Have you ever heard of anyone who has visited Hawaii and returned only to say how much they hated it there? I highly doubt it…at least, not where we are from here in Canada. In fact, I would venture to guess that it is one of the most highly sought after vacation spots in the world, certainly the western world. I, personally, have been fortunate enough to have holidayed there five times in my life thus far, with trip number six around the corner. I first visited the island of Oahu as a child at aged seven, after my mom finally convinced my dad to take a much needed family vacation. Of course, as a youngster, the island’s jubilance did not really impact me at all other than the fact that it had neat trees, palms as they were, and nice weather compared to back home. But, having never been on an airplane before, the trip itself was just as exciting as the destination to me, and as an animal lover, my fondest memory of that trip was of the little striped, grey kitten that I befriended in the hotel’s lobby. (Well, I also remember my mom being petrified of cockroaches and frequently fluffing the sheets to ensure that there were none lazing about in our beds, in addition to her high-pitched scream as we came across a lizard in the parking lot outside…but, I digress.)
Four years ago, when my dad decided to surprise my mom for her 70th birthday and return for a family vacation (shocking that he’d suggested so this time around, albeit decades later, but better later than never), my soon-to-be husband and I decided to have our wedding there at the same time. A quaint sunset beach ceremony in Hawaii? Sold!!! Needless to say, it was an exquisite visit from start to finish being surrounded by family on such special occasions, and obviously, our wedding was the highlight for us–though our locale on the Hawaiian Islands was not lost on us. After that December visit, my now husband and I vowed that we would return to Hawaii each year, and fortunately, we have. While our family trip in 2012 was back to Honolulu, we longed to try the other islands, finally settling on the Big Island the following year. When we arrived at our oceanfront, well-situated hotel, it was late and we were exhausted. The crashing waves outside our patio doors were welcomed, but LOUD as we longed for sleep. The following morning (just a few short hours later) however, when we awoke to the gorgeous sunrise over the beautiful ocean, just steps away, we were smitten with nature’s shot at perfection that lay before us. As the swaying palm fronds framed our view to the vast expanse of blue water, we slowly took in our fifty degree weather change to the good and the fresh smell of saltwater. It was truly a paradise waiting to be rediscovered for the umpteenth time. And, we took it ALL in. The sights, the sounds, the people, the culture, the laid-back feel–everything! Ten days would CLEARLY not be enough time, and as it was, we barely travelled anywhere except for an hour’s radius from our property. To our own surprise, we didn’t feel the need to take in the volcanoes, the black sand beaches or the infamous coffee tours offered at every turn. We were happy just being. Being in Hawaii in the South Pacific Ocean…far enough away from home to feel worlds apart, yet close enough to wrap one’s fingers around all of what it had to offer. The above picture was one of my attempts at capturing a glimpse into the natural beauty that existed in every nook and cranny of Kona. While it looks somewhat exotic and as though it might be a part of a waterfall backdrop, this beautiful flower simply adorned the roadway that led to the oceanside shops and restaurants, which we visited daily. Simply put, at the end of the day, we were in love. So much so, that we have since been contemplating the idea of picking up from our comfortable lives with family, friends and successful jobs here to move there, to the Big Island, as many of our Canadian neighbours have already done.
In the meantime, while we have thought about visiting Maui or Kauai in an effort to check all of the Islands off of our proverbial list, we just cannot seem to fathom the notion of leaving out our beautiful Kona. And, so we will return in the summer to walk the roadside where that lovely, pink, jubilant flower was found. Perhaps, we will find you walking there as well?!