Aloha friends! Long time no blog talk. How have you been? Why is it fall already. My body is incredibly confused by the drastic change in temperature and humidity. From palm trees swaying in a warm, Hawaiian ocean breeze to golden aspens fluttering in wafts of crisp pine air: talk about a delicious sensory overload!
Although I’m experiencing the usual post-vacation blues and 525 emails in my work inbox – seriously. No joke. 525. I’m somewhat relieved to be home and transitioning back into my usual mountain routine…. and reuniting with my boyfriend. I missed him so much! We’re going away on a mini-vacay together next week. To Manitoba. HAHAHA. FML. Kidding… kind of. Heh.
I ended up meeting and hanging out with some cool locals and travelers in Oahu. I always connect with the most interesting (and fun!) people along my journey. From midnight soul chats on Waikiki beach with a tour bus driver named William to a night on the town with the cutest couple from the UK (Jade & Kyle!), it was a blasty-blast.
Since I micro-blogged a lot of stuff on Instagram (@livingmintgreen), I won’t recap everything in detail on the blog. Here’s an overview of my favorite highlights of Oahu.
Where I stayed:
Marriott Waikiki Beach Resort & Spa <— amazing location – situated right on Waikiki beach.
Marriott Courtyard on the North Shore <— brand new hotel, good North Shore base camp and essentially just a place to sleep. The hotel is very simple and has everything you need, but it’s not a place to hang out.
Where and what I ate:
Hawaii’s Favorite Kitchens for ah-mazing poke bowls
Morimoto Waikiki – after reading great reviews online, I was expecting a crazy-good sushi/asian fusion experience but it ended up being very ‘meh’. It was like they were trying too hard, if that makes sense? I wouldn’t go out of my way to eat here again. Other than the oyster foie gras, I can’t remember what I ate.
The Shorebird – a local Waikiki favorite. It’s a lively open air beachfront barbecue joint where you grill your own food. One night, our group enjoyed a night on the town and had dinner here. I feasted on mahi mahi, lots of salad, pineapple and about 80 mai-tais. I didn’t make it to bed until after 2am this night. Ha!
Roy’s Waikiki – Guaranteed awesome food. It’s impossible to have a bad meal at Roy’s and if you’re a long time reader of my blog, you know how much I love this restaurant. Additionally, their melting hot chocolate souffle is my favorite dessert EVER. I need my future wedding cake to be topped with one.
Roy’s Beach House at Turtle Bay Resort
Bansai Bowls at Sunset Beach. So much yum. I literally ate three pitaya bowls in less than 24 hours. Order the the V-Land bowl with coconut milk, then add coconut shreds and mango. And maybe some peanut butter if you’re feeling fancy or extra hungry.
Crispy Grindz food truck at Pipeline Beach for acai and of course, pitaya bowls. Mmmm!
Haleiwa Beach House in Haleiwa: seafood and lilikoi cheesecake
Foodland’s deli for poke. Parking lot breakfasts on the hood of the Jeep. Yes.
Dole Plantation for pineapple whip waffle cones. Mmm, lick. It’s like a cross between soft serve ice cream and sorbet. Not too sweet and dairy-free! This was my lunch one day.
My favorite Oahu moments:
-Late night skinny dipping in Waikiki (Hi, Mom!) don’t worry, no one saw me. I took my swim suit off once I was IN the water
-Chatting with William on the beach at 1am. We talked about life and I asked him where he thinks ‘home’ should be. He said, “Home is wherever your heart is. It’s about who you’re with and where you’re most happy” Word. At one point I asked him which North Shore beaches were ‘the best’ and his response was, “The waves there are MESSED UP.” Actually, he used the f word.
Me: “Which hikes are good?”
Him: “Um, black people don’t hike”
Oh did he ever he made me laugh.
-Taking a surf lesson and surprising myself with how well I did! It turns out I have pretty good balance after all. I also acquired the worst sunburn of my life on this day. I missed some sunscreen application spots on my butt cheeks. Let’s just say it still hurts to sit down and I am peeling profusely.
