Well…okay. It wasn’t really solitude on an island. But I was on an island! That part is true! 🙂 I’m flying home today after spending four weeks in Kona, Hawaii. And it was wonderful. For a few months I had been feeling the need to get away for a bit – go somewhere by myself and just refresh my spirit, refocus my mind, and relax. Just be.
I decided to go to Kona, which I hadn’t visited since 2009. I was originally going to be staying here by myself at my aunt and uncle’s home, as they have been staying on the mainland. But they ended up selling their home right before I came, so my uncle came back to start working on fixing things up and packing their stuff.
But it worked out well! I enjoyed my time with him and was able to help him with some stuff while I was here. And I still had plenty of time to myself to reflect and relax.
So, I know I’ve already done numerous posts on Hawaii and I don’t want to rehash the same things I’ve already talked about, so these are just some highlights from this visit (in no particular order 🙂 ). Some silly, some not, all of them things that made my visit special. Enjoy!
Hangin’ out with this guy:
I’ve never had the opportunity to spend this much time with my uncle and certainly not one-on-one. I really enjoyed my time with him: our morning walks, lunch and dinner dates, visits to the farmers markets and festivals, hiking to a deserted beach, and our many conversations.
I tried to help him out by keeping him well fed. Although I’m not sure if he would agree and I have a feeling he’s really looking forward to being back with my aunt and her wonderful home cooking. (After serving him a large salad with nearly every meal for two and a half weeks, I finally asked him if he even liked salads and he confessed that he wasn’t much of a salad eater. Such a good sport though finishing off every salad I made! And did I stop making them after his revelation? Of course not – I just made his smaller. 🙂 )
So thank you, Uncle Ed, for letting me invade your home, experiment on you with new recipes, and steal your only mode of transportation on a daily basis! 🙂
Waking up with the birds
I’ve never considered myself a morning person but Hawaii changed that! I love mornings here and I actually would wake up naturally each morning before 6:00. Sometimes as early as 5:00! Now, I didn’t always get out of bed that early, and there were quite a few mornings when I actually fell back to sleep. But I never slept past 7:00 and I really enjoyed waking up naturally and not to an alarm. I also rarely stayed up past 10:00 at night which was cool because Hawaii is best enjoyed during the day anyway! 🙂
Showering in the sunlight
Yes, I took showers outside. And it was great! If I ever own my own home, it will have an outdoor shower. Okay, if I ever own my own home in Hawaii it will have an outdoor shower. 🙂 It feels so “natural” to be outside, under the sun, feeling the breeze, while getting clean. And I think I’ll just leave it at that. 😉 Try it. You’ll love it.
My first SUP experience
The only activity I went into this trip desiring to do was stand up paddleboarding. I’ve wanted to do this for so long and I figured Hawaii has to be one of the best places to give it a whirl! Of course I waited until the day before my flight home to actually try it but it was worth it!! So much fun! But not as easy as it looks!
I took a lesson from Ian with HYPR Nalu Hawaii and I seriously could not have picked a better outfitter!! Ian is a professional who is passionate about his sport and sharing that passion with others. He gave me a private lesson and we started on land learning the basics then went into the water. He pushed me and challenged me more than I had expected but I’m so glad he did! I feel like I came away from my lesson knowing way more than the basics. In fact, he’s instructed me to go back to Florida and teach everyone the “correct” way to paddleboard. 🙂
Standing on top of the ocean, gliding across the water by myself was one of the neatest experiences. I can’t wait to try this again (preferably in Hawaii 😉 )!
Living Stones Church
A definite highlight of my time here was attending Living Stones Church each Sunday, and a Night of Worship one Wednesday. Wow. If I am ever lucky enough to call Kona home, this will be the church I will also call home. First of all, outdoor seating.
Need I go on? 🙂 Seriously though, the worship was great and the teaching was solid. I was so blessed by my time there.
