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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Your resident local girl who has never been anywhere else, other than islands, has officially visited the mainland! This was something that I never thought was going to happen because money has always been an issue for me, and I haven’t had a lot of independence growing up.

To go on this trip, I needed permission from my professors to miss a week’s worth of classes and a leave request submitted to my supervisor in order to be considered “on vacation” from my RA position. Fortunately, my reason was very valid for everyone. I was going to a concert—A JUSTIN BIEBER CONCERT, and I bought these concert tickets in February 2020 (aka a month before COVID officially hit Hawaii).

I’m very grateful that I was able to go with my best friend and partner (of whom paid for my airfare, rented the car, and drove my best friend and I everywhere we wanted to go). I remember being a high schooler and making plans with this specific friend about traveling and seeing the world. We really manifested that!

Our itinerary was quite heavy and jam-packed. We chose locations of very touristy places in Los Angeles and San Diego to visit and made sure that we planned out each day from morning to night. Our Airbnb was simply for having a place for our luggage and for us to sleep and shower.

Now for the highlights of my trip:

In N Out

This might be an unpopular opinion, but it was meh. I’m happy that it was significantly cheaper than McDonalds but it was very much a regular burger to me. I did enjoy the fries because I got them animal style. But I am hoping to try it again when I haven’t just run out of LAX.

Santa Monica Pier

I really enjoyed it! We went on Valentine’s Day so everyone around me was either on dates or with their large group of friends, hanging out. The lights were mesmerizing, and the Ferris wheel had hearts on it, I’m assuming because of Valentine’s Day. The rides were kind of expensive. I really wanted to ride the rollercoaster, but it was $11 for one ride, and I was not ready to drop that much money in the very beginning of my trip. Instead of going on rides, I decided to get a funnel cake for the first time ever. AND I LOVED IT! Thank you to whoever invented funnel cakes!


It was sort of a miss for me. I think I might have expected a lot because of TikTok. I liked the French onion soup but I was not a fan of the sandwich or the papaya tea.

Beachwood Café

My king Harry Styles wrote about the Beachwood Café in his song “Falling”, so of course, I had to go get coffee from there. It was a 10/10 for me! The food was amazing, the coffee was the freshest and most aromatic coffee I’ve ever had, and the customer service was spectacular. The area was also very cottagecore-like so everything was incredibly pleasing to me.

Din Tai Fung

I love dim sum and this was the BEST dim sum I’ve ever had! Everything was family style and tasted so delicious. I especially loved the beef noodles and the chocolate xiao long bao (I highly recommend). My server, Kirby, from the San Diego location was amazing and made the entire experience perfect!!

And lastly,

Justin Bieber concert <3

My best friend and I have been Beliebers since 2010 so this was something that we waited 12 years for. We got the Justice World Tour opening night tickets and were SO HYPED! He was amazing and sounded exactly like the studio versions of his songs. He even sang some throwbacks for the OG Beliebers. It was a night to remember but felt so unreal that I still cannot believe that I saw Justin in real life.

For my first trip to the mainland, it was a very special one. It was not totally perfect because the stresses of traveling may have gotten to me, but I don’t regret going on this trip. If anything, I now want to travel a lot more now that I know that there is so much more in the world than what the islands can show me. The chaos of LA was very much like my personality, so I will be going back ASAP!

Aloha everyone! I'm Mary Joy, born and raised on the island of O'ahu. I'm a senior majoring in Business Management. On my free time, I enjoy finding new places to eat, spending time with friends, and taking naps :) I enjoy writing for HerCampus and showing everyone what I love about the island!