Mālama Hawai’i – Take a journey that gives back

A healthy heritage and responsible regeneration can make your cultural trip to Hawai’i all the more magical…

By Doug Wallace

Sun and sand, rainforest and rugged natural terrain – this is truly paradise. A visit to Hawai’i is a vacation like no other, a tropical island experience that attracts 10.5 million visitors a year – and a safe and welcoming destination for members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Hawaii is historically hospitable

People have been visiting and loving Hawai’i since the mid-1800s, originally arriving to see Kīlauea Volcano, an incredibly beautiful – and still very active – volcano! – environment. But Hawaii’s long history of LGBTQ+ identity and acceptance began in precolonial times, when the Mahu – or “intermediary” people – maintained respected social and spiritual positions within the community, often as healers. Fast-forwarding to today, you’ll easily recognize that the six main Hawaiian islands to visit are diverse and inclusive, with the 50th US state being one of the first to adopt same-sex marriage in 2013.

(Photo by Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA)/Tor Johnson)

Anchor your trip to Pride

Honolulu Pride is Hawaii’s largest LGBTQ+ celebration, with the parade route along Kalākaua Avenue in Waikīkī attracting approximately 30,000 people each year. This fun celebration of diversity, creativity and togetherness exudes an overwhelming spirit of togetherness throughout Honolulu Pride Month in October, which coincides with LGBT History Month, National Coming Out Day out and spirit day. The Festival at Diamond Head Greens is a family-friendly day of music and activities, and the Honolulu Rainbow Film Festival celebrates its 33rd year in 2022. E komo may means “everyone is welcome”.

Take only pictures, leave only footprints

It’s easy to vacation on an island without worrying about the world. But with the return of tourism, renewed interest in kuleana, or “responsibility”, takes shape in Hawai’i. Visitors are invited to malama ka’aina– take care of the earth – in a spirit of generosity return to the land, to the seas, to the wildlife, to the forest – really the whole community. When you travel responsibly, you are part of the continuous cycle of island life, sustaining it through regenerative tourism. Pay-as-you-go initiatives promote shoreline cleanups, beaches, hiking trails and parks, as well as tree planting and fish pond rejuvenation. Tourists can also connect with the land in other ways, exploring the world of sustainable agriculture and making a positive impact through environmental stewardship.

(Photo by Hawai’i Tourism Authority (HTA)/John Hook)

Help preserve Hawaiian culture

A warm welcome is the hallmark of Hawaiian hospitality. But more than just a greeting, “Aloha” is a concept. It expresses a sense of being present and sharing the essence of life, which in turn promotes peace, kindness and compassion, and upholds responsibility for the future of the land and the people. This construction is expressed through heritage arts, including music, the hula and traditional songs. These songs describe the islands, the spirits that surround them, the forces of nature that shaped them, and the things that live there, further reinforcing the theory that everything is truly connected. This connection is the very root of Hawaiian culture.

When you visit Hawai’i, you can help champion this need to care for the environment and each other, support local festivals and events, buy from local vendors, and preserve heritage and practices. Hawaiian cultures.

Start packing your bags!

The GoHawaii website is a great reference for great ideas, travel tips, and insight into the Hawaiian Islands. Canadians planning a winter getaway or destination wedding can find more information at gohawaii.com/ca. For more details on how to experience a rewarding trip to Hawai’i that gives back, visit gohawaii.com/malama. And for more information about the Hawaii LGBT Legacy Foundation, visit hawaiilgbtlegacyfoundation.com.

DOUG WALLACE is an international travel and lifestyle writer, photographer and custom content authority, director of Wallace Media and editor-publisher of TravelRight.Today. It can be found next to buffet tables, on massage tables and at tables all over the world.