Last weekend, on the spur of the moment, I drove to the Oregon Coast. It’s just under an hour and half drive from home. I booked a hotel with an oceanfront view, which is the best way to go because you can spend half the time in your hotel room and still feel that the trip was well worth it.
I sat on the beach, eating clam chowder and a shrimp sandwich; later, relaxing in my room and listening to the sound of the ocean, I watched the waves. In the morning, as I walked on the beach, a flock of sandpipers busily dodged the surf. These creatures, with their spindly little legs, are very cool to watch, and they definitely work as a team!
On the beach in the morning, wearing my hoodie…looking and feeling like a monk.
An awesome flock of sandpipers!
Enjoying the waves from my hotel room window.
Having traveled extensively and lived, studied, and done research abroad, I know how central the concept of “coming home” is to that experience. Of course, when you return to “life as usual,” you bring new memories, perhaps new distant friends, and hopefully personal growth. You might have reverse culture shock or see your native land in a slightly different light; you might even have a great shift in perception. T.S. Elliot famously wrote, “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time,” and Lin Yutang wrote, “No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.” After spending weeks in places where I didn’t know anyone, I have appreciated just going to my local supermarkets and cafes, being greeted by familiar faces.
In mid-September, I took my parents on a Hawaiian vacation. Last December, we went to Oahu and stayed a block from Waikiki, so we decided on a less touristic Hawaiian experience and chose Kauai, the Garden Isle. We booked a resort condo on the Royal Coconut Coast for eight days; however, due to Tropical Storm Olivia heading directly for Maui at the very hour we were set to land and connect to Kauai, we postponed our flight for two days until the storm had passed. It was a wise decision. Hawaiian Airlines was very helpful and accommodating in changing our flights.
We were greeted at the airport with a Lei placed around our necks and kisses on our cheeks (although I paid for that, it’s a lei greeting service), and thus started the beginning of a week of relaxation and enjoyment in paradise.
We stayed at the Waipouli Resort, booked through Kauai Calls, where we had an ocean front, two bedroom condo. The unit had a gorgeous, large kitchen; three bathrooms, two showers, and a very large jacuzzi bathtub and another regular size one as well. Waipouli is just next to the interesting, old town of Kapaa.
The resort has its own beach with a resident endangered Hawaiian monk seal. It also has an elaborate, winding, river-like, swimming pool with water-slides, grotto, and three sand-bottomed hot tubs. Next to the pool area is a good restaurant and bar called the Oasis on the Beach. The weather was always around 85 degrees during the day and just under 80 at night. I loved sleeping with my lanai window open and listening to the soothing sound of the waves.
Below are photos from beautiful Kauai, “the Garden Isle.” I also have a lot of video footage of this trip that I might post later. We visited Hanalei Bay in the North and Poipu Beach in the South, which I will cover in my next post. After my Hawaii posts, I will begin telling you about my 5 week European adventure. Kauai was definitely the most relaxing part of my six week travel. Yes, the island chain is the 50th U.S. state, but it has its own unique culture and way of life and that special Aloha spirit. I would like to return. Mahalo to all the nice and welcoming people that we met!