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What is paradise?

The COVID 19- Pandemic has severely impacted many of our day to day living, yet as we continue to aim and try for better living, some things are still holding us back. For the state of Hawai’i, tourism is one of the factors that have held us together. 

The American dream, or any dream really, is to find one’s way into paradise. Yet what defines paradise? Everyone’s definition of this word can vary, but for most people visiting the islands the answer to the question, “What is your paradise?” is the same. 

31 year old Reina Romero, visiting from Nevada, Las Vegas with her husband and four kids, states “Paradise is somewhere that not only I can enjoy but my family as well. It’s somewhere that I can lay back in a beach chair and I can put my toes into the warm sand, a drink in one hand, while the other is holding the hand of the love of my life, and just watching the joyful laughter of my children while they play in the water. Knowing that life in that moment is pure, it’s weightless of all worries I once had before. Now that’s paradise.” 

The thought of paradise and actually living it, is a dream come true. Yet we also need to consider things beyond our own dreams, like the impacts of fulfilling that said dream. “ Are the dreams we desperately long for, impacting the environment we are visiting?” According to a Hawaii Tourism Authority’s Resident Sentiment Survey that was taken in 2021, 53% of Native Hawaiians believe that the tourism in Hawai’i has been beneficial. 

As time goes on, and we still battle within this pandemic, many have their own opinions on this topic, and many continue to travel. Traveling allows us to experience and contribute to environments and different cultures while learning and understanding other styles of living other than our own. Yet due to the overcrowding and the rise in cases in our state, and other states as well, these experiences have been limited throughout the years since the start of this all. As people continue to travel, will our perception of paradise ever be the same? 

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