Designpetproject has been on hiatus for a few weeks. There has been a ton of stuff going on. When I started writing this post I was super pumped to share my amazing vacation with everyone. Kauai was amazing and it changed my life. I felt like I was on top of the world. Then tragedy struck. My aunt who had been fighting cancer passed away suddenly. The doctors thought she was going to be fine. 2 days before she passed she was sending us texts. My Aunt Lynn was 69 and that was way too soon for all of us to lose her. I am planning on writing a post dedicated to my Aunt but it’s going to take some time to get it right and I want to allow myself some time to get some perspective.
This terrible loss has made me think a lot about my own mortality and how life can end way sooner than you think. It makes adventures like our Hawaii trip even more special and important. My aunt and I traveled a lot over the years. She was generous with her time and resources to both my brother Adam and myself. She gifted Ben and I our honeymoon to Oahu four years ago. Her generosity allowed Ben and I to fall in love with Hawaii and want to return as soon as we could.
After coming off such a big adventure high and hitting the lowest point in a long time, I feel grateful to have this opportunity to share these words with you.
Go on adventures. Hug your family and friends a lot. Don’t let work, weather, or anything else stressful get in the way of living a life of appreciation. Someday you won’t have the experiences and the people you love in your life. Enjoy them while you can.
I am going to share this vacation post as it was originally written for the most part. The inspiration I had coming back from the trip is now reinforced with the loss of my Aunt Lynn. Her passing solidified my feelings about appreciation and living life. I want everyone to remember the feeling of a great adventure and optimism. This is a dark time for those of us who had the pleasure of knowing Lynn. I hope this post will be a bright spot.
Ben and I totally unplugged from everything and went on a huge adventure to Kauai!!!! We turned off our emails, left work and the cold weather behind!!! We sooo needed this. We were both working too much and getting caught up in the little things that bug us. We needed a break.
This trip was one of those life changing adventures that alters your perspective. We decided to go to Kauai because it seemed like a cool and chill getaway. Ben’s Uncle Mark and Aunt Kim have lived on the island for years and Ben and I were really intrigued by the island so it seemed like a great fit. There are so many mysterious and exotic places…and you don’t need a passport. Bonus!
Ben and I are more active than lay on the beach people so this worked out well. Mark and Kim were the best hosts! Thanks guys! They showed us some beautiful beaches and vistas that only locals know about. We hiked in the rain, got all muddy, and reestablished the feeling that the world is bigger than just us and our issues. We are just a blip in time and our problems are small compared to how amazing this small part of the world is.
Mark and Kim reinvigorated my interest in unique foods too. I tried a star fruit, rambutan, lilikoi, breadfruit, an apple banana, acai, mochi and a bunch of other stuff that I am sure I have forgotten. They made some amazing food for us and I am convinced they should write their own healthy cookbook.
We also gave ourselves the best christmas present. We went on a doors OFF helicopter ride around the island. Door OFF! Nothing between us and beautiful island. It was amazing! There are some places on the island that can only be seen from the air. It’s cool to think that there are places in the world where humans have never walked and have never had the chance to change. We flew over Waimea Canyon which is like the Hawaii Grand Canyon, and the Na Pali coast. Jurassic Park anyone? This is something everyone should do in Kauai. We were both in shock about how much this changed the rest of our trip and our perspectives. Amazing!
Between all of the life changing stuff we also happened to consume a ridiculous amount of shave ice. If you haven’t ever had shave ice, you don’t know what you are missing. It’s better than a snow cone and they made homemade fruit syrups and they top it with condensed milk called a snowcap. Yummmmmm.
I don’t want to ramble on too much about the logistics of the trip so here’s the lowdown on all of the stuff that we did, where we stayed, and places we ate and a ridiculous amount of pictures. It was super hard to narrow them down to just a few so I went for quantity.
Our beautiful hotel!
Waterfall next to Mark & Kim’s house Was Koa Loop Trail
Kealia Beach – Great look out spot for whales
Helicopter Ride! SOOO Crazy!
Everyone should go on a vacation like this. It doesn’t have to be Hawaii or anywhere fancy but get out and see the world. If you can’t see the world get out and explore your town. It gives you some perspective on your place in the world and what is important in life.
Anini Beach- the best swimming beach ever!
Moloa’a Beach- Great private vibe
Kalihiwai Beach – Beautiful crashing waves
Secret Ben Stiller Beach (Ben stiller lives next door) – a local Hawaiian sacred place
Hanalei Bay – Great walk and beautiful scenery
Ke’e Beach – Furthest you can drive on the north side of the island, we saw
Kealia Beach – Great lookout, end of my run. At the lookout we saw humpback whale slapping their tales in the water
Kapa’a Beach Park, great sidewalk, boardwalk feel
Po’ipu Beach – Nice gentle swimming beach, we saw seals and a turtle on the beach
Shipwreck Beach – high waves, supposedly there is a shipwreck off the coast
Mauna Loa Helicopters: Doors Off! Private!
Kuilau Ridge Trail Head
Waimea Canyon – The Kauai Grand Canyon
Na Pali Coast
Kauai Coffee Plantation
Kauai Fresh Farms and Wai Koa Loop Run
Tiki Tacos – Organic, local, huge tacos
Scorpacciata Food Truck – Neopolitan style pizza
Cafe Tumeric Food Truck – great Indian
Nom Kauai Food Truck – good chicken sandwich, great burger
Al Pastor Tacos Food Truck – local fresh fish tacos
Java Kai – amazing breakfast and coffee
Verde – Amazing Mexican
Ono Ono shave ice – Good and sugary
Hee Fat General Store Shave Ice – homemade real fruit juice syrup
Kalalea Juice Hale Acai Bowls – like healthy ice cream
Bubbas Burgers – best greasy burgers and local Kauai beef
Farmers market: Kilauea Town- We tried a bunch of different unique fruits
Thanks for reading everyone. I hope this inspired your to plan your next adventure and give the important people in your life a hug and tell them how much you appreciate them.