Before arriving here I was a bit worried that I wouldn’t be able to find some of my basic, “everyday” health foods. Then I was introduced to Island Naturals and all of my worries disappeared. This is Hawaii’s version of a Whole Foods type store and I loved it! I even ate lunch there a few times. And now I can officially move to Kona.
Continuing with my love of food, the next highlight is Basik Acai Café. Oh my gosh. Can I just say obsessed? Obsessed!! This is a little café on Ali’i Drive that makes fresh acai bowls and smoothies. And the acai bowls are soooo good!!! They have seven different bowls and I tried every single one of them!!! They are so fresh tasting and so healthy! Yum! Yum, yum yum!!!
Working out in the great outdoors
One of the things I love about Hawaii is the weather. It’s pleasant year-round and never really gets too hot (and definitely doesn’t get too cold!). Taking advantage of that, I did my morning workouts on the lanai with a view of the ocean. So lovely! I must say though, it’s going to be tough going back to dragging my yoga mat and weights out to the living room at home – not much of a view or breeze there. 😉
Evening sky art (aka sunsets)
My Uncle and I would eat dinner out on the lanai each evening and watch the sunset. And each sunset was a unique and beautiful experience. Seeing the sun sink below the horizon is so breathtaking. And I even saw the “green flash” a couple of times!
I mentioned in a previous Hawaii post that I find the green geckos here to be so cute! So it’s only natural that one of the highlights of this visit would involve a gecko. A baby gecko! Double the cuteness!!
My uncle and I were having lunch at the Coffee Shack in Kealakekua. We ate outside on the patio that was surrounded by tall, beautiful trees with a view of Kealakekua Bay. My seat backed up to a railing and at one point I turned around to look at the view and what did I see instead? A gecko sitting on the railing, calmly eating honey from a small container. I nearly died. I made such a to-do about the cuteness of this sight that other people started turning around to look.
Throughout our meal, different geckos would come up to the container of honey and lick the sticky sweetness. I thought it was the cutest thing I had ever seen – until a baby gecko starting tentatively crawling along the railing toward the honey. And I got video of it. You’re welcome.
Drinking from a coconut
I’ve tried bottled coconut water before and wasn’t very impressed. I’ll put it in my green smoothies, but I’m not a fan of drinking it straight. Well, now I know that’s because I’m a coconut snob and must have my coconut water straight from the source! I attended the 5th Annual Mango Festival at the Sheraton Kona Resort and one of the vendors was selling coconuts that he would whack open with a machete and stick a straw in for people to enjoy.
I just had to try one. And it was delicious!!! So much better than the bottled stuff!! That coconut was heavy though and I carried it around for almost two hours! Whew!! New way to get an arm workout in! 😉
Making my own lei
One Sunday my uncle and I attended the 31st Annual Kona Daifukuji Orchid Show at the Daifukuji Soto Temple. I was expecting to see some amazing orchids and hear the Daifukuji Taiko drummers showcase their talent. And I did both! There were so many beautiful and unique orchids on display, and the drummers ended up being incredibly talented youth who wowed us with their skill.
But what I didn’t expect was the opportunity to make my own orchid lei! The sweetest ladies ever invited me to join them in their lei making and I gladly did. I spent about 45 minutes with a 10-inch needle, string, a table-full of orchids, and wonderful conversation. I wanted to take all three of these ladies home with me! I proudly wore my lei the rest of the day and then it promptly died the next morning. Oh well.
“Who are those lovely ladies” you ask? That is myself and my best friend Teresa, 50 years from now (maybe 60), still single, living in Hawaii, with our crazy old lady hair and sensible shoes, enjoying life to the fullest. Yep! Can’t wait! 😀
I feel in some ways like these past four weeks have flown by, but I also feel ready to be home. Ready to resume my life – hopefully more focused, less stressed, with my heart more alive than ever! My time in Hawaii has come to an end…for now. 🙂