About a week ago, I left Central California for an open-ended journey of work and travel. The first stop on this adventure was Hawaii! I flew in on Thursday night, got lei’d with a homemade treasure from Sam’s mom and sister (thanks Christi and Ella!), and made my way to Kailua, Oahu where there were freshly baked brownies and leftover tacos waiting for me. My heart.
My first full day was spent at Kailua Beach (in Kailua, obviously). This beach was awesome! Much more of a local treasure than a tourist destination, but it is still a beautiful place to waste the day away. The beach is attached to a park, is a great launching place for kayaking to a few different smaller islands, and within swimming distance of Flat Island. I should point out now, though, that the powerful Hawaiian sun punished me on that day a week ago, and I am still paying for it. (Reapply, reapply, reapply sunscreen!) After the beach we made our way to Island Snow, another local oasis. It is a shave ice counter tucked away inside an island supply store. (It’s also Prez Obama’s favorite shave ice on the island, and he would know—he lived here forever!) That night, we babysat three beautiful babies and, let’s just say, earned every penny that we were paid. We were also supplied with Bob’s Pizza—the tastiest pizza in Kailua.
The next day was spent sipping margaritas with Sam’s family, conveyer belt sushi, and Jurassic World. That’s really all I can say about that day! From what I can recall, Jurassic World was very satisfying! Chris Pratt, I love you.
Sunday was our North Shore day. Just saying “the North Shore” makes me feel elusive and like I am pretending to be a seasoned Hawaiian vacation expert. Nonetheless, North Shore is probably one of my favorite parts of Oahu. It’s indescribably beautiful, seriously. And every time you visit it there’s something new to see or do. This time, I revisited Giovanna’s Shrimp Shack—the most famous of shrimp shacks in all of Hawaii! And I must say, it lives up to the hype. As long as you actually enjoy shrimp. Next, we went to a tucked away beach whose name I do not even know where The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’s beach scenes were filmed. YEAH, YOU READ RIGHT. I WALKED ON THE SAME BEACH THAT J-LAW GRACED WITH HER PRESENCE. I almost didn’t want to wash the sand off of me from that experience. Almost. We then made our way to Haleiwa, the little town at the end of the scenic North Shore drive. It’s under a bunch of construction currently in order to make it more accessible since it has such an intense amount of tourism, but ironically, the construction is making it more of a clusterfuck. We were able to go to an ice cream shop called Scoop of Paradise, which is stocked with homemade ice cream in really cool flavors, as well as being a toy store! Two birds one stone!
The next day, we kayaked out to The Mokes. The Mokes are two small (fraternal) twin islands off the shore of Kailua Beach. It takes about 45 minutes to paddle out to them. We were in a 3-person kayak and it was a choppy day out in the water, so it was a rough ride! Once you make it out there, the island that looks like a woman sitting and tilting her head back has a beach that you can dock your kayaks on. A long, long time ago, in a world that looked much different than ours, that island was formed by volcanic eruption. So, when I say that the trek around the rocky island to a hidden cove was a jagged one, you know I mean it! Once we made it to the other side of the island, then came my big-kid-panties moment. After 25 minutes of coaxing from random strangers and friends alike, I faced a big fear of mine and cliff dove for the first time!! It was like ten feet, and really should not have been that difficult for anyone to jump off of, but for me it was a feat! Of course, my most brave moment of the week was accompanied with a bruise on my butt from harsh water impact, but c’est la vie. I did it. That night we were supposed to go to a luau, but it was cancelled due to heavy flooding. We improvised and spent the evening sneaking around the Disney Resort on Oahu.
No trip to Oahu is complete without a trip to Honolulu and Waikiki, right? Personally, not a huge fan of huge metropolis tourist trap areas, but I still can appreciate the people watching that can occur in such a place. We spent a morning walking around and shopping in Waikiki, had lunch at Duke’s (one of the most famous restaurants on Oahu), and tried (stole) a bunch of free samples at Honolulu Cookie Company stores all along the strip. Prot-tip: if you are using a car (like a rental, or you live here, or you’re with someone who lives here) and you’re trying to park in Waikiki, arrive early and park at the Honolulu Zoo! It’s within walking distance of everything (including beaches) and only costs $1/hour.
The next day and a half were a blur, taking people to the airport, picking other people up from the airport, packing and leaving ourselves. We are currently in the Manila Airport in the Philippines for a 15 hour layover. Too exhausted to leave and explore the city. It feels good to be traveling again.
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The restless race of the traveler’s heart before the journey begins, when anxiety and anticipation are tangled together
Greetings from Oahu, Hawaii! I have officially began my six-month escapade around the world. It is such a strange feeling to finally embark after months and months of planning, preparation and anticipation.
I’m in Hawaii with Sam (who will be guest-appearing on this blog within the next couple weeks), and we are so, so pumped to start this trip! One thing we have not been able to stop talking about is an idea that one of our inspirations, Dan Eldon, once said: the journey is the destination. Every step is critical. It’s not just about the end result, it’s about everything in between. Every stop-over, every person we meet, every fleeting emotion. It’s about never becoming desensitized to the beauty that’s all around us. It’s about always being ready to experience something life changing and never turning down an opportunity to get your feet wet. The journey is being constantly in love with where you are, who you are with and what you are doing. It is missing those you’ve left behind, but knowing that they’re always with you. It is finding home in every place you rest your head. It is constantly being out of your element. It is difficult. It is worth it. And it has begun.
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