Let me warn you right now: this post is going to come across as whiny, complacent, and downright obnoxious. Perhaps even a bit elitist and pretentious.
If I’m being honest though, I have a confession: being raised in Hawaii has completely ruined my appreciation for beautiful scenery. It has set unrealistically high standards that very few places can live up to. My mind has been poisoned by my paradise home.
I know, I know. Poor David, he can’t appreciate beauty because he was exposed to insane amounts of it his entire life. His life must be soooo hard not being able to appreciate a place for what it is because he had to grow up in Hawaii.
Believe me, I get it. I understand I have no right to complain. Which is why I’m not. I’m so grateful to have grown up in Hawaii. I’m even more grateful that I haven’t become desensitized by its beauty. The single most important lesson travel has taught me is how fortunate I am. I have a lot more years ahead of me filled with, I hope, many more exotic destinations, but to this day, I have not seen anywhere as beautiful as my home.
So I say this not to complain, but simply to express the idea that I cannot help but compare Bahamian beaches or Thai sunsets or Swiss Alps to Oahu’s north shore and the Ko’olau mountain range in my childhood backyard. On more than one occasion, I have arrived at a foreign destination, beaches specifically, and have been thoroughly underwhelmed.
I hate that I compare things in that way, but it’s really hard not to. Especially when everyone else around me seems so impressed. I sometimes wish I could see what they’re seeing. To look upon that water and just appreciate that I’m someplace warm, someplace green, someplace with sand between my toes and warm water to play in.
That’s what a big part of travel is, is it not? Seeing the world through someone else’s lens? No one ever talks about that lens belonging to another tourist, though.
Don’t get me wrong, I still love traveling and I’m going to keep doing it. It’s not like this is a new phenomena I’ve only now realized. I’m just finally saying it out loud. I think the key is to just always keep an open mind. If I never come across a location more beautiful than Hawaii, then so be it. I will die happily knowing I spent my formative years in undeniably the world’s most beautiful place.
But I should always be prepared to change my mind and welcome it if I do ever find it. If and when that day ever comes, I will embrace it with open arms.