Living daily life in a Hawaiian vacation state of mind

I’ve been to the Hawaiian island of Kauai a few times, and while I am not a fan of sun and heat, I am a huge fan of the way a lot of people there live. I’ve consistently seen folks of Kauai being kinder and more courteous than people anywhere else in North America, even in high tension situations like rush hour traffic. I’ve also seen lots of large families having get-togethers and bbq’s on the beach — they seem to really value quality time together. And I’ve seen a lot of older people being really active, like surfing and even doing sit-ups at the beach.

I think all of that is amazing. Those are things that I value greatly, and things that I feel get lost in the hectic madness of the North American world. We’re always so busy trying to get ahead, get better jobs, make more money, and buy nicer stuff, that we neglect the stuff that actually makes us happier — like being kind, spending time with people we care about, doing fun things, and staying fit and active.

But what I don’t understand is that most people go to places like Hawaii for vacations to get just a short taste of what life is like when those things are prioritized over rat race stuff. They spend a week there, relax, have a great time…and then head home and jump right back into the rat race.

If people like the pace of life while they’re on vacation in Hawaii, if they like it so much that it’s what they want to escape to when they have some time off, why don’t they just incorporate some qualities of Hawaiian/vacation living into their daily lives so they get small doses of it all the time?

I don’t know. I think probably because we don’t want to stand out from our suburban neighbours and look like some sort of lazy hippie weirdos. And I think it’s tough to change your habits. And I think most people aren’t self-aware enough to realize that they could be much happier and healthier.

Personally, I think most of us would benefit from a bit more of a Hawaiian vacation approach to our entire lives.

awkward-funny-family-vacation-photos-porn-shoot-beach

I looked up “family on vacation” pics and found this. Not what I had in mind but I’ll run with it.

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to judge a man by the length of his hair

last xmas, jenn and i spent a few weeks in kauai. while cruising around exploring the island, we listened to the local radio. one night on the way home from another day of adventures, a funky old tune about hair came on that i fell in love with immediately. i waited to hear the name of the artist or song but never caught it so when we got back to our place, i hopped on my computer and started searching for said tune. to my amazement, i couldn’t find it. i spent hours but came up empty-handed. i was shocked and disappointed.

since then i’ve thought about that tune a few times and wondered if i would die without ever finding out what it was. i could tell it was old but i had never heard it before so i thought if i had gone 36 years without hearing it before, i’d probably go another 36 without hearing it again.

fast forward to yesterday when i was watching slap bass lessons on youtube. in the related vids section, i noticed a song called hair by graham central station. i furrowed my brow and wondered, could this be it?

yep, that was it, and it’s as awesome as i remember.

i love when happy coincidences like this come occur. i was totally resigned to never hearing that song again, and now i can not only listen to it whenever i want, but i can also play the bass part whenever i want. i would never have imagined it.

fucking eh.

additionally nice is that this song will probably always remind me of nights in kauai with jenn, driving home in the dark after checking out tiny towns, meeting wonderful locals, witnessing the oddness of xmas decorations juxtaposed against flip flops and humid tropical weather, soaking in the unique culture of the island. that’s my fave part about this. my love for nostalgia is strong.

hawaii is weird

jenn and i recently spent 2 weeks on the island of kauai. this was our third time going there together, and it was as much fun as ever. we always do lots of hiking, exploring, meeting nice folks, snorkeling, laying on sunny beaches, all the usual shit you do in tropical places.

