A Windward Jewel
Hawaii is a very special place. More so than most visitors might realize. Flights to the islands are always the best; it’s a mix of excited people starting the trip of a lifetime, or the kama’aina coming home. When landing in Honolulu, there’s a communally sigh between the locals. We’re back on island. We’re home.
Kailua is a sleepy little beach town on the windward side of Oahu. Recently, it’s been put in the country’s spotlight as the place where the president vacations. To me though, it’s much more. It’s home. The waves crashing on the beach. The birds singing to one another. The dramatic Koolaus towering over the island. The wind that blows through the palms. The turtles that swim in the sparklingly blue water. The aina, or land, is home for me.
It’s an up with the sun, down with the sun kind of community. Drive through town at nine o’clock and it’s a ghost town. Drive through 12 hours later, and you have a bustling, sweet, cute as a button town.
Sundays on island are particularly lazy. Pancakes and pog at Mokes, the best breakfast place on island. (Pog is the Hawaiian equivalent to orange juice. It stands for passion fruit, orange juice, and guava. It’s nectar of the gods.) From breakfast, bike home, pick up a book and towel, and saunter down to the beach. Come home in time for a family dinner.
This particular morning, I happened to be up with the sun. Living so close to the beach, I had to go down for sunrise. Feel the soft white sand between my toes. The ocean breeze in my hair. The smell of salt in my nose. Kailua Beach has been ranked as the most beautiful beach multiple times. Sitting on the sand, hearing the ocean, the singing birds, you understand why.
As any parent has said, ‘There really is no place like home.’
Austin Weihmiller is a member of the Youth Travel Blogging Mentorship Program.
All photos courtesy and copyright Austin Weihmiller.