As the flight prepares to depart Honolulu, passengers are greeted with the soothing sounds of Hawaiian guitar music and stunning images of the island on the in-flight screen. In this somewhat melancholic atmosphere, I find myself lost in my thoughts, reminiscing about my time on the island – feels like already a distant memory.

Although the trip was short, Honolulu was as beautiful as I remembered, with the trade winds passing through the island. More than a decade has passed since I left this place. I couldn’t help but reflect on my naivety and mistakes back then. I also remember feeling like an outsider, never fully accepted as a Kamaʻāina, a true resident of the island. No matter how hard I tried, I never could call it home. I did my best during that time, didn’t I?

In the dimly lit cabin, waiting for takeoff, I asked the question that had been nagging me, the question I had even avoided asking myself until I felt the caress of the trade winds on my cheeks again.

Do I truly desire to return to Hawaii? Or the Pacific Ocean? Or Is it travel itself that I long for?

When my heart starts to tremble, I know I’m ready to accept the answer.