Aloha! My name’s Alyssa Navares, and I am honored to be a part of the Hawaii Aloha Travel (HAT) ohana. This is my very first post to the blog as the new editor, picking up where former editor Cindy Scheopner left off. She has done a remarkable job over the years in really developing the blog and helping to find a sense of place for it within both the tourism and local communities. Cindy has successfully created a voice for the Islands through this blog, sharing with readers her personal experiences and finding a solid group of contributors along the way.

I hope to continue this trend and keep our readers interested in learning more about Hawaii. I’m excited to share with you everything I have come to love about this place, my home. And I’ll make sure we help you prepare for your next visit to Hawaii by teaching you things like, safety in the ocean or the custom of taking your shoes off before entering someone’s home. Hopefully, my stories will not only inform you but make you laugh, give you that “ah ha!” moment and inspire you to seek out a Hawaiian treasure all your own. My main goal is to help you find a place in your heart for Hawaii, as you learn more about its perse culture, taste its many flavorful foods and absorb its Aloha Spirit, which radiates throughout the Pacific.

A few weeks ago, Cindy asked readers, What does Hawaii mean to you? We got responses like, it’s “Magic,” “Paradise” and “Home.” For me, Hawaii means driving in the rain on the Windward side, only to find sunshine on the other side of the Pali tunnel. Or dipping into a mix of cultures at one time; Hawaii is one of the few places one can attend a baby’s first luau, then go for a quick surf before ending the day at an Okinawan Festival to enjoy the music and the doughy goodness of andagi.

My favorite answer from a reader: Hawaii no ka oi! (Hawaii is the best!) I feel truly blessed to live here. When I was in school, we learned about the values that Native Hawaiians practiced in order to promote a more cohesive society. Lokomaikai (low-ko-my-KU-eeyuh) is one word that comes to mind when pondering the question of what Hawaii means to me. The word translates to “sharing,” a gesture that you are sure to encounter when visiting, as the people of Hawaii truly embody the Hawaiian value. Hopefully I can share more of Hawaii with you through this blog, and let YOU find your own answers to the question.

Because the culture plays such an important role in your Hawaii experience, I will start incorporating the Hawaiian diacritical marks into our stories. These marks include the okina (which looks like a backwards apostrophe and adds verbal pauses in between syllables) and a kahako (a line over the vowel that gives it a longer sound and sometimes gives words a different meaning). These small details in the culture have big responsibilities. The diacritical marks create various meanings and pronunciation for words. For example, lanai is a balcony while Lanai is a Hawaiian island. And as a Native Hawaiian editor, I feel obliged to convey the most accurate depiction of Hawaii to readers, even down to the subtle details. I will not, however, include diacritics in the headlines of posts. Online search results don’t do too well with apostrophes of any sort and often get confused.

I’m fortunate to still have those handful of regular contributors (including Cindy!) who share the same enthusiasm and commitment to the blog, and I welcome other visitors and locals to tell their stories as well. I’ve got some ideas for the blog that I’m excited about, which includes getting readers more involved and adding multimedia to the mix, as a way to further enhance our stories. But more to come on that…

Until then, I’ll see you in the virtual world! Mahalo!


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