Hymn to Hawaii

“Stuff your eyes with wonder, live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.” – Ray Bradbury

 I’m leaving for a 7-day Hawaii vacation this weekend. Now that’s a sentence I’ve been longing to write for a very long time. I am in love with tropical islands, beautiful sunsets, and nature in full bloom. And Hawaii always seemed to be the ultimate destination for all three.

Originally, my husband and I thought of going there for our honeymoon. But it was so far from New York that we figured we might just as well go to the Greek Islands for the time and money spent. Neither came to pass. We ended up buying our home instead of an extravagant honeymoon, and then hitched a ride on one of my business trips to Vancouver a few months after the wedding to spend a week salmon fishing and hiking in the rain (not exactly the most romantic of getaways, but memorable, nonetheless).

This trip is only possible because our friends own a timeshare in Oahu (I know, these are good friends to have). One day, they surprised us with an invitation to join them for their annual trip.

And when I say us, I include my teenage twin daughters. That was an offer not many would make – and that I clearly could not refuse. Even though, truth be told, we don’t have much extra money lying around to take a vacation.

But if there’s one thing I’m willing to go into debt for, it’s travel. One of the reasons I first fell in love with my husband was his childlike wonder at discovering anything new. New restaurants, a new science fact he picked up from PBS, a street in New York City that he’d never walked down before. Exploring and traveling together has been one of the best parts of our marriage and always ends up bringing us closer (even if setting up a tent together in the pouring rain might temporarily tear us apart).

And now that my daughters are old enough to be true companions, I’m looking forward to seeing a new destination through their eyes, and forging a new family memory.

Usually I plan out exactly where I want to go and what I want to do, but this trip, I’m going to try to let the island wash over me. I’m already packed, the cat and dog are taken care of, the car service is ordered. All that is left to do is a few loads of laundry and some general tidying up.

Part of me is already worried about how quickly the week will pass. But I will be celebrating 29 years clean and sober next week, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned in those 29 years and taken truly to heart, it’s that life can only be lived one day at a time, one moment at a time. And if I can stay in the day, and appreciate what’s in front of me, I’ll have a hell of a trip.