Aloha Hawaii!

Living in Switzerland is pretty sweet. It’s got mountains, lakes and hiking paths that lead to breathtaking views. But it doesn’t have pineapples…or coconuts…or palm trees.

I like palm trees. I miss palm trees. I also miss drinking cheap Pina Coladas while looking at palm trees.

 

After nearly two years in the Alps, it was time for a real hardcore island vacation, and what better place to do this than The Big Island, Hawaii.

I’ve been to Maui and I’ve been to Honolulu before, but I’ve never been to the Kona. I’ve also never had to fly there from Europe, which is really, really far away from Hawaii.

That was something I didn’t consider when planning the trip. Think about how far away the island is from the US and then add in another 24 hours of flying and train travel – and you pretty much get how sore my butt was after sitting that long.

But once I landed and saw my friendly neighborhood palm trees, it was worth it.

Hawaii really is a heavenly place.

The previous times I had been to Hawaii, I’ve stayed in hotels. This time I decided to stay like a local in an AirBnB, and it was a blast.

My private veranda at the AirBnB

My first few nights I stayed in Sylvia and Karen’s Balai Kona Tropical Paradise (see listing here) that had an outdoor shower. Outdoor showers sound a little strange, but If you haven’t tried it, you need to consider it on your next trip to the tropics. First of all, it’s refreshing. And secondly, it totally makes sense as you don’t have all that extra humidity in your house (it’s already pretty humid there to begin with).

Door to my outside shower

My room had its own bathroom (inside) which is still a necessity for me when traveling. For some reason, I’m okay with sharing a living area, but like my own private toilet.

In addition to the cute outdoor shower and the accommodations, the hosts of the house were helpful in mapping out my day for me.

Inside the shower. They had little fairy lights for night showering. Much cuter in real life.

I think I saw more of the island than I would have due to their suggestions – and also got the insider’s guide to the best happy hours, best place to run, best place to swim with dolphins in the wild (for free) and best place to sit and watch the sunset.

Plus, when living like a local you get to participate in whatever is happening. In this case, they were having a neighborhood BBQ so I was able to check out local foods and hear stories about the area. The whole experience gave me a feel for what it would be like to live there – something you miss out when in a hotel.

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