I just returned from a very non-business trip to Hawaii. We’d been following the news about the volcanic eruption in the South and every day brought more doom and gloom – it looked like the whole island was covered by red hot lava, the air filled with choking ash.. Despite our fears, flights appeared to be running as normal, and when we arrived we were relieved to find a tropical paradise, just like we expected.
The truth is, the volcano is causing havoc, but only in a relatively small area. We took a boat trip from Hilo the capital to see the lava flow (pictured) and it was simultaneously awesome and very sad as we discovered that the brand new beach we were seeing had been a marina and housing estate a week ago before 20ft of lava engulfed it.
Local vendors told us their business was down 50% due to the drop in tourism, however I was impressed by their resilience – they’re a friendly and optimistic group, they realise that you can’t expect to live on an active Volcano and not occasionally experience something like this, so they’re not resentful, rather they were doubling down to make sure they get through the next few months as things hopefully settle. Without exception all the vendors we spoke to were cheerful, enaging, extremely knowledgeable about their products and notably extremely grateful – all making a point of thanking us for coming to the island. We really enjoyed our stay in what has to be one of the most unusual and interesting places I’ve ever visited.
I couldn’t help thinking about our own recent experiences of dealing with the oil slump – although it’s almost embarrassing to compare what we went through with losing your house to burning lava. Nevertheless I did ponder on my own attitude – optimism and gratitude are easy to overlook, as we appear to have come out of the other side am I taking it all for granted ?