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About Holoholo Wale

  • Here’s a cool thing: Holoholo Wale was mentioned in Native Peoples Jan/Feb 2011 issue as a great resource on the web for more information about Hawaii!

Confession. I was not all that interested in Hawaii at first. Too touristy, a cliche, whatever. Maybe it was the Elvis movies or the Brady Bunch in Hawaii episodes or the glitzy ad campaigns that showed swimming pools that looked like mini-golf courses. A significant birthday brought me there, my mom’s dash-zero year meant a family gathering, a holiday home, a minivan.

At the time, I was living a divided life between two places, a small town in Austria and Seattle, Washington. In order to get to Hawaii for this January birthday, my mate and I boarded a flight in wintery Vienna. Two days later — after a one-night stop in my Seattle apartment to repack — we stepped out of the plane on to the tarmac at the Kona airport and I fell in love.

To this day, I’m convinced that it was the smell of the plumeria flowers mixed with the salt of the ocean. We had not yet left the airport, and I was ready to sign up for everything: the Aloha shirts, the overpriced cocktails, the lazy sound of Hawaiian music telling my inner critic to shut up and learn from the sea turtles who lay on the warm black sand doing … nothing. I took one deep breath of the Hawaiian air and blinking in the bright sunshine, I fell. And fell hard.

A Holoholo Wale slideshow on World Hum

More than 10 years later, I am still enchanted with Hawaii. I’ve been back many times — we were married there, I’ve written a Hawaii guide book and the phrase “When we move to Hawaii” gets muttered frequently, especially between the months of November and March when the Pacific Northwest can be dark, wet, depressing. In the meantime, Hawaii has also become a real place for me, not just a postcard of a palm tree on a flawless beach. My love for Hawaii has inspired me to learn about her history, her native people, her environmental and political challenges.

But Hawaii has also changed how I travel. Outside of Purdy’s Mac Nut Farm on Molokai, there’s a sign that says “Aloha — Slow Down, This is Molokai.” What great advice. There’s a Hawaiian term — holoholo wale — that means to wander around aimlessly, to stray. This is without question my favorite method of travel. To be in Hawaii with no place to go, nothing to do, no particular destination in mind, I can think of few things I’d rather do. Where is this wandering going to take us? Stick around, who knows?

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