Why Coming From Paradise Is Bittersweet

Why Coming From Paradise Is Bittersweet

Reasons I'll be vacationing from Hawaii for a while.
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I lived in Hawaii for a long period of my life.

Sad to admit, but I was "flown" and not "grown" there. However, I lived in that paradise for the largest portion of my human life, from ages 10 to 18. I moved there with my family at the pivotal time of pre-adolescence. It's the time when you're trying to make friends, shedding baby fat, dealing with your awkward growth spurt, trying to act older than you really are and balancing your life between being ridiculously angry and ridiculously happy.

As I grew older and settled into the next period of human metamorphosis, I began to soak up the culture of Hawaii like a sponge. We lived in the Puna district on Hawai'i Island, which is famous for its agricultural history, the volcano Kilauea and variety in many things. However, Puna also has its infamous parts, like hippie cults and easy access to many drugs.

Hawaii is unlike any place I'd ever lived in or traveled to. Hawaii is part of the U.S., but there's a different feel, or "vibe," and it's very difficult to detach yourself from the balmy, sunny, plumeria-scented universe that is Puna and also Hawai'i. Almost every time, without fail, I cry once we reach Hilo airport and it's time for me to say goodbye. I cry because it's saying goodbye to more than just a place and its people. It feels like I'm saying goodbye to a whole culture that contributed to shaping me as a human being.

When traveling, or while I'm at school in the Midwest, and I mention where I hailed from, everyone asks me why I would ever leave paradise. The second question is always whether I plan to go back to Puna after I graduate from school. And although there's no place that I've discovered yet that is more genuine or organic, I always have to say, "No, not yet," in a sad, sing-song note that's almost apologetic.

Bluntly said, Hawaii was just not a very good place for me to find my ambition as a young adult. Hawaii is a state of islands with a very limited amount of job openings or opportunities for career advancement. From my experience and observation, I've seen that Hawaii is a great place for childhood, and also a great place for the elderly. However, in the presumably career-based, fastest period of human growth, post-adolescence, Hawaii doesn't leave a lot of room or bounty.

I will always have respect and love for Hawaii, Hawai'i, and Puna. I've been away in the mainland (the continental U.S.) for almost two years now, and every time I have a short break at home for about two to three weeks, I almost never want to leave. If I moved back right after I graduated, I know I would be stuck forever. I'd be stuck in a paradise, yes, surrounded by sun and rain-ripened life. However, I'm not ready to be stuck yet. I'm not at the age to be consumed by a routine that makes me so satisfied that I'll never want to grow. I love Hawaii, and I will go back, but it's just not my time, and it won't be for a while.

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

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5 Vital And Helpful Tips I Live By When Packing For A Trip

Try and pack smarter, not harder.

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If you are anything like me, you tend to overpack thinking you are being a great packer and being ready for any scenario that life may throw at you. Well, that is, unfortunately untrue, and I have learned that you are only doing more harm than good. Over the years, I have come up with five tips I always use when traveling and have been proven to work. You've heard of the five golden rules of life, and, well, these are the five golden rules/tips of packing.


1. Start with a packing list.

This is the best tip I could give to anyone else who is getting ready to travel. Making a list is very useful, especially when stressed about your travel. You will not forget anything because you have it all written down. A packing list is a great way to keep organized when packing.

2. Use space bags.

Now, this is a tip my dad lives by. Space bags are great when you are packing because it protects your clothes and makes room to put a lot in your suitcase. The crazy story of a time when my dad was traveling, and his friend's bag was soaked with the shampoo he brought on the plane. All his clothes and everything inside the suitcase was ruined. So always use space bags because you never know what could happen on the flight. You can buy a space bag here.

3. Pack the essentials first.

I will be honest and say that I do over-pack a lot. I use the line "just in case" as an excuse to pack my entire house. But I have learned that packing for "just in case" is a waste of time. When you first sit down to pack, lay out all your essentials. For example, clothes that you will wear during the trip. You will be surprised to see how effective it is.

SEE ALSO: 10 Reasons Chicago Is The Best City In The World

4. ALWAYS pack an extra outfit in your carry on.

This tip is one that I have been very grateful that I used. A while ago during my trip to Canada, my check-in bag was missing and delayed for multiple hours. Luckily I had an extra outfit to keep me fresh and not feel gross. It is always crucial to this in your carry on In case of emergencies such as your bag getting lost.

5. Put identification on your suitcase.

Everyone in the airport somehow tends to have the same black or red suitcase that you have, which only means confusing when you're trying to find your check-in bag. To quickly identify your suitcase, put a sticker, or tie a ribbon on the handle. You can easily pick up your suitcase and leave. This will prevent any sneaky people trying to steal or claim that your suitcase is theirs.

P.S.: Use a bright color ribbon or a different sticker. Also, tie the ribbon properly to make sure it's secured.


I live by these five packing tips every time I travel so I hope you can use them the next time you take a trip!

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