in a decade (insert maniacal laughter here).
I had been to the island of Oahu when I was a kid, and have spent years thoroughly boring people with stories about my time there, so my partner figured it was time I finally went back — and shut the heck up about it!
Walking around Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, which sports a strong Asian and Aboriginal cultural influence, we remarked how at home we felt there… like we were in Vancouver. It was safe, beautiful and seemed remarkably easy to slip right into the lifestyle. We both decided we wanted to live there, or visit frequently.
One evening, we went for dinner at a beachside restaurant called The Shorebird, and when the manager, Dave — a large, happy-looking Hawaiian man — found out we were from the Vancouver area, his eyes widened and he said, “Canucks? We love you B.C. guys here. More than anyone, you really understand the Spirit of Aloha. You’re more like Hawaiian people than anyone else in North America.”
Maybe he says that to everyone (You Danish people are more like Hawaiians… Yo, you New Jersey people are just like Hawaiians…), but it felt sincere, and he bought us drinks and welcomed me back “home” — so I’m sticking with being pseudo-Hawaiian, thank you very much.
In fact, I really think we should consider an effort to make Honolulu a sister city of Squamish. They have a famous North Shore… so do we. They have a big mountain called Diamond Head (OK, volcano), and we have a Diamond Head, too.
They surf. We snowboard… which I always said was just surfing a mountain. Stand-up paddleboarding — a true Hawaiian sport — is even getting popular here.
Hey, the similarities are there, from our love of community and welcoming, friendly attitude (that’s the aloha spirit) to our outdoor, nature-loving lifestyle and understanding of tourism as an industry. We can definitely be the Aloha town.
I’ll even humbly and with great sacrifice volunteer to head this sister city movement, and travel to Hawaii frequently as ambassador for Squamish… especially since The Chief didn’t really go for my “Hawaii satellite newspaper office” idea.
Hey, you can’t blame a guy for just wanting to go back home to paradise.
Oh well… Aloha.