Going to my happy place.


No prizes for guessing where this is. It is, of course, beautiful Hawaii. This is my happy place.

I first visited Hawaii in 2004 and fell in love with its people, scenery and mood immediately. It is a ten hour flight from Brisbane, usually overnight, but the cramped economy class conditions and lack of sleep are quickly forgotten when you step out of the airport.

On my first visit, I travelled with three teenage girls – my daughter and her friends on their end of school trip – and spent the vacation exploring Oahu on my own as they were busy doing teenage things. I discovered the trolleys that will take you just about everywhere. I particularly enjoyed the history tour. It brought James Mitchener’s ‘Hawaii’ to mind. I re-read the book when I came home.

The second visit to Hawaii in 2011 was only for three days with the new man in my life…to celebrate my birthday and to join the cruise ship that would take us back to Australia. On my birthday, in the gorgeous restaurant of the Halekulani hotel, with hula dancers swaying and singing in the courtyard below, he proposed. (Gasp – totally unexpected.) Hawaii will always represent romance for me.

Last year my husband and I returned to celebrate the anniversary of our engagement. We stayed for two weeks this time and had the chance to explore Oahu together. We drove around the island stopping often to admire the views and to talk with the people. We ate shrimp at the shrimp farm and pineapple at he pineapple plantation. We tried the coffee and macadamia nuts and walked along Sunset Beach – sadly no big waves that day. We wandered along the beach where Elvis filmed “Blue Hawaii” and saw the famous inlet where Deborah Kerr and Burt Lancaster made the famous kiss in the surf scene in “From Here to Eternity”. We visited the gorgeous Buddhist temple, rang the giant bell and admired the koi.
The windows in our hotel actually opened so we were able to have the breeze from the ocean drifting through the room and hear the hula music at night. We ate delicious food on a sunset cruise, drank Mai Tai’s in the beach bars and visited Pearl Harbor. It was an amazing vacation.

Next year we will return to Hawaii, this time to Maui as well as Honolulu. My husband wants to play golf on one of the famous courses there and I am looking forward to seeing all that the island has to offer. As usual I will be travelling with an almost empty suitcase because the shopping outlets in Hawaii have great clothes at prices so much cheaper than here at home.

Hawaii is my happy place. When I sit down to plan a vacation, it is the first place that comes to mind. I even try to make it a stopover on trips to other places. The travel websites have me on their lists for notification of deals on vacation packages there. I wonder if I could get a job as an advertising agent for the place? Now, there’s an idea……!


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