Oh Hawaii, i love you.
All the places that I go, I typically imagine myself living there... and say to myself, "I could totally live here." But this time, I actually looked at some real estate. I grew up going on several family vacations to the different islands of Hawaii, but going there as an adult by myself this time, was a little different. I felt like I belonged ;)
It started with Steph asking if I wanted to go to Hawaii to help film her best friend's proposal. Dangerous question... if it's between October and April, and you ask me to go somewhere, I'm going. So of course we made a little vacay out of it and stayed in a Waikiki airbnb for 5 days. We met some fun locals on a catamaran that ended up taking us all around the island the next day. This, was actually one of my favorite days. Our new friend, Ikaika, drove us up and down the east side of the island, tailgating at his favorite beach spots, jumping off rocks, and ending the day with a treacherous, muddy hike up to the pillboxes, then jumping into the crystal clear, blue ocean at Lanikai beach afterwards. I floated on my back for a good 20 minutes in the warm ocean, with a little bit of rain falling, and I was in complete heaven. THAT was a perfect moment.
It basically only got better from there, as the day Steph and I were supposed to leave, we decided to ditch our flights and stay another day. One thing I'm getting REALLY really good at, is traveling somewhere and staying way past the original itinerary. We moved on to the Marriott Waikiki and soaked up more sun all day and had one more Lava Flow at our favorite barefoot bar, Dukes.
Once again, I couldn't leave. So when Steph left for the airport the next day, I rented a car and booked another 4 days at an airbnb outside of Waikiki, away from the hustle and bustle. First of all, cutest airbnb EVER! It really is the cutest studio cottage in paradise, and I can not rave enough about how perfect it is for a solo getaway. I arrived to a sweet note from Shawna, the owner, telling me she had all sorts of stuff for me to use during my stay (snorkel gear, beach chairs, bikes, etc) and letting me know there was a brand new outdoor shower in the back of the studio just for me, too ;) HEAVEN!
The next day, I actually got to meet Shawna and her sweet kiddos that live on the property as well, and she convinced me even more that I need to live in Hawaii. Such a sweet, awesome, laid-back, hang-loose type little family with cute, tan, barefoot babies. Serious family goals.
I took a day to drive around the island, made some friends up at North Shore, shared some delicious grilled shrimp tacos with them, and watched a perfect sunset at a "secret beach" that they showed me, to end that day.
My friend from home, Kyle, showed up a few days later, since his parents live in Lanikai, and we frolicked around some more, ate at some yummy restaurants, watched more sunsets, and spent way too many hours at Moose McGillycuddy's on a Tuesday night.
The day I actually decided I should probably come home was a sad one. So I made the most out of the minimal hours that I had left, got up at 4:30am for a sunrise hike, took the longest outdoor shower possible, and headed home. During the longest outdoor shower possible, I reflected on how truly blessed I feel. Blessed to have a job that I not only LOVE, but that gives me so much free time to do other things that I love, like travel. And extend my trips. And meet such interesting, awesome people. And spend enough time in Hawaii to know my way around the island without GPS. And float on my back in the ocean for as long as I want without worrying about what's next. And crack a beer at the top of an epic hike because it's a Monday.
And to think, so many times in the last 5 years, my life could have gone a multitude of different directions. I am so happy and thankful to be HERE, in this season of life I'm living right now. Life is so, so good. Thank you outdoor shower for letting me reflect on all of that.
Hawaii, I'll be back for you sooner than you think :)