Honolulu Whirlwind

I’ve been to Honolulu many times, but recently it’s just been as brief as a stop in the airport awaiting a connecting flight. Kenny hadn’t actually gotten out of the airport so I decided we needed to check it out! We got some wheels and off we went, eating - shopping - exploring - eating - shopping 🙂

In our short getaway we were able to try many great restaurants and local establishments:

1. Sushi Bay


We knew there would be a line, and boy was there a wait! Despite being starving and heading into See’s for some chocolate to hold us over we both agree it was worth it. There were about 15 people before us on the list and we waited what felt like 45 minutes. This is the average. The sushi quality was fresh, and portions very big (I actually had trouble finishing everything) even though I had been starving!

2. Shirokiya Village Walk


I picked up some rolled thick rice noodles with pork and green onion (called Look Fun) with some dipping sauce and Ken got a steak bowl with some rice and salad that was insanely tender and savory. On the way out we got six little Hello Kitty Taiyaki (aka filled waffles) to go since we were pretty full. They didn’t last long thought, we got a custard, chocolate, strawberry, original, and mochi filled taiyaki! We both agreed that the custard was our favorite!


3. Pressed Juicery

A great dairy free option for dessert. I was so excited to see this location because I thought it only existed on the West Coast! You can choose from some wonderful combinations or build your own sundae (also pick up some nice juices as well)!

4. Cinnamon’s


My oh my! How did I miss this place in all my prior visits to Oahu? I don’t know but we were too excited by the options so we got one of each (the red velvet pancake, guava chiffon pancake, and crab-cake eggs benedict).

5. Waiola Shave Ice


I am so impressed — this is the MOST FINE ice I have ever eaten. I can’t explain or fathom how they did it even though I watched them make it — We got Lychee, Coconut, and Guava flavors which were amazing.

6. Leonard’s Bakery

don't mind
don’t mind the sugar on my face!

How could we pass up the opportunity to try some famous malasadas? We also got a few to share (custard filled, original, and cinnamon sugar). Ken says they were the best he’s ever had, and I think they are still second to Homemade Bakery’s original malasada from Maui.

7. Jollibee


Filipino fast food! I was super excited to try this as I’ve watched a lot of famous mukbang-ers try Jollibee in their area. Ken and my friend got burgers while I ordered some fried chicken, spaghetti, and the palabok fiesta. I really enjoyed the fried chicken with gravy and the spaghetti was a super local version that I also loved.

8. Shirokiya Village Walk (drinks this time)


Great prices on beer, a couple bucks per glass which I’m sure is part of the reason it’s so busy in there! I also tried the Lemon Shochu and Peach Chu-Hi which were both really good —

9. Murakame Udon

This place was also worth the wait. We had tried to go previously to the Waikiki location around dinner time which was absolutely ridiculous (line almost going around the block)! We returned the next day for lunch and were very happy with our udon. Udon is a wonderful thick noodle, I got mine with a shoyu base and pork, while Ken got a sweeter dashi with soft boiled egg and some chicken on the side. I also picked out one shrimp tempura which was perfection with my noodles.

10. Mastumoto’s Shave Ice


Woo! More shave ice — This time we tried to step out of our routine and try some new flavors. We got Coconut, Yuzu and white cake in the largest size. First time flavors for the last two and WHITE CAKE definitely takes the cake!!

11. Uncle Bo’s


We got a great recommendation from my friend who is from the area that let us know we had to eat here, and especially not miss the Taro Beignets! It was decadent without being heavy, and probably helped that we shared one order of 6 beignets. There was a nice dipping sauce and one scoop of vanilla ice cream that balanced the dessert so well.

12. Lahaina Chicken Co.


I always love chicken, this one was roasted to perfect and juicy on the inside. I went for classic local sides (white rice and mac salad) which hit the spot. I wonder if someone in Lahaina really did start this or they just needed a catchy name —

Check out my photos on Instagram from the trip @nikkibrittain —

We also visited Pearl Harbor, Ala Moana (of course), Don Quijote, North Shore and more!

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A Short & Sweet Version of Our Year Abroad

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Month-long Roadtrip Highlights!

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Year of Travel with 1 Bag!

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Choosing the Right Backpack

Part 1



Part 2


Part 3

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15 Things You Should Travel With (that you might not realize)

The following is a list I composed of absolutely necessary items that we’ve traveled with during the past year + of our around the world trip. It is possible to do things differently but I find that our way allows us to travel lighter and thus more comfortably (and cheaper because we can fly any airlines with just our carry on). Everything pictured is what we actually used!

1. The Perfect Backpack -
Plan on researching these details a year to 6 months before you leave on your trip! Height and weight play a factor in which bag you will be lugging on your back. The waist and chest strap on my Osprey Farpoint 40 S/M really helped to take the weight strain off of my back/shoulders. I literally could not imagine traveling any other way after using this bag! Kenny used the same backpack but in the M/L size which adds an extra 2L of space, and it was still inconspicuous enough not to make us look like “backpackers”!


2. Travel Socks -
Travel socks will be made to wick moisture and odors, eliminating the need to wash them after every use. You may be able to go a week or two before switching them out which means you don’t need to carry so many pairs. I personally love the Smarwool brand socks and started with 3 or 4 pairs. As we near the end of our journey in Asia I currently have 3 socks total. Sad but I will totally be rebuying these!


3. Travel Underwear -
Same idea as the socks but with underwear. Yes, it sounds weird and it may feel weird but traveling with 4 or 5 pairs of travel underwear versus a couple weeks worth of regular underwear makes a huge difference in space. Plus, this leaves more room in your bag for the rest of your absolutely necessary items, and your back will thank you! Kenny and I are all about comfort and ease, making traveling easier and more enjoyable along the way. I tried the Exoficcio and Patagonia brand underwear for the past year. I preferred the material of the Patagonia but both worked very well! Shopping online there seems to be more style options than what they will have stocked in store, but if you do head into an R.E.I. or Patagonia you can get a better idea of sizing before ordering from Amazon etc.


