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3 Life Lessons I learned While Vacationing In Hawaii

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Every day is an opportunity to learn if you are open to life’s lessons.

I’ve just finished documenting my 30 Days In Hawaii adventures and I’m only a couple of days away from starting the next big adventure, 30 Days In Portland. I can’t begin to tell you how exciting and fulfilling my new life direction is for me. I’m doing and experiencing things at 44 years old that I wanted to in my 20’s but was never able to do. I guess it’s never too late to live your dreams. Life isn’t all roses and free meals for me though. During my time in Hawaii and the couple of weeks since I’ve been back I’ve had a few lightbulb moments thought I would share with you. Perhaps the things I am learning about myself also be relevant for you, I don’t know, but one of my purposes in life is to share what I have been given and that includes awareness. So with that sense of purpose I’d like to share with you 3 Life Lessons I learned about myself while I was adventuring and exploring Oahu, Kauai, Maui and the Big Island of Hawaii.

Marc about to try his 2nd attempt at SUP

Under The Covers by Dawn Chubai

I love traveling alone.

I had no idea that I would love to travel all by myself for such a long period of time. I’ve always been the kind of person that loves to surround himself with tons of friends. Why have 1 person over for dinner when you can have 4? Ask any of my friends I’m a more the merrier kinda guy but I’m discovering that as I’ve gotten older that is changing. I always love being around  my friends any chance I get but I’m starting to find that I am cherishing the one on one time with them more than the big group get together. Maybe this is a sign I am growing up or perhaps it’s a sign I am finally comfortable with myself. Whatever the case may be it also means that during my time in Hawaii I didn’t feel lonely. Everyday I met some great people and had great conversations but they were all the type of conversations you have when you meet someone for the first time. Let’s put it this way, I had a lot of first dates during my time in Hawaii.

I loved my time when I was around people but equally fun for me was when I was alone and exploring, mostly over dinner. It turns out I like my own company, which is a good thing because I’ve only begun my travel adventures. Look out world here I come.

Marc with Salud and Tom from LA

New friend Greg from Melbourne

I have no desire to disconnect.

We are constantly told that technology for all it’s advances is ruining our ability to connect with other people and we should disconnect ourselves as much as possible. Wrong! Or at least that is wrong for me. I have no problem connecting with strangers and friends in social situations, in fact I’m always the one to make the first move. This “judgement” of others that are connected to their smartphones and social networks as having no ability to connect with “live” humans is I feel false. The entire time I was in Hawaii I relied on my IPhone and Roam Mobility to keep me connected to the people I cared about. I had friends going through a health crisis and because of being “connected” I was able to stay informed and be the support I needed to be for them. Aside from that though even though I was traveling alone I never felt completely alone. On the adventure with me was my 8000 twitter followers, 1200+ Facebook friends, and 2400+ Instagram followers. The constant “conversation” with them through my updates and their comments on them kept me engaged and even alerted me to some spots I was recommended to check out. I never would have discovered Star Noodle if my friend hadn’t commented on a Facebook post about where I was eating.

So you see for me staying connected means staying engaged. When I’m tired or need some down time I just don’t pick up the phone. Just cause the phone rings doesn’t mean I have to answer it and neither do you. However if I choose to answer it that means I’m connecting and engaging.

Star Noodle - Filipino Bacon and eggs

Posing for a pic with the Kona Brewing team

You can’t put sunscreen on your back when you travel alone.

Think about it for a second. Here I am in a tropical paradise, the sun is shining and I want to take my shirt off to get a tan. I apply sunscreen to my face and front and then it hits me, how do I get the sunscreen on my back? Bloody hell! What would you do? Do you go up to a complete stranger and ask them to rub lotion on you? That is a very intimate experience and not everyone is comfortable asking or doing that. As a guy trying solo do I ask another guy or perhaps the wife/girlfriend of the couple next to me? Seriously this is a challenge. I don’t want to get a sunburn but I also don’t want to spend my afternoon walking the beach finding a friendly person willing to put sunscreen on me. I learned to always carry a sunscreen spray and a lotion. Strangers are less inclined to say no to spraying you down because they don’t have to touch you. Secondly I didn’t ask just one person out of the couples around me I asked the “couple”. It usually started out like this, Excuse me but I’m travelling solo and having difficulty putting sunscreen on my back, would either of you mind spraying me? That worked every time.

Of course if I’d been feeling frisky maybe I could have used it to meet an an attractive guy, they were everywhere after all. On one occasion I even asked the waitress at the Hotel’s swim bar, of course I left a great tip for her. I bet you didn’t see this life lesson coming did you? I certainly didn’t but I’m prepared for the next tropical vacation I’m solo on. Putting sunscreen on my back by myself is just a another means to make friends.

Running into the water at Napili Kai

2014-02-28 15.53.22

It’s funny that all the life lessons I learned about myself in Hawaii have to do with how I connect with other people. I guess that means we are all a work in progress. I wonder what I will learn about myself when I’m in Portland. I already know that I like craft beer so that life lesson has already been covered Smile I’d love to hear your thoughts on what I discovered. Do they resonate with you?  What have you learned when you travelled alone? Share and let’s connect.

Sun is setting #2

Town Hall Team

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About Author

Marc Smith is a former event planner turned vagabond adventurer. He loves strong Americano's, great wine, cold beer and zip lining over tree tops. Formerly of Vancouver, most of Marc's time when not travelling is in Canada's largest city, Toronto. Follow along on his nomad adventures and discover places to stay, things to do and where to eat & drink as he explores the world one city and region at a time.


  1. Haha loved your 3 lessons. I never thought about it – if you travel alone you can’t put sunscreen on your back.
    I’m off to travel solo in September for the first time in my life and I’ll probably try the trick too 🙂 Also, I’ll know which sunscreen to get – a spray one! Brilliant. Thanks for sharing!

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