Some of your comments give us ideas for posts. Like today’s from Rich in England who has been a loyal follower for years. In the past, earlier we wrote about the feelings between Hawaii visitors and residents, which yielded nearly 500 of your comments. Rich is suggesting we take that a step further and look at how visitors see other visitors.
That got us thinking about our own travels too. When your editors travel internationally, we do so independently so as to get to know people and cultures better. Just like we did exactly a year ago when we drove throughout South Africa and Namibia. And that’s a whole different story, and perhaps another website. In any event, years ago we tried a “one and only” bus tour. It was in Thailand. That lasted only a few days. Then Jeff unceremoniously announced to a flabbergasted tour leader that both of us were renting a car and leaving the tour. Once we did that, we got to be closer to people living there, and have a far more authentic experience.
Rich, who is from England, has, since 2014, been a part of Beat of Hawaii’s community and commenting. He said today,
“What do visitors think about other visitors perhaps is a good question. When I see ignorant people disrespecting the culture and not following requests and instructions I do not think much of my fellow visitors (for although I am a regular repeat visitor (4-5 times a year for almost 30 years) I class myself as a visitor. I find there is an inverse correlation between belonging to and being welcoming.” He went on to suggest that long time visitors (Kamaaina) to whom visitors show respect are very welcoming where newcomers to Hawaii (Malahini) “tend not to be and what to tell everyone else what to do.”
So how do you see other visitors in Hawaii and their behavior when you travel here? We came up with a shortlist of questions we’ll ask to get the discussion going.
1). You arrive at a popular destination like Queen’s Bath on Kauai or Haiku Stairs on Oahu and see the trail is closed (Haiku has been closed for decades). Do you respect the sign and look for another trail to hike, or decide to hike the closed trail because other visitors are doing it.
2). You see a visitor talking down to someone working in the service industry. Now what?
3). You hear a visitor complaining because it works differently in Hawaii than it does on the mainland. (And oh boy is that the truth). They offer advice on how it should be done. Does that make you feel uncomfortable or do you see it as helpful?
4). Enter social media. Someone is standing on rocks during high surf to get a photo and not respecting the ocean. Would you do the same?
5). Parking permits and limited access to beaches. One example is Kee Beach on Kauai. Do you see that as protecting Hawaii or a problem?
6). Are you a visitor who thinks Hawaii is all about the beach or are you a visitor wanting to tap into Hawaii culture?
We look forward to your added thoughts and questions?