Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Wants Tourists to Stay Away from Volcano

Has tourism been affected by the volcano?

The portion of land directly impacted by the volcano is quite small. Only 10 square miles are off limits. Big Island is over 4,000 square miles, almost the size of Connecticut. Most of the island is safe and of course our other islands haven’t been affected.

How do you manage your long-distance life?

Carefully. Personally, my husband and I take turns traveling back and forth, sometimes meeting in the middle.

Professionally, I thank God for technology. There are many ways I stay in touch with my constituents — telephone town halls, FaceTime, Skype, email newsletters, social media, letters, phone conversations and texts.

I drink a lot of coconut water. It’s one of the most effective natural electrolyte liquids one can drink to prevent dehydration. When you’re constantly on a plane staying hydrated is critical to staying well.

Does surfing help you unwind?

Yes. Growing up in Hawaii the ocean has always been a really big part of my life. My husband proposed to me four years ago at one of our favorite surf breaks during sunset. When I’m home in Hawaii we make it a priority to get in the water. We’ll try to go for a sunrise surf before I start my day.

Surfing also helps with jet lag. The ocean is calming, peaceful and rejuvenating.

What do you pack in your carry-on?

I always bring a reusable, refillable water bottle. I go to refilling stations in airports to be sure I have a full bottle when the plane takes off. I take hand sanitizer, anti-bacterial wipes — I give everything a quick wipe down when I sit down in the plane — headphones, meditation beads and my laptop because work never stops. Wi-Fi over the continental U.S. is fine but as soon as we hit the Pacific Ocean it’s wiped out. That’s when I can begin to relax.