IN PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS Hawaii – the world’s happy place. Book now
Is it the wild waterfalls, epic beaches and spectacular volcanoes that put Hawaiians at the top of the happiness league? LIZZY DENING goes to find out
THE COOL FOREST POOL
is seriously taking the sting out of the day’s heat as I launch into a lazy breaststroke. When I’ve dried off, I’m going to buy freshly baked banana bread from the stall up the road, and eat it while watching the sun set over the wild sea with Ross, my fiancé. So far, so just-what-we-need. We got engaged in February, and all the wed-min was beginning to take its toll, so we escaped for a stress-busting pre-moon in Hawaii, supposedly the contentment capital of the world, flying between Kauai, Maui, Big Island (AKA Hawaii Island) and Oahu.
Last year, it was all about looking to Scandinavia to give our mood a boost – from getting our hygge on to trying to live more ‘Danishly’. But perhaps we’ve been looking for happiness in all the wrong places. When it comes to contentment, the Hawaiians are riding high. They have ranked number one in the US for wellbeing six years running, with criteria including a strong sense of community, financial security and physical health*. We’re after a bit of a happiness boost ourselves, and we’ve clearly come to the right place.
Hawaii is made up of 137 islands, many of them small or tricky to reach. The main ones are Oahu: where you arrive on an international flight, and home to tourist-packed, vibrant Honolulu; Kauai, the greenest (arguably most beautiful) island, and much quieter than the others. Then there’s Maui, packed with small, friendly hippy towns, and Big Island, the largest, and home to an active volcano. Can’t decide? They are all naturally beautiful, and great for surfing, snorkelling and eating, so you can’t go far wrong. Most newbies head for Maui, probably the best mixture of town and country, but locals recommend Kauai for its authentic, calm vibe.