Traveler Tuesday – Sarah of Borders & Bucket Lists
I could not be more thrilled to introduce you to Sarah who hails from one of my favorite places in the world, Hawaii. Even in such a beautiful and culturally amazing home like Hawaii, people want to get out and explore the world, and seeing what is out there is really good for making you appreciate where you are from, which is exactly why Sarah's blog Borders & Bucket Lists, is such a great read. We get to follow her mainland and European adventures while getting local tips and information on one of the most beautiful spots in the world.
Let’s meet Sarah!
 When and how did you become a traveler?
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I think this is an interesting question because it made a lot of other questions come to mind. Is it asking when I got on my first flight? When I first traveled out of the U.S.? When I first felt like I’d truly experienced an unfamiliar culture? Or when I decided I wanted to travel for the rest of my life?
Each of these questions has a different answer. My first flight was when I was just a few weeks old. My parents, who lived in Hawaii away from the rest of our HUGE family, flew to Colorado to introduce me to the rest of my family members. My first time out of the U.S. was when I was just twelve years old to Paris, France and then Cairo, Egypt. The first time I felt like I’d truly experienced an unfamiliar culture was a couple of years after that in Venice, Italy during the Redentore Celebration, an all-out celebration to remember the end of the Black Plague.
Finally, I don’t remember when exactly I decided I wanted to travel for the rest of my life. I think it was this insatiable desire to keep discovering places and cultures that were unfamiliar to me from the beginning. Sure, it grew when I left the country and went to Paris and Cairo, but I think it was there from the beginning when I would ask my elementary school friends about their different cultural backgrounds. (Hawaii is the perfect place to do that with all of its diversity!)
 What kind of traveler do you define yourself as?
I suppose I’m more of an outdoor and cultural traveler. You won’t find me at a shopping mall when I’m in a new city. Odds are, I’ll be somewhere lost in nature or delving into the food and festivals. Hiking to waterfalls, going to the beach, and trying weird bizarre foods are three of my favorite things, so your best bet that I’ll be checking to see if my destination has one of those activities.
 Which country do you come from/call home?
I am from the United States, particularly from the island of Oahu, Hawaii. With the exception of college, I’ve spent my entire life living on that little island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
 What do you crave from home when you are traveling?
The food! Whenever I go home to Hawaii after being away for a while, within my first week, I’ll find a spam musubi, some poke, some mochi, and a bunch of tropical fruit.
 Tell us about your blog
My blog, Borders & Bucket Lists, is a travel blog with a focus on travel to my home state of Hawaii. It’s filled with local tips about visiting Hawaii – from hikes to beaches to restaurants! Most travel posts on Hawaii actually aren’t from locals, but rather from visitors. That’s what makes my blog unique. Everyone knows Hawaii locals have their secrets, and on my blog, I reveal quite a few of those secrets.
 What do you love most about traveling?
There are so many aspects of travel that I absolutely love – and I think my favorite part has to be a tie between discovering stunning nature scenes and understanding other cultures.
When I think back on my travels, the most prominent memories have to do with one of those two things. Seeing an orange and blue dotted baby stingray while snorkeling in the Red Sea in Egypt. Smashing plates while celebrating in Greece with locals. Peering over the edge of the railing of Niagara Falls. Tasting shakshuka for the first time in Morocco. All of these are amazing memories – and what do they have in common? Nature and culture.
 What do you dislike about traveling?
I don’t really like how commercialized traveling has become. It’s very difficult to find the real culture of a destination because most places cater to tourists and instead create a relatively fake oasis to please them. For example, on my home island of Oahu, there is so much beautiful culture to experience. However, most people stay in tourist-saturated Waikiki – an area with almost no exposure to local culture, which makes me quite sad.
 How do you prepare for a trip?
I don’t really do all that much prep for a trip. I’ll book my flights and my Airbnb, but I don’t do much research on the must-sees and must-dos. I usually know the basics of what I should see in a city, and, other than that, I like to wander around and find hidden parks, quirky shops, and tucked away viewpoints.
 You have won the lottery, now tell us where you want to live.
Hawaii, of course! Even though I have traveled the world, I still think my home state of Hawaii is one of the most beautiful places on the globe. And what’s more amazing is that even after spending my entire life on Oahu, I still don’t know all of the secrets! Just this week I found a hidden, straight-out-of-a-movie staircase that led to a stunning viewpoint! Where else can something like that happen after 21 years of discovery?
 Travel essentials – 3 things you always travel with.
I consider myself to be a minimalist packer. I can pack for ten days in a school backpack or for eight months in snowy Switzerland in a single 50-pound suitcase, so coming up with three travel essentials (besides clothes) was actually pretty difficult. I ended up choosing earbuds, a portable charger, and a hydro flask.
Earbuds are a necessity for planes and trains. Want to zone out the outside noise? Earbuds. Want to watch a movie? Earbuds. Want to take a nap? Earbuds.
