Carol Forsloff—It is a condition that strikes some people who visit Hawaii and who stay for prolonged periods, as some do with the military or special assignments. It also impacts those who arrive in Hawaii and develop the fever over time. Knowing the signs and symptoms of this affliction can be helpful in both prevention and cure, so here is what you need to know about it.
Island fever sometimes occurs when an individual gets homesick. The homesickness can often occur during holidays, like Christmas, when in many places of the world the snow drifts onto the landscape, bringing the visual fantasies associated with the winter holiday. But there is no snow for virtually anyone who visits the islands, unless he or she happens to travel to the top of Mauna Kea, the great mountain on the Big Island. For the rest of the people who visit or who live in Hawaii, the weather offers no difference from an ordinary island day, with temperatures that vary from the low 60’s to the mid 80’s during the fall and winter days. Yet those who know the islands well notice subtle differences of temperatures that mark the season’s change. But for many folk it is only the decorations, the Thanksgiving turkey in November and the Christmas trees in the homes that remind people of the special joys those holidays can bring. For those afflicted with island fever this may not be enough. Those who want the traditional atmosphere may find themselves sick indeed.
The affliction known as island fever can also happen when one looks to travel far by car, for the islands’ boundaries are limited; and in 60 miles or less from either side of Oahu, the ocean establishes limits to roads and highways that bring the sense of exploration when some folks long to drive in a seeming endless fashion along an open road.
Those who seek some recognition as being special for culture, religion or for race may find it difficult to obtain all that with so many diverse peoples that no special group stands out. Everyone is a minority on the islands, with no group taking prominence simply because of a fair or dark complexion or a particular belief. The people who want to be special are the first ones to feel ill. Claiming superiority in some way can foster island fever.
Then there are island people themselves, born and raised right here, who seek adventure somewhere else, then usually return. They suffer island fever that is temporary still, for Hawaii remains with their bones long after they are gone.
Island fever seldom lasts, and those who suffer most are likely to leave the islands after what brought them here has faded, and their love affair has died. For some folks come to heal themselves and once healed, then they leave, the island fever taking them to where they once had been. But those who favor island life, the customs and the joy are likely never taken down with island fever ills, so may not understand.
If you have island fever, it is likely you will need to find the source of all your pain, and finding that may move along or seek the cure and stay.