4. Unlocked Cell Phone -
Don’t plan on doing this the week you leave for your trip. Talk to your cell phone provider now to see what steps must be done in order to unlock it. After verifying your information, you may need to finish the payments on the cell phone itself before the company will concur. It may be easier to unlock and old phone which no longer has service attached to it and less of a worry while you travel. This way no matter where you happen to be, purchasing that countries’ SIM card will allow you to have a connection to the world (and maps with directions to your next adventure).

5. No Fee Debit Card -
Fortunately or unfortunately many parts of the world still operate on cash only. Even in high tech societies like Japan, cash is king. Having a debit card that will not charge you those pesky withdrawal fees will save you a nice chunk of change. Plan to get this account set up before you leave, as signing up from another country may be difficult and require an in person visit to a branch if you attempt to do it anyways (I know because it happened to us, HAH!). You can still sign up online though! I HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend the Charles Schwab debit card — The way it works is that you can go to any ATM and take out money. It will still warn you about fees. The charges for that transaction will still show up on your account but at the end of the month it all gets reimbursed! You don’t pay a dime!

6. Packing Cube -
Know what will make your life easier. I didn’t realize it at the time but humored my bf by using it for my clothes. It turned out to be a semi structured medium sized packing cube that fit all of my clothes. I repeat, ALL of my clothes. Somehow this magical cube fits more in it than me folding things directly into my backpack or trying the “rolling” method. I don’t know how but — it. just. works. I used the largest sized black one by Eagle Creek and would not go without it.


7. Day Pack/Purse -
Obviously you will not be lugging your awesome travel backpack everywhere so have a nice sized day pack to take on, well, day trips whatever you might be doing. My purse was a bit larger than I’d normally carry but it worked out to be able to hold my cell phone, camera, snacks, a water bottle, etc. I spent $4.99 on my second travel purse, as I did not want anything eye catching going through Central America. The other quality that I got this for was the material, while faux leather was extremely foldable so I could squish it into my backpack no matter how full that already was and have my hands free. Kenny used the Patagonia Atom Sling which also worked out great and was utilized on the daily!


8. Titanium Spork -
You never know when or where you will be chowing down! If you get hangry like me, it doesn’t hurt to have this dual utensil on hand. The titanium makes it super lightweight to always have around, whether on a long bus ride, in the middle of nowhere hiking, or buying food from a convenience store.


9. Credit Card -
Duh! Why worry when you travel? After every trip from Europe I would be notified that I needed a new debit card because of this or that security threat. If you’re planning on traveling for an entire year or longer it may be difficult to have your new card sent out and be able to safely retrieve it wherever you may be. The added bonus of the credit card is that you hopefully choose one that gives you added points that can be redeemed for air miles or other travel perks. I would plan on signing up for these about 6-9 months before your trip so that you have ample time to meet the requirements for the signup bonus and you can then decide the best way to enjoy those perks while you are out and about traveling the world. While looking up flights you may notice that they don’t make much sense. A long international flight may be cheaper than a hop to one country over, or by using rewards a really big trip could be just $100 plus 15,000 miles.


10. Travel Towel -
While many places we stayed provided towels there were some that did not and it would’ve been a shame not to have showered only for the fact of not having a towel! These are not huge fluffy towels that we know and love, but absorbent shammies that also wick moisture and dry fairly quickly. They can also be used as a picnic blanket, sheet, pillow… etc!


11. 64 GB SD memory card!
I highly recommend getting a large one instead of multiple smaller ones. I had one for my camera and never worried about having to delete pics to make more room for others (although we did travel with our laptop). It was really nice to save the memory card and have access to all of our photos and video whenever I needed to. Plus it is less little items to keep track of AKA misplace and lose.


12. Lightweight Waterproof Jacket -
I’m always running a bit colder than everyone else so having a lightweight jacket is always useful whether walking around town or in an airplane. I searched for a waterproof jacket as we were about to leave for SE Asia and found one that rolled up into its pockets and could fit in just about anything (including my purse).


13. Combination lock for my backpack -
I started with three (one for each set of zippers on my backpack) but really only needed one that would loop through all of the zipper pulls. It was more peace of mind if I had to leave my backpack (containing everything I would be traveling with).


14. An All Purpose Soap -
While I still had my shampoo and separate face soap it was nice to have one bar that could do it all and easily go through any airport security. I’m talking about the Dr. Bronner’s bar soaps which you can pick up at any Target or health foods store. They are mild soaps which can be used for the body, face, hair, hands… whatever. I prefer the almond or peppermint smell the best, but there are many too choose from 🙂 We also carried a mini bottle of the liquid soap as well, it was that good!


15. Power Bank (external battery charger)
We used this one by Anker — It was great for anytime we’d be away from our home base as it charges any of your electronic gadgets and will allow you to have about a weeks worth of charges without an electrical outlet! It’s high speed, not too heavy and keeps you connected to the world. It also has two ports so you can charge multiple devices at one time. Phew!



16. Travel with a Partner!
The most cost effective way I know to travel is with someone! This works well for safety of course, but consider splitting food costs, taxi rides, air bnb’s…! Plus you’ll always have someone to help you photograph your adventures!


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Future Places to Visit

1. St. Petersburg, Russia


2. Iceland… (or anywhere possible to see the Northern Lights)


3. Peru

4. Singapore & Malaysia

5. Egypt

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Japan part 3



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Hong Kong again!



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