You lived in Hawaii? How? Those are the two most asked questions I get when I tell someone I lived in Hawaii for a year. Hawaii was amazing, don’t get me wrong. The best part about it would definitely the beaches, the food, the hikes, the waterfalls, okay – EVERYTHING! I loved having something new to do every weekend. Plus, the island has a crazy attitude when it comes to the weather. If it was raining on the South Side, then it wasn’t raining on the North Side – so down to North Shore we would go. There was always something to see or do. Lucky for me, I have done just about every hike on the island, been to every beach, and discovered every hidden gem.

When it comes to food, my favorite thing ever was to get a snow cone. Why a snow cone? Uh, they’re delicious!! And when it was hot, I wanted something flavorful and icy. I even have a guide dedicated to the best snow cones on the island! They’re also the closest thing we would ever get to winter, or anything cold whatsoever.

Life was so much fun on the island. I enrolled in two classes at Chaminade University, and lived like a local for a year. So what was life like? For starters, the only Walmart on the island was in Wakiki, extremely difficult to find the entrance to park (it’s a parking garage underneath the store – but of course Waikiki is full of one way streets so cue the right turns), and it was always slam packed. It was literally a giant game of bumper cars… or bumper CARTS. The people were so rude, ruthless, and didn’t care that they ran over your shoe. It was like shopping on Black Friday every day. Pro tip – don’t shop at Walmart. It may be the cheapest spot on the Island for groceries, but definitely the busiest right in line with Costco. My favorite spot to shop beside the commissary was Whole Foods. My diet was terrible but shopping there made me feel somewhat healthy. Otherwise, every other grocery store was just not something I was used to, coming from a background of growing up with Publix next to my house.

Traffic on the island is awful, no matter where you live. In the Kailua area, there are lots of tourists on bikes that don’t seem to care about the cars driving on the paved roads, and attempt to ride next to you the entire time. In Waikiki, the traffic is three times as worse, there are potholes everywhere, and finding a spot to park is a nightmare. Parking at the zoo is free, but of course it’s always full. Every parking garage is about $15-30, even if you are only shopping for an hour. The one way streets in Waikiki are not forgiving, especially when you mix them with traffic.

Lastly, you are lucky to find an apartment that has air conditioning, and even luckier to find one under $2,000 a month. It costs a pretty penny to live there. Ice cream costs $7, milk costs $7 a gallon, eggs are around $4 a dozen, and gas is about $3.50 a gallon. But the cost of experiences you can have? Priceless.

After all of that, is living on Oahu worth it? Definitely!! The insta-worthy sunrises, sunsets, beaches, mountains, and acai bowls are absolutely worth it. Besides, there’s bad traffic in every major city.