borders and bucket listsSarah is a travel blogger, born and raised on the island of Oahu in Hawaii and founder of Borders and Bucket Lists. As a youngster she travelled all over the world with her family to places like Egypt, Italy, Australia, Russia, Japan, Jamaica (to name a few). At university, she was given the opportunity to study abroad in Europe, where she set up her blog to document her travels. Now back in Hawaii, she focuses on what her native land has to offer – encouraging tourists from all over the world to visit the island she calls home.

1. You write about your travels all over the world, but your blog focus is on your home land of Hawaii. Why do you think travellers are so drawn to it as a destination?

Most of the world is running at high-speed, trying to accomplish some sort of all-consuming unreachable future goal that always seems out of grasp. In Hawaii though, there is a very laid back vibe.  Now don’t get me wrong, the people that live in Hawaii can be hard workers when they need to – after all, the cost of living is very expensive.  But they know when to stop working.  If they’re off the clock, they’re off the clock.  Even during lunch breaks, that’s time for themselves, so they’re off to the beach (even I did that with my summer internship!).

I think that it is this laid back mindset, combined with the warm weather and natural beauty of the islands, that draws people to Hawaii.  It’s a paradise that does not exist anywhere else, let alone in the midst of the chaotic, never-sleeping working worlds that many visitors come from.

2.What’s your favourite secret Hawaii spot that the guides don’t often tell us about?

I wrote out a whole list of places before choosing which one to share.  I decided to go with Maili Pillbox.  This relatively easy hike on the west side of Oahu is actually pretty unknown, even to locals.  At the end of the hike, there are four pillboxes (cement military lookout points that are no longer in use), one of which is painted bright pink for breast cancer awareness.  And of course, there is a stunning view of a huge portion of the western coastline of Oahu that can’t be seen from many other spots.

Maili Pillbox

3.Your work has been published in Honolulu Magazine. How did you get involved in that?

The answer to this question is actually rather simple.  The summer after my junior year of college, I was looking for some sort of writing internship (you know, to spice up my resume a bit).  I applied to internships literally all over the world – from New York to San Francisco to Melbourne.  The only one I got: Honolulu Magazine – the only internship I applied for back home.

Now, while it was a bummer that I was only accepted to one internship, it definitely was not a bummer that I got to work at Honolulu Magazine.  Their fun restaurant and hike posts seemed to be right up my alley.  So when I headed in to the office and they asked me to pitch ideas, I ended up getting to write about restaurants, a hike, and a weekly “Honolulu weekend picks” piece.

4.You’ve written a lot of travel tips posts. What’s your favourite travel tip/hack?

Explore your home!  When I first got into travelling, I was so excited to fly to the other side of the planet and see what they had there.  I was convinced that I had seen everything that there was to see on my tiny little island of Oahu, but boy was I wrong!

The summer after I spent eight months studying abroad in Switzerland, I spent most of my time back home on Oahu.  I was convinced that I was going to be bored out of my mind in a couple of weeks.  Then, I made a couple of changes.  First, I started writing down places people told me to go visit.  Prior to that, people would tell me an amazing place to visit, and I would be convinced that I could remember it.  Then a couple months down the road when I’d be back in a state of boredom, I’d try to remember the name of the place and I couldn’t!  So now I have an “Oahu adventure list” on my phone.  Second, I did a deep dive on the internet.  Surprisingly, if you know what to type in, you can get to the bottom of almost any Hawaii secret (the operative word being “almost”).  In the process, I found a few secret waterfall hikes and a couple of secret beaches that I’d never heard of in my twenty years on the island!

That being said, the same can apply to your hometown or the area that you currently live in.  Even if you may think, “I live in the most boring place in the world!”, there is bound to be something intriguing that you just haven’t come across yet.  So do some digging!


5.What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from travel?

While this might sound cheesy or expected, the biggest lesson I’ve learned and I’ve seen others learn from travel is to respect people who are different.  I believe that a lot of the hatred and disrespect that is present in the world today is simply due to the fact that people have not come in contact or have not taken the time to interact with the people who they claim to hate.  I truly believe that getting to know people as individuals – not as the labels we assign to them, whether that be gender, ethnicity, nationality, disability, belief, sexual orientation, or anything else – helps people to learn how to respect others who are different from themselves.

And just for fun…

6.Favourite food to eat in Hawaii?

I have to answer this question with two foods: spam musubis and poke.  I chose a spam musubi, which is a rectangle of rice with a slice of spam on top all wrapped in a piece of seaweed, because you literally can’t get it anywhere else in the world.  Sure, you can make one at home, but for some reason it’s not the same as the musubis you can get on-island.

I also had to add poke to this list.  Poke is becoming a huge craze everywhere across the world.  While I am glad that people are becoming more exposed to different cuisines, the way poke is prepared outside of Hawaii is not even close to traditional poke.  So whenever I go back home to Hawaii, I’m sure to grab a poke bowl or two.

Spam Musubi

7.If you could have an all-expenses paid trip to see any famous world monument, which monument would you choose?

I would love to see Victoria Falls, which is the largest waterfall in Africa and is on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe.  I am obsessed with waterfalls, and I’ve wanted to go to that region of Africa for a while.  For some reason, in my head, I have this belief that Victoria Falls will be in a near-natural state without much built around it, which I think would be so stunning.  If it’s more tourist-focused that I realised, well, I’m sure it’ll still be amazing.

8.What outdoor activity haven’t you tried, but would like to?

I would be excited to do pretty much any outdoor activity that I haven’t tried yet, but the one that immediately popped into my head was white water rafting.  It’s like kayaking, an adrenaline rush, and a bunch of friends all combined into one activity!

9.What movie or book do you know the most quotes from?

I honestly am absolutely terrible at quotes from anything.  The only quote I can think of at the moment is “just keep swimming” as said by Dory in Finding Nemo.  I guess that’s not too bad of a quote to remember, lol.

10.Where is the most uncomfortable place you have ever slept?

I’ve been pretty lucky with my sleeping arrangements, because I don’t think I’ve ever slept anywhere too uncomfortable.  When I woke up very early for a flight, I passed out for a couple hours on a row of chairs in the Mallorca, Spain airport.  That’s about as uncomfortable as I’ve gotten.

You can read more about the Sarah’s travels on her blog.

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Enjoy reading our interviews with travel writers? Check out our interview with The Barefoot Backpacker – specialising in off the beaten track travel.

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