The 7 stages of missing Hawaii

Do you know that sinking feeling you get when you come home from vacation? Like it’s your first day back and you’re scraping ice off your windshield while your car warms up so you can get to the office, and you’re just…miserable.

Yeah, that feeling.

Well, it shows. People notice. You’re a beacon of blues. Here are the 7 stages of missing Hawaii:

1. Sand comes out of your ear

True story: In 2011 I spent the holidays at home on the Big Island. Then I went back to my startup job in San Francisco.

One day I was really missing home and family that day, and my head was hanging low.

One of my ears started to itch so I put my finger in and scooped out a few tiny grains of golden Hawaiian sand. I spent the rest of my day sadly staring at the sand, rubbing the granules between my fingers, and just longing to be back.

2. You’re comfortable in your skin…for now

Once you get to Hawaii, it takes a few days up to a few weeks to shed that “mainland bloat.” This is because you’re in the sun, sweating out your toxins, and shedding those negative ions.

Once you do, you gain a sense of vitality that energizes your whole being. You bring this glow home with you, at least for awhile.

3. You hoard every last piece of your chocolate-covered Mac nuts

Back in Hawaii when you were in Longs, you probably didn’t think twice about those fully-stocked shelves  of chocolate-covered mac nuts.

Now you’re 1000’s of miles away from those delightful little boxes, and your stash is worth more than its weight in gold. Back off!

4. You desperately seek out anyone who’s been to, planning on going or just wants to talk about Hawaii

People need people, and even more so when they can connect on common ground.

Finding others who love Hawaii just as much as you do is vital for your mental and emotional well-being.

If that doesn’t work, watch the movies.

5. You cry

You’ve made wonderful memories, you’ve connected with wonderful people, you’ve taken much needed time for yourself.

Now you’re home and Hawaii is far away. Cry in the car, cry in the shower, cry with the camera off in your Zoom meeting. It’s okay — let it out.

6. You seriously question what you’re doing with your life

So many questions surface once you’ve spent time sitting half-naked on a beach, watching the clouds pass overhead and hearing the lapping of the waves.

“Why am I not living like this…like everyday?”

“Can I just move here?”

“What the heck am I doing with my life?”

7. You plan your next trip


The wonderful thing about leaving Hawaii is you can always come back. Some people live by this and make their trips back every year or so. Some people come back to Hawaii so often they end up calling it home.

Either way, you’re always welcome here. Please come back soon 🌈

Need a hand with your next Maui vacation? Please contact the Sunny Maui Vacations team at or call 808-240-1311, ext. 21. We’ll find you the best vacation rental condo or rental home in South Maui and help you with any and all recommendations and activities across Maui.

Image credits: Verne Ho, Krzysztof Grech, Jakob Owens, slgckgc, Kevin Delvecchio, Marc-Olivier Jodoin

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