A portable charger is extremely helpful as well. When I travel, I am taking tons of pictures on my phone and constantly using Google Maps to navigate. That means that my phone usually runs out of battery pretty quickly, so my portable charger definitely comes in handy. I also found that using a portable charger abroad is helpful in a different way. For the eight months I studied abroad in Switzerland, I’d travel to different countries on the weekends. I didn’t want to figure out when I needed to bring my power adapter, so instead, I just loaded up my portable charger and used that to charge my phone for the entire weekend.
Last but not least is the hydro flask. When I don’t bring my hydro flask on a trip, I don’t drink nearly as much water as I need to. And when I don’t drink water, the trip is not as enjoyable as it could be. Plus, it’s a fantastic alternative to plastic water bottles! We all want to preserve the earth’s stunning natural landscapes, right? And buying yourself a hydro flask is a pretty easy way to contribute.
 What is your favorite article of clothing?
This was the hardest question for me on this list because I don’t think a whole lot about my clothes. I think I’ll have to go with my swimwear from Sundaze Bikinis, because not only do I use the products quite often, but the company has a fantastic mission as well. Sundaze Bikinis takes pieces of ocean plastic that are hurting the animals in the ocean and transforms them into swimwear! They take something that was harming the ocean and turn it into something that you can use to see what is being preserved. That’s absolutely amazing.
 Your single most treasured personal possession.
When I was around eight years old, I started keeping a travel journal. It’s so funny to go back and see what I thought was important to write down – whether it be which airport each layover took us to or how many Dunkin’ Donuts shops I saw in one day. And it’s brutally honest too. If I didn’t like the way a place smelled, I wrote it. If I didn’t like how a food tasted, I wrote it. Every time I read it, it gives me a good laugh and brings back some great travel memories.
 Do you have a piece of advice for bloggers starting out?
Find your niche. The blogging world – especially the travel blogging world – is so oversaturated with people trying to carve out a piece of the pie, myself included. So to have a consistent following, you have to prove that you are an expert in a specific area, whether that be a destination, a form of travel, or something else. I still ended up choosing a pretty competitive niche: Hawaii. While not many locals write about the islands, a lot of visitors do, which can make it difficult for my local tips to be read, even though they are valuable. So did my risky decision of choosing a competitive niche it pay off? I’m still working on it.
 What are three other blogs that inspire you?
Chasing Lenscapes has some amazing photographs. They somehow manage to capture little snippets of culture in a way that I can only dream of doing.
Salt in Our Hair has a voice and an aesthetic that is just so appealing. I mean, that explains their huge following! (They have 215K followers on Instagram!)
Journey Era is the one I was most hesitant to put on this list, simply because it is one of my biggest competitors on a good chunk of my blog posts! But I have to hand it to Jackson Groves, the man behind the blog. He goes on amazing adventures, takes awesome pictures, and writes every detail you need to know in a post.
 Your favorite travel resource on the web?
This is a no-brainer but Google Maps. I am absolutely terrible with directions, so without Google Maps, I wouldn’t be able to get anywhere or do anything.
Sarah's Lightning Round of Favorites
Airport: Kona, Hawaii, because you get to walk up and board the plane, and the entire airport is outdoors.
Mode of Transportation: Any kind of boat
Window or aisle: Window, always.
City: Kailua, Oahu, Hawaii
Country: Canada – its people are so nice! It reminds me of Hawaii’s aloha spirit.
Travel Gear: Miniature High Sierra Backpack
Travel Snack: Any kind of dried fruit
Book: This is Portland by Alexander Barrett
Movie: My Big Fat Greek Wedding
Song: Riptide by Vance Joy
Quote: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” – Mahatma Ghandi
You can keep up with Sarah on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and of course on her blog, Borders & Bucket Lists. Wherever you catch her, I am sure you will enjoy her adventures!
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Sarah, it’s so nice to meet you! 🙂 This gets me excited about the vacation I have coming up next month!
aww well it was so nice to meet Sarah! loved reading this post!
I travel for the food, too! Thanks to Sarah for inspiring me to spend more time outside while traveling.
It’s been awesome reading Sarah’s interview and getting to know her. I’d love to spend more time in Hawaii, Canada and so many other wonderful places around the world.
I enjoyed getting to know more about Sarah! I’m a long way from from and I absolutely miss the food – nothing like it! I also like to travel to learn more about different cultures.
Hi Sarah!! I think the food is the best part of traveling, too! haha I just love trying new dishes as a way to experience a new place!
What a fun way to get to know each other! Thanks for sharing about your world.
Hawaii is on my bucket list to visit! Going to check out Sarah’s blog now!
I love that she doesn’t prepare much to go to a new place. I’m a researcher; I want to make a list and have ideas. I love that she’d rather just wander and find the interesting things a place has to offer!