When you’re not travelling, having multiple catch ups with friends in one week can be draining, especially if you’re an introvert. But when you’re travelling it can be hard to find time for yourself to recharge.
When I flew into Oahu I had no idea who I would meet and how the next sixteen days of my life would pan out. After arriving at Honolulu airport, I collected my checked baggage and stepped out into the warm, humid heat. It was 7am. Shuttle buses lined the road with friendly airport staff in bright yellow Hawaiian shirts, directing everyone to the right shuttle. I sat next to a girl from Auckland who had been on my flight and happened to be staying at the same hostel as me. Immediately I had made a friend to spend the day with.
The next morning I signed up to a tour provided by the hostel to visit North Shore of Oahu. I met two incredible girls from Queensland who I ended up spending the next three days travelling with. We had so much fun and saw some amazing sights together. Four days after meeting, we parted ways to get on pre-booked flights to different islands. I was sad to say goodbye but excited for the next part of my journey.
When I arrived at the hostel in Maui I was immediately greeted by other friendly guests. We launched into the usual, ‘where are you from?’ and ‘how long are you staying?’ chat. Every day new people came and left and I longed to hear their stories. But as the days went by I found myself feeling more and more drained. We would spend our days driving around the island and being amazed by new things each day. But come night time all I wanted to do was unwind and have some ‘me’ time.
After four nights at the hostel, I decided to extend my stay. All the dorms were full so my new friend Emily and I booked a private room to share for the night. After eight nights in a dorm room bunk bed it felt like heaven to have a double bed all to myself for a night. Emily had been traveling for one and a half months and this was the first time she had had her own space. I wondered how she did it and felt so glad she was enjoying this small luxury, too.
Yesterday, after seven jam-packed days in this hostel, my friend and I decided to skip the tour and spend the day relaxing at the beautiful local beach. In the sunshine with the waves crashing ahead of us, I listened to two episodes of a podcast I follow back home while my friend read her book. It was so invigorating to not have to talk but still share the experience.
Today I had the choice to go with my friends on the tour or stay by myself at he hostel, watching the rain fall from the common area. I chose to stay and write, something I enjoy doing back home but haven’t had a chance to do here. For the first time I can take a moment to reflect on the amazing people I’ve met, the interesting conversations I’ve had and wonder how they will have changed me when I go back home in three days.