“The good news is that you are in Hawaii….you don’t need much.” This is the response that the front desk clerk cheerfully rang out with, as I wearily awaited the two-day late arrival of our luggage at wee hours in the morning. After having been without our ‘stuff’ for over forty-eight hours, his statement has really stuck with me ever since. He is right, you know. Despite our suitcase troubles, we truly are on vacation in what we happen to think is the most awesome place on earth and there really isn’t a whole lot needed to enjoy our time here. While I do NOT recommend losing your luggage en route, there is something to be gleaned from the whole experience and the Hawaiian gentleman’s wise words. Immediately, I was struck by his island answer, and the difference it portrays against my native-born, North American innateness of needing more stuff, more time, more everything. The difference between the two doesn’t sit well with me to be honest, and any time that happens, I take it as a gentle reminder from the universe to pay attention, reflect and evaluate. In due time of course; after all, I am on vacation;-). (See, I can, ‘Let go.’). That brings me to the second part of my post…
I’ve written about it many times before on my blog (sorry to those who are sick of reading about it–if so, you may wish to skip this one), but each time that I am lucky enough to be here, I cannot help but tout this little group of islands in the South Pacific as divinely beautiful in every sense. The kind of beauty that can be felt in your skin, bones and teeth and the kind of paradise that penetrates your core and replenishes your soul for the next three hundred and some days, give or take, before your hopeful return. That’s why we are here. That’s why the desk fellow said what he said.
Like most people on vacation, I think many of us can attest to at least some of the euphoric feelings that one gets, as they try to absorb every minute of their much anticipated time off, regardless of the destination if any, but my husband and I have both noted something of interest when talking to others before/after our time away. The question that we notably get asked in either instance is, “So what do you plan to do or what did you all do?” My husband’s typical response to that question of “Nothing”, always seems to elicit the same perplexed look of ‘ What? Why?’, which also might be interpreted as, ‘Well, that’s lame…why would you spend money to go all of that way and do nothing.” Interesting, isn’t it? I mean, we are on vacation, aren’t we? So what if we paid a lot of good money to do nothing? I guess it depends on what your definition of vacation is. To me, it implies time away from our ridiculous schedules and to-do lists ‘to do’ exactly as we please, nothing included. However, I’m beginning to think that to others, a vacation means something completely different. If I’m being honest without trying to offend anyone, what if my interpretation of others’ interpretation (how’s that for psycho lingo?) of holidays is ‘Gee, how much touristy stuff can we fit in to our each and every day, and how many selfies/pictures can we capture to prove that we were there doing this or that.’ Not really a fair statement, is it? I mean, who am I to judge how others choose to use their saved up time and money, yet should we then be subject to the same judgement in return? The answer is ‘no’ to both. Your experience is your experience and our experience is ours. That being said, when I’m asked the same question of, “What did we do?” from my family/friends, I always seem to feel the need to justify our ‘Nothing’ with a list of canned answers (i.e. napping, shopping, writing, relaxing, sight-seeing); unfortunately, that’s my womanly need-to-please syndrome rearing its ugly head despite my many years of efforts in trying to quell that ridiculous societal norm.
Just for kicks, however, I will willingly share with you just what exactly it is that we do with our vacation time, not because I feel compelled to explain, rather because you might like to try it sometime, or maybe you already have? Or maybe you really don’t care, which is great too. As for my list of what we enjoy doing while doing ‘nothing’, here it is:
We visit with the locals, we indulge in eating out and supporting local food/businesses, rather than the big-box names, and we make note of/partake in the culture as much as possible. We wake up when we want, we nap when we want, we go to bed when we want…all on a non-schedule. We watch, we listen, we observe, we breathe, we let ourselves be in the moment; now, if you’ve done yoga at all, you know that the latter idea mentioned is the most difficult to achieve, i.e. the corpse pose of simply lying still of body and mind which is ironically the one that requires the most practice. Food for thought. We talk, we contemplate, we question, we giggle and we appreciate each other and the environment (land, water, animals, people) around us. We go on walks, we ‘tootle around’ in the car, we snack mindlessly on yummy things, we internet, we leisurely read & obviously, I also write since I actually have the gift of time to be able to do so. And yes, we, too, admittedly have been known to take a few selfies, along with pictures of various sights and memories that we wish to capture. We also do the odd ‘touristy’ thing when we feel like it;-). Perhaps, my personal favourites while doing all of the above is that I don’t really care about the state of my hair-do (privy to some funky looks courtesy of my effervescent cow-licks), I live in comfortable clothing (sometimes sporting the same shirt/shorts/pants even a second or third day in a row–shhh!), my make-up routine is non-existent, and ladies, you will appreciate this one–I’ve even been known to go sans my constricting…um, shall I say, upper undergarment:-). Now, that’s freedom!!!
So, to go back to the question of ‘What is that we do while on vacation?’… we simply try to be present in every possible moment in every possible way on every possible day.
“(When) you are in Hawaii, you don’t need much.”