-Snorkeling at Haunauma Bay
-Exploring Waimea Valley and going for a swim in a freshwater waterfall
-Cruising along the east coast with the Jeep’s top down, music blasting and making several stops along the way to take in the scenery of the windward side of Oahu
-The incredible views from the top of Diamond Head crater. Whoa
-Chill, relaxing beach days at Sunset and Pipeline beach on the North Shore. When I’d get hungry, I’d eat a pitaya bowl. When I’d get too hot, I’d take a dip in the cool, refreshing surf. Perfect.
-Hiking through the rainforest and ascending into the clouds while picking fresh guavas along the way
-Walking up and down the streets of Waikiki and stopping for frequent swims. Night time in the city was a lot of fun too!
-Jumping off the rocks at Waimea Bay
-This sacred, energetic hot spot I felt incredibly drawn to. The hair on the back of my neck and arms stood up when I was here. I literally felt my body vibrating!
What I learned:
Oahu isn’t as busy as I anticipated. Perhaps I’m used to the tourist crowds, or maybe I chose a perfect time to visit: immediately after Labor Day when the kids are back to school and tourism is transitioning into a brief shoulder season. I didn’t dislike Waikiki at all! I thought it was a fun, lively and a wonderful mix of beach and city. Totally loved it. I spent a few nights in Waikiki, then headed off to the world famous North Shore for the rest of the trip. It was the perfect blend of energetic liveliness and relaxing solitude. When I wanted to get away from people, I simply walked or drove away from them like I do here in the mountains. What a concept, hey gang!?
No crowds here!
This trip was very much a soul-quest and exploration for me. In the months leading up to my departure, I experienced vivid, recurring dreams of Hawaii. Immediately upon my arrival, precise contents of my dreams came to fruition, occurring in the simplest moments. Driving through a rural neighborhood on the North Shore or carrying a surfboard through Waikiki. It was eerily familiar. My soul leapt with excitement when it recognized my surroundings. “I’ve been here! This was in my dream! I know where to go!” I thought to myself. For whatever reason, and for one that I can’t understand right now, the magnetism of Oahu called me there for a reason. I have a feeling I’m going to live there someday. It’s not so much a matter of “if” but rather “WHEN”…. although I hope it’s sooner rather than later. I just need someone to help a Canadian gal out with a job offer and/or visa sponsorship! 🙂
Another oddity of this trip: I instinctively knew ‘where to go’ no matter where I was. It was like my Google Maps was inside me – haha!
My vacation gave me the chance to step away from my current life back home and re-evaluate my desires. Where I’m heading and where I’d like to go. I didn’t run, work out or focus on eating ‘clean’. I went days without eating a single vegetable and drank several tropical-themed cocktails. I ate dessert every night. I didn’t drink “enough” water. If I wasn’t hungry at breakfast, I didn’t eat. I didn’t brush my hair or wear makeup. When my body craved movement, I went for a walk along the beach or a dip in the ocean. Some days, I just laid in the sand and did… nothing. It was all very intuitive. Oddly enough, my work pants feel looser?!
Life isn’t ‘perfect’ in paradise. Living in the mountains has the same issues as Hawaii. Remote, beautiful locations = a much higher cost of living and economies centered around tourism. Your hard earned dollars don’t go very far. For most of us regular middle-income folks, the trade off to living in paradise comes with not being able to afford your own home with a sprawling yard to house 2.5 kids and a golden retriever. Instead, you rent a small apartment (usually with roommates) and your backyard is the ocean or a national park of mountains. It truly comes down to deciding what’s most important and authentic to you. Over the past year, I’ve been struggling a bit with the idea that I need to “choose” one path: either finding a “sensible” place to call home and seriously consider creating a family OR to continue with my life of adventure and grandest vision: moving around every 3-4 years and trying something new. Preferably with a life partner, but I know those finer details (like relationships and “who” you’re supposed to share the journey with) tend to work themselves out no matter which path you take.
I suppose part of my struggle resided in the stressful thoughts that I needed to choose one. I think you can have it all, but certainly not all at once. For now, I want to continue following my natural curiosity and adventure instincts to see where this wild life ride can take me! 🙂 When I follow my heart, life tends to exceed my expectations. I’m guilty of needlessly winding myself up over ‘making the wrong decision’ and I’ve decided to let myself off the hook, relax and move towards what feels right for me.
Over to you:
Last vacation you went on? Where are you going next?
Have you struggled with choosing ‘a life path’ or determining what’s right for you?