#VisitOahu Part 1: Aloha Spirit

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It sounds dramatic, but my recent visit to O’ahu was a bit life changing. It’s difficult to pinpoint any specific moment as more significant than the rest, which is exactly why the destination is so special. From its natural beauty to rich culture, my week in Hawaii left me awestruck.

How deeply the adventure touched me (and every travel professional in my small group working with the O’ahu Visitors Bureau to become Master Specialists) still surprises me, especially since I thought I was prepared for all the sightseeing and learning I'd experience on the island.

Well, O’ahu brought its A-game. I’m still trying to lift my jaw up off the floor.

All this goodness is what makes Hawaii such a dreamy honeymoon locale. It’s also the reason the Smitten blog is going to be a little heavy on O’ahu in the coming weeks. There’s just too much beauty not to pass along. Needless to say, over the next month or so you’ll find oodles of Hawaii honeymoon inspiration as I share the highlights from my time with the Visitors Bureau and wonderful partner suppliers Pleasant Holidays and Journese.

It wasn’t easy to pick where to begin, but if I absolutely had to choose just one takeaway that I’ll forever hold near and dear, it is this: The Aloha Spirit.

Aloha

On our first morning on O’ahu, everyone in our group was asked to share a one-word definition of what they understood aloha to mean at that time—no duplicate answers allowed.

Family. Welcome. Love. Energy. Compassion. Warmth. The list continued...

Collectively, the responses quickly revealed that aloha is far more than a greeting or goodbye. As we found out shortly thereafter, it is a way of life—one literally written into law.

In 1986, Hawaii formally acknowledged the importance of the aloha spirit in the Hawaiian islands by giving it a written definition. According to the statute: 

"Aloha Spirit is the coordination of mind and heart within each person. It brings each person to the self. Each person must think and emote good feelings to others."

It’s a poignant guiding principle, which the law continues to outline through specific character traits, including:

Akahai: meaning kindness, to be expressed with tenderness

Lōkahi: meaning unity, to be expressed with harmony

ʻOluʻolu: meaning agreeable, to be expressed with pleasantness

Haʻahaʻa: meaning humility, to be expressed with modesty

Ahonui: meaning patience, to be expressed with perseverance

The legislation further explains that these characteristics “expressed[ed] the charm, warmth and sincerity of Hawaii’s people” and were the philosophy of native Hawaiians.

Take a moment to ponder this approach to life.

While incredibly beautiful, even more amazing is that the Aloha Spirit truly does permeate Hawaii. You can feel it when you’re talking to a local. You can taste it when you’re eating fresh seafood. You can smell it when you’re soaking up a Pacific sunrise.

Aloha.