A topic we discuss on today’s show is that of traveling alone and whether Hawaii is a good place for it. While some may say Hawaii is for romantics and families, others may say the islands are the perfect place for some soul searching, personal relaxation, and single mingling. I would have to say I agree with both aspects, but would be quick to point out that Hawaii is not a one-type travel destination. It is extremely unique, multi-faceted, and offers couples, families, and single travelers an experience beyond the norm.

Those traveling alone often seek an on-the-go type of adventure, making Hawaii an ideal destination. From island hopping to backpacking to clubbing, Hawaii’s islands offer people some exciting things to see and do, single or not. We’ve also just heard about an airline that lets you choose who you’d like to sit next to on your flight over to the islands. For single people, this might just be your ticket to meeting a new friend or a travel buddy, but at the very least, single people can fly with peace of mind, knowing they won’t be stuck next to a… weirdo.

Hawaii’s tradition of removing your shoes before entering a home has some visitors baffled. It is uncommon for folks from the mainland to be accustomed to this tradition, but this doesn’t mean the custom should not be respected. When we asked our Facebook friends to give their opinion on the topic, many shared their disgust about those who do not abide by the local “rules”. If you take a minute to trace back everything your shoes stepped on in a day, you might be equally disgusted to realize that a little bit of everything is being tracked onto your carpets, hard wood floors, linoleum, tile, etc. if you wear your shoes inside. And for Hawaii residents, the frequent rains and red dirt make for some messy tracks. Which is why every local respects the “please remove your shoes,” sign (explicit or not) at the entrance of every home.

So where did this tradition stem from? Many say that the Asian culture, specifically Japanese, brought this long-held custom to the islands, along with many other traditions and cultural norms. During the plantation days, shoes would become very dirty and muddy, and the Hawaiian people learned from the Japanese to remove them and walk around barefoot when indoors. Leave that mess outside where it belongs! It is believed that bare feet aid in good health, and keep a home tranquil and clean. Many locals stretch out and relax on the ground or let their keikis (kids) play on the floor, which is another reason to keep your home clean by removing your shoes. Plus, slippers are so commonly worn and easily removed, that it’s never really been an issue of inconvenience… it’s always just been what feels right.

Whenever I’m visiting the mainland, the first thing I notice is how many folks keep their shoes on when entering a home, and the second thing I notice is how wrong this feels to me! It’s like I’m breaking a law, not to mention just feeling downright dirty. I do understand the tediousness of lacing up tennies only to realize you forgot something inside and have to take them off again. There have been many instances when this has happened to me and I’ve literally tiptoed through the house to avoid any tracks. But, it is important to be tolerant of others customs. To each their own, as my dad always said, and I’ll leave you with one more quote of wisdom for you, “world peace lies in the acceptance of others beliefs and the expectation of no change.”

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