I knew that I'd have to write this post, but I had hoped it would happen eventually – and not in 2020. But then again, life changes sooner than you know.
One of my very first blog posts was about the Big Island of Hawaii. It was in 2015, and I had spent 10 days there and came back refreshed, rejuvenated and felt like a new person. It was my very first trip to Hawaii, and I wrote in great detail about the things I saw and did, which helped me discover the nature-lover living inside me. Truth be told, many of my next trips outdoors were inspired by this experience, and in all of my future trips to Hawaii, I hoped to recreate the same experience – which obviously never happened.
Some of my experiences in Big Island included hiking in the Volcanoes National Park, snorkeling at Kapoho tide pools and star-gazing atop Mauna Kea. Each one of them was a stunning experience on it's own, but all of them together in one trip was like an untold dream come true.
Well, not anymore. I'm here to announce that Kapoho tide pools along with Alahanui thermal pools have vanished because of the expanding lava from the Volcanoes National Park. The Jaggar Museum in the Volcanoes National Park and it's overlook are now gone too, and protests by the locals have stopped tourists from going to Mauna Kea.
I knew that volcano eruption in Big Island happened years ago, and I still never thought about the possibility that some of my favorite spots might have disappeared or taken back by nature. It was only recently when my friends were planning a trip to Big Island did I look up all the places I visited, only to discover one after another were gone or closed. I have to admit, it hurts to know that these places have disappeared from the map. Not just future generations, even I myself will never be able to enjoy these experiences again. It reminds me that nature is fragile, ever-changing and therefore every experience with it must be treasured, cherished and imprinted in memory.
This is the first time something I've seen has disappeared from the map, but I recognize that it won't be the last. While we cannot prevent naturally occuring phenomenon like volcano eruption or the flow of lava, we as humanity can and should prevent changes caused by global warming. Some simple ways include reducing plastic usage in our lives, reducing trash and only throwing trash where it belongs and reducing meat consumption.
Coming back to Hawaii, while the places I've seen have disappeared – I'm sure nature will spring up new surprises, as it so often does. All we have to do is wait, watch and then explore. So while some of my original suggestions are no longer valid, feel free to use that time to explore and discover new experiences. If you're a planner who needs details decided beforehand (no judgement!), my best recommendation would be to wait for the new guide of Big Island from Lonely Planet, due in Oct 2020 before you plan your next trip there.
Lastly, before more fabulous places disappear forever, what are the extraordinary places you recommend I see? My recommendation is simple, go to Iceland!