For the first time since I started this blog, there is a miniscule chance that someone else besides my husband will be reading this since I faced my fears and announced its existence on my Facebook page this morning. If you are a Facebook friend curious about what possessed Michael and I to take leave of our senses this summer, welcome! Glad to have you. I will be happy to give you the low down on what went down to make this upcoming trip actually take place.
A mere six years ago, Michael and I started talking about how different we feel when we are in Hawaii. It’s not just a vacation temperament. We are fortunate enough to travel a fair amount and have never quite been able to recapture the same spirit when we are anywhere else. Maybe it’s the distance from home. Or the 4-5 hour time difference. Or the slower pace of the local Hawaiians. Maybe it’s the comforts that come with a U.S. address wrapped up in a Polynesian atmosphere. Whatever it is, it is palpable. Our bodies are healthier; our eyes visibly whiter, our sinuses more open, our senses more on fire and our souls calmer and more connected to our surroundings. We decided to start thinking more critically about how to live more like we feel when we are on the Islands.
It is true that we seriously discussed what it would take to move to Hawaii. We researched healthcare, schools, potential communities, real estate, etc. While we came close to pursuing a more long term island visit, we came back to our senses and decided to remain in Dallas, close to our friends and family and among resources that we knew would help us raise our kids the best we could. But that itch? That little thought in the back of our minds that said why not take a chance… you only live once? The desire to expose our kids to new adventures, different cultures, diverse people? It never went away. Something kept calling us back.
While we have definitely spent some our resources attempting to reproduce that same spirit of Aloha in our current environment, we quietly began planning something big, yet manageable. It would be memorable and meaningful; just not permanent. We decided that 2017 would be the year and celebrating 20 years of marriage would be our excuse. This year has also proved to be quite possibly the last time our family can ‘sneak away’ for an extended period of time; Dan’s schedule, his age, his impending departure for college in just 3 short years, and his increasing desire to spend less and less time with us and more time with friends has given this trip a sense of urgency and even more meaning for us. There aren’t many places he’s willing to go to for a whole month with just his family. Not to mention he will have to put off getting his driver’s license for a whole 3 weeks. That in itself is a miracle!
Six years in the making… months of planning, hours and hours of research, many late nights and weekends of working for Mike, lots of saving, cashing in points for miles… the list of preparations goes on and on. Not to mention all the people who are helping us out this month to keep things moving at home and at work. It honestly doesn’t even seem real that today is actually the day it all starts.
While our favorite island spot is on the Big Island of Hawaii, we have yet to visit Oahu or Kauai. So, we decided to spend half the trip exploring new places and half the trip in our old familiar haunts.
July 1 – July 5: Honolulu
Michael has developed a small obsession with Pearl Harbor so we will be spending a lot of our time there. I want to see what a big city on a small island in the Pacific feels like and watch the Fourth of July Fireworks from our balcony. (I hear Hawaii has a love affair with fireworks!)
July 5 – July 16: Kauai
We will split up our time between the North and South side of the island, getting a taste of “Old Hawaii”, hiking, exploring waterfalls, and of course checking out all the beaches. Michael and Dan will get to explore Kauai from behind the lens with a seasoned photographer who knows the island. (Merry Christmas Michael!:) I also plan to shop at the world’s largest ukulele shop for a new ‘baby’ ukulele.
July 16 – July 23: Big Island, Kohala Coast
Our favorite place in the world. We will celebrate Dan’s 16th birthday, renew our vows for our 20th anniversary on our favorite beach, visit our favorite restaurants, ride horses on the mountain ranches, swim with manta rays, and hopefully find some dolphins to swim with in Kealakekua Bay.
July 23 – July 30: Big Island, Pahoa
This week, we load up at Costco and drive over to the opposite side of the island, where we will find more locals than tourists and stay in a house in a somewhat remote area that sits on top of tide pools. I want to take in the ‘virgin’ air on the easternmost part of the island (seriously… scientists from all over the globe test the air here because it is considered as pristine as any in the world, having travelled over the landless Pacific for many weeks.) Mike plans to do a lot of cooking this week and I plan to do a lot of nothing (by nothing, I mean yoga, meditating, reading, walking, snorkeling, uke playing, etc.)
I do have some personal goals for this trip.
- Stay in the moment, as often as I can.
- Connect with God through nature.
- Pray/meditate every day.
- Eat local, healthy, and organic when possible.
- Journal/blog/photograph our journey.
- Play my ukulele as often as I want.
- Make memories with my 3 favorite people in the world. Really spend time with each of them.
That last goal is my most favorite. I seriously can’t believe that I get to spend a month with my peeps, away from school, therapy, driving through traffic, appointments, taking care of the house, etc. I try to, but I never seem to fully relax inside my own home. I find it difficult to resist putting that next load of laundry in, or checking email, or paying bills. Those chores are always there, staring me in the face. I plan on avoiding all that as much as possible this month (ok, I will still have a little laundry, but I think I can manage that.)
Feel free to check back again tomorrow after we get settled in Waikiki. I will be posting lots of pics and blogging as often as I can so that our family and friends can keep up with our adventures. I plan to use this space as a journal of our trip so that I will always be able to look back and remember every little detail of this trip. I hope you all enjoy! Aloha!