You know that feeling at the end of a vacation- the one that makes you think, “Man, I wish this didn’t have to end”? Yeah, we know that feeling too. And it’s a bummer. But it totally makes sense when you think about it.

First you wait as you save up for this incredible adventure and time of rest, which- let’s be honest- can sometimes takes years. Next, you have to make sure you have all the vacation days from work squared away, which gets tricky with holidays and family time. Then you wait for the date to arrive, all the while getting more and more excited for your break. Sooner or later you start to daydream about how amazing it will feel to be in that beautiful and inspiring place. Every morning you mark off another day from your “Vacation Countdown” until FINALLY it’s your last day of work, and no matter what happens, it’s fine because you know you are out of there soon. When the clock strikes five you go home to finish packing (or maybe you’ve been packed for a week already), and you can’t help but admire the new dress or shirt you bought specifically for this trip. At 10:00pm you go to bed because you are responsible and know that you have to wake up at 4am to get to the airport. The only problem is you KNOW you have to wake up at 4am to get the airport, plus you are crazy excited, so you end up giving up around 3am and start pacing. By 3:30am you think, “Well, maybe it will be super crowded and security will take forever.” So you hop in the car, pay to park, and drag your luggage through the dark parking lot, only to walk inside the airport to find exactly eleven people in line. But hey, you can pat yourself on the back for beating the “rush.” Ten minutes later you are through security and in line at Starbucks where you pay $8 for a coffee that you usually get for free at work. You deserve it though because you are officially on vacation, AND you didn’t sleep a wink. Next you sit down at your gate and sip your coffee while waiting until your plane boards, and then you wait until the captain says over the intercom, “We have permission from the tower to make our way to the runway.” At those sweet words you cheer in your head, and maybe a bit out loud too. You smile like a kid as the speed of the plane’s acceleration pushes you back into your seat, and just like that, you are in the air.

 

 

 

You watch as the plane breaks through the blanket of solid clouds into sunshine, and you see blue sky for the first time in days. You sigh. Everything feels right. Even though you can never sleep on planes, you somehow manage to doze just long enough to miss you free drink and snacks- sad. But again, that’s ok too because the hotel you’re booked at has a complimentary bar. With that happy thought in your head, you read for a couple hours before trying to sleep some more, which really turns into you pretending to sleep so the chatty person next to you doesn’t try to talk to you. And thankfully, just when you neck is starting to cramp, the captain announces that you are in the final ascent. Hallelujah! Once again you look out the window and there. it. is. The place you have been dreaming about FOREVER is finally visible. Now you are totally awake and feeling breathless as you get closer and closer and closer until the plane touches down on the runway. YES YES YES! You unbuckle and wait even more while the people unload, moving slower than molasses, until you free yourself and your carry-ons and step off the plane. In the awkward hallway from the plane to gate you check the temperature seeping in from outside, and it is perfect. Once out into the main airport, you make a quick pit stop before rushing to the luggage return carousel.  Of course you have wait and wait for your bag. SO.MUCH.WAITING. But oh look- you see a bag that looks like yours! Oh wait, nope, it’s someone else’s. Dang it. But good, there is another candidate. You check the tag and YES it is yours, so you snag it and speed walk out to find the hotel pick up shuttle. And guess what- you wait some more. When you see it coming you do a little dance. You get on and literally sit on the edge of your seat the entire 20 minute ride to the hotel. The shuttle pulls up to the front door and you bolt off the bus, and walk/run into the lobby. The front desk lady asks how you are doing and you say that you are beyond excited to be here. She hands you a key card and enthusiastically tells you about the pool and the bar, and that the elevator is down the hall on your left. Your luggage is heavy so off to the elevator you go! Buttons are pressed, doors ding and slide open, and then you are standing in front of room 431 fumbling with the key card, trying to get the little light to turn green. After three tries it works and you fling open the door. You “oooo,” and “awww,” at the room you booked online 4 months ago, drop your luggage, pull back the curtains, and breathe out in relief as you take in your surroundings. You finally made it!

