Wow, where do I even BEGIN?! I can’t believe it’s already been four months since I got back from Hawaii. I went back out to Oahu at the beginning of April for a family shoot and ended up inviting my friend Hannah along to make a vacation out of it!! These personal photos have been sitting in Lightroom waiting to be edited since then. When I come back from traveling, I never know how to accurately express how amazing a place is. Traveling fills my soul and sometimes it’s hard to put that into words. Thankfully the pictures speak for themselves but every time I sit down to write about Hawaii in particular, I get overwhelmed because there’s too much to write about!
But here I am, four months later, reliving my trip through my images and attempting to share it with you. Anyone who knows me knows Hawaii is my favorite place and I get asked at least once every week by friends and followers when I’m moving there. Haha! It’s definitely a goal of mine, which is why I’ve been three times now but with where my business is, I can’t just get up and move right now, but that means I have an excuse to visit every year to get my fill. 🙂
When I booked the family shoot, I immediately asked my sweet and hilarious friend Hannah if she wanted to come. She said yes and it worked out so well because she had an old friend from church who lived there that we ended up staying with (shoutout to Kayla — she was the BEST host). I knew this trip would be fun because I’d get to explore even more of Oahu and show Hannah all my favorite places but I underestimated how great it would be. This was probably my favorite trip to Hawaii and I honestly think it was because of Hannah’s excitement to see the island. Every road we drove on and every place I took her, she squealed and it made me feel like the best tour guide even though I had nothing to do with the beauty of Hawaii she was squealing over. Haha!
When I travel, I tend to pack in as much as humanly possible because I can’t stand missing out when I’m in a place I paid to go so Hannah and I did everything we could think of. Because I had been twice before, I knew the island pretty well and wanted to show Hannah everything I felt was worth seeing! We did SO MUCH in one week.
Our trip started off a little rough with a rental car fiasco because they didn’t have the convertible we rented and they told us we couldn’t get the underage fee waived the way I have for the past four years. I have gotten a little too good at arguing with rental car companies since something always tends to happen when I travel so thankfully we got the fee waived but the whole thing ended up being a constant source of laughter because we were put in a Jeep Wrangler that literally felt like it was going to fall apart any second. Haha!! But after we dealt with that saga and waited for hours to get our ratchet Jeep, we were off to Meet Kayla and get a good night’s rest since we were running on only a few hours’ sleep.
We were rejuvenated the next morning and off to grab coffee and explore the North Shore. The North Shore grows on me every time I visit Hawaii. I love the local feel and the water is almost always clear and turquoise! There are coffee shops, açai bowls, and fruit stands right on the side of the one lane road, people carrying their surfboards from their VW vans down to the water, and everyone enjoying the slow paced Hawaii life. I wanted to give Hannah a good feel for the island on the first day so after we saw the North Shore, we drove around the island from the north side over to the east side to Kualoa Ranch, where a bunch of movies were filmed, like 50 First Dates, Jurassic World, Pearl Harbor and Jumanji. There’s a private beach on their property that you can only get to for free if you walk along the ocean so I knew we had to go there. I did a shoot there the first time I visited Hawaii and it’s still one of my favorite secret spots. There are beach swings and the most gorgeous mountain views. We got caught in a bit of a rainstorm on the way but it was worth the twenty minute walk.
One of my other favorite days was the day we went zip-lining! I kind of wanted to skydive on this trip but Hannah wasn’t a huge fan of that idea so we settled on zip-ling with Climb! I’ve zip-lined at summer camps before but that is nothing compared to this. We were up above the North Shore farmland overlooking the mountains and the ocean riding zips up to half a mile long. It was such a fun experience learning about the Hawaiian culture along the way and getting to know the fun staff! Then that afternoon we snuck into a bunch of the high end hotels in Waikiki, which is always something I tend to do when I’m in a big city. We walked around for hours exploring the Royal Hawaiian, Moana Surfrider, and a few other really unique hotels we passed by and ended up on a rotating rooftop bar overlooking all of Waikiki! We finished that night with mai tais at Duke’s at sunset because that’s just a staple when you’re on Oahu.
Also, I’m not sure how this is possible but Hannah had never been on a hike before this trip so I knew we had to do the Lanikai Pillboxes which is a fairly easy but beautiful hike! It turned out to be QUITE the experience for a first hike. This hike is one of my favorite views on Oahu but the east side of the island tends to be very rainy from November to April so I tried to plan it for a day where it looked decent but of course the weather is always changing on the island and the dark clouds started to appear right as we were climbing up. Before we knew it, it was pouring down rain and we couldn’t see the view. Haha! Thankfully it cleared up slightly but the way down was a mud pit and we practically slid down holding onto the ropes the entire way. Good times. You can always count on me to be the reason you have a few good entertaining stories when you travel. Haha! Always an adventure.
As much as I love exploring when I travel, I have to say — I loved our beach days sipping cocktails by the ocean more than ever! You can pull over on the side of any road in Hawaii and be at the most gorgeous beach and we took full advantage of that! Hannah and I laughed so hard on this trip and I came home feeling tired but so refreshed. I’m overwhelmingly blessed to have such sweet and amazing friends that will travel with me and it’s places like Hawaii that remind me what a gorgeous world we live in. It’s such a gift to travel and get to experience the Lord’s goodness in that! Hawaii is my home away from home and I hope these photos encourage you to book a trip there because everyone should save up and go! So with that being said, here’s a look into our trip back in April! Enjoy and feel free to ask me any questions if you’re visiting soon!