The Kauai Island Adventure
You know those moments when you're insanely blessed by people, when they offer kindness and love and things you don't deserve just because they're amazing? That's what this trip was for me.
Michelle and I have been friends for almost a decade; writing was one of the first things we bonded over. Last year we even decided to start the tradition of an annual NaNoWriMo getaway. (PSA: National Novel Writing Month in November is a challenge to write 50,000 words in 30 days and it's awesome, whether you finish the word count or not. One of my favorite things to do every year.)
At the end of September, she texted me with an INSANE vacay proposition, and it came on the heels of my family having to put down our sweet 12-year-old golden Jack. Talk about an emotional rollercoaster! She decided she needed a trip to the beach, and Kauai sounded like just the place.
And she asked me to go with her. (Much internal screaming.)
She'd been saving up for a while--but I hadn't. Obviously, I wasn't planning on something like this, and I had no idea how I'd be able to afford it. Then blessings started rolling in. Her parents gifted us the lodgings for the week. They were amazingly generous and such a big part of this trip happening.
Michelle asked how much I could logically afford for a trip. I told her the number, but I knew it was really low and I was prepared for her to pick someone else...and she booked our plane tickets. (Like, WHAT. BLESSINGS ON BLESSINGS.)
We had 52 days to prepare and get excited.
We mapped out everything and created an awesome Google Doc complete with pictures and gifs. Then after Thanksgiving, flew to Lihue. Thus began our Kauai Island Adventure.
Strap yourselves in for a long post and lots of photos...
Michelle and I arrived at 4:30pm and my hair could immediately feel that humidity! We picked up the rental car, made it to the condo, then went grocery shopping for the week. After dinner we turned on King Kong--the 2005 version, which was partly filmed on the island. I think I fell asleep a few minutes in. #crazynight
We wanted to wake up for the sunrise...but we didn't. We woke up over an HOUR before! When the sun did rise, we grabbed some lawn chairs and watched it come up over the water. (Oh, did I mention our condo backed up to the ocean? It was a'ight.) God does such beautiful things, and sunrises are never disappointments.
Once the sun was up and we'd gotten a few words in for NaNoWriMo, we went to Lava Lava Beach Club for breakfast and ate on the sand. I think the waitress was weirded out by the amount of salt I added to EVERYTHING on my plate, but #Dysautonomiaproblems and salt is life. Michelle and I spent the rest of the day at the condo, writin' up a storm. We tried to finish King Kong that night, but I think I fell asleep again. Lol.
On Tuesday, the adventure got bigger! We saw a waterfall, went to the botanical gardens (unbeknownst to us at the time, she got 9 mosquito bites and I got 16), and ended up at Poipu beach on the south end of the island. It's been rated the #1 beach in the US or the world or something...but, I mean, it wasn't THE best ever. (You'll see. Keep going.)
We did, however, get to lay in the sun and I listened to the Lilo & Stitch soundtrack, cause duh. Then we walked along the sand and came across two napping friends. That was worth it! After Poipu, we got shaved ice and headed back to the condo. Burgers for dinner--mine was a gyro burger and it was AH-MAZING--then we started our second movie. Pride & Prejudice. Best movie ever. I also fell asleep halfway through!
I mean, at least I was getting lots of sleep this trip, amirite?
Wednesday was North Shore day, and we were SO excited. We started with a trip to a lighthouse, which boasted some stunning views. Then it was off to Anini Beach, one of the "secret beaches" we'd found online. It was highly rated and supposedly very calm.
THEY WERE RIGHT. It was so tranquil! We found a great spot and just sat by the ocean for hours. Shaved ice happened again on the way back--I mean, how could it not? And it was even better than the first round. We had dinner and finished P&P, then turned on Pirates of the Caribbean 4, which was also partially filmed on Kauai. Did I make it through the entire movie? Honestly...barely!
Thursday we headed back to our beach, and it was still as magical as ever. Beautiful weather, we got to sit in the ocean, and even started wading in...until we saw something pop its head above the water and freaked out. Then we rushed back to the shore. (Lol, spoiler alert: it was a turtle. We ran away from a turtle.)
And as always, we found time in the day to get those words in for NaNoWriMo. Or sometimes, we just got distracted by Netflix and managed to get 300 words out. But, y'know, progress. After dinner, we watched Jurassic Park 3 because--you guessed it--that movie was filmed on the island! I think I managed to stay awake until the end, which happened around 9:30pm. I'm telling y'all, I'm a party animal.
We were STOKED for Friday. We'd decided to go paddle boarding on our beach so we strapped the 11' boards to the top of our car and drove up north. We were on the water for about 3 hours, and it was one of my favorite things from the trip. Honestly, at the beginning I was only slightly terrified. I was worried about the possibility of passing out in the water, and let's be honest. The JAWS theme song played in my head a few times.
But instead of a Great White, we saw a sea turtle! He swam right by us so we followed him for a few minutes, watching him come up for air and glide through the water faster than we anticipated. I'd put a waterproof case on my phone and dunked it into the water a few times, praying it would work and I'd get one photo to turn out well. I actually got a good couple! Woohoo!
After paddle boarding awesomeness, we went back to the condo and got cleaned up just in time for a luau. So. Much. Food. It was all good, but I had the best rice pudding of my life and could've just parked it there for a few more days. It was great. We watched some dancing and went back to the condo, tired but happy.
The movie that night was How To Train Your Dragon, which we watched while packing (so sad). And guess what: I stayed awake through the WHOLE THING! Mostly because I had to. Haha.
Even though we had to leave on Saturday, the flight wasn't until 9pm. So we went to our beach one last time and watched the waves say farewell. We perused shops in downtown Kapa'a, got shaved ice again (and it was GREAT), and ate some lunch. Still had a bunch of time on our hands! So we cleaned the car, drove down south, and walked around some shops there too.
We got to the airport around 6pm. Hung out, watched an insanely cheesy Netflix Christmas movie, then boarded the plane. I think I slept for a grand total of 40 minutes. We got back to the mainland around 6am on Sunday morning, e x h a u s t e d. But happy, and a few shades tanner.
FOUR HOURS. Let that sink in. Four hour layover at Denver International Airport, flying to Colorado Springs. We laughed when it got delayed because we could've made it home by then, but we'd paid the $20 for the short flight and it was worth it driving-wise.
We got to the Springs, and our adventure had officially come to a close. And then I went home and slept for 12 hours! The end. ;)
But seriously. What a great week to relax and explore. God is good, and I loved getting to spend extra time with Him while on the island. No work, no school, no other commitments. I'm so thankful for safe travels, fun adventures, and all the memories!
I'd love to hear your island stories! If you've been to cool, far away places, let me know where I need to make it to next. One day. In the distant future. When I've saved up. :)