Islands: Paradise or Prison?
Islands: Paradise or Prison?
The word “Island” evokes for many the ideals of white sandy beaches, palm trees and crystal blue waters. For me these images come to mind but so do thoughts of small towns, boredom and family obligations.
I was born and raised on the beautiful Hawaiian island of Maui. I spent the first 18 solid years of my life there. Maui is a very small island in the middle of the largest ocean on the planet the Pacific. It is only 48 miles long and 26 miles across at its widest point with a population in the 2010 Census of only 154,834 people. I grew up muddy from exploring the jungles and sandy from hours of lounging on the beach. I have driven in circles around Maui in an attempt, which gets harder every year, to find a tourist free beach or waterfall. I have visited a good portion of this planet we call home and few places have come close to Maui’s beauty.
While Maui is gorgeous beyond compare, I was very eager to see other things from an early age. As soon as I could I escaped “the rock” and flew off to college. I didn’t even apply for any schools in Hawaii. All I dreamed of at that time was getting out of my small town. I have often described my small town of Kihei as follows: If you were driving down the interstate in any other state and you were passing Kihei you would not even stop for gas. In fact you probably would not even notice it. It just happens to be on the beach on one of the most beautiful islands I have ever seen. So did this move wipe all dreams of island life from my psyche? No! If anything it made me realize that I love the beach! I love the rainforest! It made me realize I am an ISLAND GIRL at heart.
I often dream of buying my own island and opening a little hotel on it. I dream of finding the perfect mix between urban and tropical. Somewhere where the water is clean with big waves to play in. Somewhere that has a culture that is vibrant with spicy food and music that makes me want to dance all night. An island that is overrun with tropical fruit trees and fragrant flowers. Somewhere to call home. If and when I find this place the three things that I will bring with me are prescription sunglasses, my travel hammock and my lover ;)
On my quest to find this place I have visited The Bahamas, Greek Isles, Puerto Rico, Thai Islands, Bali, Gili Trawangan, a little Cambodian island called Koh Rong, a handful of the Philippines and other Hawaiian Islands.
So which of these is my favorite? Koh Rong, Cambodia! Now this island is not going to meet my criteria for urban and tropical to call home but this little island is my top recommendation as my favorite indie travel island destination. It is a two hour boat ride from the coast of Cambodia and the town of Sihanoukville. There is not much to do there other than relax in hammocks, read books, make friends and work on your tan. That is my kind of travel destination!
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