 

 

The next 5 days are utter bliss. You eat incredible local food, relax in a variety of ways, soak up the sun, and maybe even try some new things. You can feel the stress of everyday life begin to melt away...but then, in the blink of the eye, the week is over. Before you know it you’re back on the plane headed home again. This time you don’t look out the window because you don’t want to watch the vacation you waited so long to go on slip away so quickly. All the way home, through the endless lines and waiting and lugging of bags, there is one thought you can’t get out of your head. “Why did it have to end?” Who knows how long it will take to get to go on another true vacation? All you DO know is that you are not ready to go back to “real life.” And man oh man, in that context, “real life” feels like a punch to the gut. 

Here’s the thing- what if didn’t have to be that way? What if we could extend the mindset of vacation into our everyday life? The longing for relaxation, adventure, and beauty is embedded deeply within our hearts. We crave it. We NEED it. So why do we only pursue those things a couple weeks out of the year? The answer to that question is simple: we don’t have to. HOW we go about weaving the spirit of vacation into our daily lives might seem more complicated, but don’t worry. That is what we at Hawaii Hangover have been pondering for years. In fact, we even gave it a name: “The Hawaii Hangover.”

Now that might sound weird and even negative (hangovers are the worst) but hear us out. Hawaiians have an incredible mindset towards life summed up in a term called “Aloha Spirit”. At its core, Aloha Spirit is about remembering to treat ourselves, each other, and the world around us with love and respect. Children are often taught about the Aloha Spirit with a helpful acronym of Hawaiian words:

 

A: “ala,” = watchfulness and alertness.

L: “lokahi,” = working with unity

O: “oia'i'o,” = truthful honesty

H: “ha'aha'a,” = humility

A: “ahonui,” = patient perseverance

 

Within the Hawaiian language, the word “Aloha” on its own also means “Joyfully sharing life.” As you can see, Aloha Spirit embodies the pursuit of relaxation, adventure, and appreciating beauty. Sound familiar? These are the exact same things we look for in vacations. However, the major difference is that the Aloha Spirit is incorporated into a Hawaiian’s daily life, while vacations are relegated to two weeks a year. In terms of choosing between living out Hawaii’s Aloha Spirit versus our Western understanding of Vacation, which sounds better? If you picked Aloha Spirit, you are in the right place, because we did too!

Ok, are you still with us? Good. Now let’s tie this all together. Even if we agree that living out the Aloha Spirit is better than the two week vacation culture, the question still remains about how to make the transition. We think it comes down to learning how to incorporate the elements of vacation into our daily lives. The more we intentionally focus on and practice “joyfully sharing life,” the more we will be able to experience and hold onto the aspects of vacation that we hate leaving behind when we come home. Like hangovers remind of us of good times had in the past (albeit not always pleasantly), bringing the Aloha Spirit into our daily lives keeps our “Hawaii Hangover” going, which is definitely a pleasant experience!

 

 

 

 

You can keep the hangover going while on the move, at work, in the winter, on date night, in your living room, at school- you name it, you can do it. And the best part is, Aloha Spirit isn’t just for Hawaiians, and it isn’t just for beach lovers. It is for everyone, no matter where you are or what you are doing. This is why the concept of the “Hawaii Hangover” is so important to us. We do what we do because we want everyone to be able to bring pieces paradise into their “real life.” Whether it is through a gorgeous piece of Hawaiian Heirloom jewelry, a super fun set of tropical clothing, or a Hawaii themed hat, we want to help you remember the power of the Aloha Spirit.

 

 

 


 

Sources:

https://www.to-hawaii.com/aloha.php

http://www.uhcc.hawaii.edu/aloha/alohaSpirit.php

https://www.huna.org/html/deeper.html

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Photo by Deanna Ritchie on Unsplash