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Community over Competition: The Hawaii Campervan Community

As I write this, I’m sitting at the HICO coffee shop in Kona Village waiting one more hour to meet up with Campervan Hosts from all over the island at Ola Brewery.

WHY in the world would I be gathering my very competition?

Well, it just so happens that in my day job, I’m a community builder and strategist. I’ve seen first-hand the power of bringing your competition (read: community) together for a bigger, more beautiful purpose than any of us could accomplish alone.

And what I’m trying to do here on Hawaii island is much bigger than anything I can do alone.

But it’s a difficult mindset shift when we are used to operating in a scarcity mindset.

I like to use this analogy-

I had a serious biker-friend who was pissed off about the recent increase in electric bikes on the road.

A competition-oriented person with a scarcity mindset would say “Oh no! There are more people riding bikes on the road, there’s less space for me, these people need to go.”

But a community-oriented person with an abundance mindset would say “Wow! There’s more people riding bikes on the roads. Now that we all love biking so much, I bet we can work together to get more and better bike lanes to keep us all safe.”

On a finite island with finite resources, it is SO easy to fall into a scarcity mindset when all you’re after is the bottom line.

And before I go any further, I must acknowledge that here in Hawaii we are operating within the context of colonialism. As a white woman living in this island, I am in no position to ask native Hawaiians to generously share more resources hoping it will all even out after hundreds of years of colonization.

AND. When we approach issues of equity with a community-oriented abundance mindset, there will be FAR more to go around than if we go it alone, protect, and hoard the little that we have by ourselves.

Especially in the tourism industry here, it’s easy to feel the finite constraints that competition brings rather than to see the grander opportunity available to us by coming together as one Hawaii Campervan Community.

Our Vision at Sun + Salt Campervans is that the island of Hawaii becomes the best place for kama’aina and molikini to have an unforgettable Campervan adventure.

We see a future where Hawaii island has more camping and recreational areas for all people to enjoy nature than any other island.

We see a future where campervans people turn their airbnbs into long-term rentals for residents rather than vacation stays because there are alternative, equally cozy, responsible, and sustainable ways to travel the island.

We see a future where the tourism industry helps provide for better roadways, parking for residents, and designated camping spots to keep people safe.

We see a future where we can save precious coastline and mountaintops, keeping them public and accessible for generations to come, because we found space-efficient ways of traveling.

We see a future where our land is better maintained and left in better condition than anywhere else in the world.

We see a future where visitors can see more than just a resort pool, see and cherish a glimpse of authentic Hawaiian culture.

If all we were doing here was trying to make as much money as possible, as quickly as possible, then yes, I would be very concerned about competition.

But we are here for SO much more than that. And to make this vision reality, we need our community of Campervan hosts to make it happen.

There will be people who don't get it. And that's okay. I'm reminding myself now that I can only control my own actions and I'm choosing today to use my work to make this island better for everyone.

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