Not a Friday at Kilauea Point goes by that I don’t meet two or more women traveling together on vacation. Mother and daughter. Sisters. Best friends. I meet all combinations of women. I call this type of travel, “girlfriend getaways.” Further, the groups of women traveling together span all ages—college-aged, thirty-something, mid-life and the golden years. When I ask if there’s a reason they’re traveling together, I often hear responses like, “My husband doesn’t like to travel,” “We needed to get away from our families,” and “We wanted one last trip together before [blank].” Sometimes the blank is “I got married,” “She moved away,” or “She birthed her baby.”
My friend Julie is visiting from Kansas City. Her reason for catching a flight out of LAX last Friday is simple. After traveling half-way across the country to enroll her youngest child in her freshman year at the University of Southern California, Julie figured a visit to her good friend Kim in Hawai’i would be the perfect way to mark a new stage in life—life as the mother of adult children. More specifically, adult children who do not live at home. Get it? Now, Julie can travel without worrying about what her daughter will eat for dinner, if her daughter made it to her horseback riding lesson and what time she got home.
This isn’t Julie’s first visit to Kaua’i. But it is her first sans children. So, what do we do? She’s toured the island by helicopter, snorkeled Ni’ihau and tried surfing. She’s laid on the beach in Hanalei, watched humpback whales frolic and albatrosses fly at Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge. It’s time to layer new Hawai’i experiences.
Yet we have one dilemma. I have to work. You see, just because I live in Hawai’i, that doesn’t mean I am on perpetual vacation—like many visitors think. (It’s true; I’ve been asked some version of this question--you mean you live in Hawai'i and you have to work?--more than once.) That means I don’t have all day to play tour guide for our friends and family, as much as I’d like to. I have other responsibilities, too, like mowing the lawn, washing clothes and grocery shopping.
So, for Julie’s first day of her vacation and her first day as a mother without children living at home, I decided to take her to Hanalei Farmers’ Market (Saturdays 8 to Noon behind the Hanalei Community Center). It’s a great, local experience. And it’s my favorite farmers’ market on the island—because it has locally-made, QUALITY arts and crafts, fruits, vegetables, tropical flowers AND some prepared food. (So, you can nosh your way through the market. You cannot do this at all the farmers’ markets on Kaua’i, by the way.) For me, the biggest reason going to the Hanalei Farmers’ Market appealed to me was that the refrigerator and cupboards were bare. I needed to shop.
It turned out to be the perfect choice. Julie sampled my friend Sal’s salsa. She met my friend Monica, the quilt maker. She bought an appliqué pillowcase for her college daughter’s dorm room. I bought papaya, mango, banana, goat cheese, salsa, bean sprouts and basil. We shared an acai sorbet topped with local granola and banana slices. And we met new friends, like a four-legged one, which I tried to sneak home in my market basket.