but this time, i was acutely aware of a few things that i found intriguing. first, i was amazed at how universally magical that place is. i mean, i don’t even like the tropics (i hate heat and intense sunlight) but even i was moved countless times by classic hawaiian tropes. like one night on a drive home from the north shore, we stopped at a beach. the sun was going down just then, painting the sky all kinds of lovely colours. a bunch of locals were still in the water surfing. the moon was already out and particularly bright white that night. it reflected nicely on the giant rolling waves. the air was warm. it felt like i was living in a scene from a hawaiian postcard, or one of elvis’ hawaii movies. it was a moving, touching time, and i was grateful to witness it. it struck me that if even a sun-loathing cynic like myself could be so touched by what i saw then, it’s no wonder everyone else flocks there. and there were lots of moments like that. i wonder if there’s something in our DNA that makes people love the tropics so much, or if it’s just the result of marketing and propaganda. probably a bit of both. anyway, that evening on the beach reminded me of this great pornos for pyros song.

the next thing i thought was neat was the culture of the locals. people there (not the tourists, of course) are so fucking laid back. for instance, people in rush hour traffic in kauai don’t tailgate or flip birds or yell at each other. they slow down and allow other people to merge lanes, giving lots of friendly waves. it’s an amazing thing to witness, so different from here. the small local shops are loose about the hours they keep, and relaxed in their approach to customers. there is no high pressure salespeople hovering around you. usually the staff is more like a friendly stoner who is just hanging out there in case you need a hand with anything. families spend lots of time BBQ-ing and hanging out together at beaches. i find it all really inspiring. it’s nice to see people live slower, simpler, happier.

something i noticed that i didn’t like was how, despite the magic and slow pace of kauai, you could still tell the place was very much american soil. it feels like the US is only too happy to have a wild, tropical paradise in their possession that is convenient for every fat, old, white american to visit, where they can still feel safe. you just know that none of those gross whales would ever go to cuba or brazil. it’s almost like hawaii is a zoo where old white people think they can see how primitive savages live and even get a taste for it, but without ever being put in a scary situation where they might have to deal with terrifying non-americans. i wonder how the locals feel about the hordes of such mainlanders coming over and feeling at home just because they’re technically on american soil, even though it’s clear that at its heart, this place is very, very different from anywhere else in the US. i bet the locals hate it. i know i would.

hawaii isn’t a place i can spend a lot of time — it’s too hot and sunny, too many tourists, and too many people in general — but it’s a god damned fascinating place that inspires a lot of mixed feelings in me.

2014: well, that sucked

just kidding! i actually really enjoyed 2014. like, really enjoyed it. i dare say that i think it was one of the best years of my life. there was just so much stuff that felt great. for example…

i fixed up and sold 4wd tercel #6.

we spent a weekend in hot springs cove with some pals for my and jenn’s birthdays.

we played soccer with the gang for the first time in years, did lots of swimming and hanging out at the quarry and fish ladders, watched creepshow 2 on the side of the house and surely gave the neighbour kids nightmares for years to come, had a few campfires in the yard, got the chickens and subsequently fell madly in love with them, watched twin peaks from start to finish for the second time and was just as affected as the first time, got inspired and wrote a new song (first one in a year or two), road tripped to burning man and back, had an amazing and unpredictable halloween, spent 2 lovely weeks in kauai, had a wonderful festivus, xmas, and holiday season in general…

…and had many other hangouts and good times along the way i have either forgotten or are too numerous to mention.

i saw a lot of great bands this year, too: skinny puppy, die antwoord, obituary, death to all (a death tribute band), the cult, noisem, gorguts, probably some others too. way more than usual, and i had a lot of fun at all the shows.

and on top of all that stuff, i did a ton of boring crap around the house, which made me feel productive and happy. feeling productive and happy made me do more stuff, which made me more happy. it was a terrible snowball of positivity.

success-is-like-a-snowball

i looked up ‘positivity snowball’ and found this. no matter what i just said about positivity and snowballs, this inspirational poster is still a fucking turd. and who the hell is steve ferrante?

in fact, i had such a good time in 2014 that i don’t believe i can possibly maintain it into 2015. so i’m giving up. i’m going to hope for the best but expect the worst because that’s the only defense i can take against a fabulous year and the unrealistic expectations it creates.

so until next time or we all die, keep your sights low, everyone. happy new year.

“oh great, another year.”