Picture this: A dog sitting patiently on a white, sandy beach, eyes focused on his owner commanding a kite and sailing across the calm surface of an ocean lagoon. A honeymoon couple sitting in beach chairs, their faces tilted toward the sun, the ocean lapping at their ankles. In the distance, a stream empties into the sea and a line of palm trees throws the sanctuary of shade, where several people, bent, sift through sand in search of shells. Children masked with snorkel gear giggle and squeal their delight in spotting, perhaps for their first time ever, up-close-and-personal, a sea turtle or, maybe, Hawaii’s state fish, the humuhumunukunukuapuaa
Living in Hawaii, it’s a sight I see regularly. So, why did it strike me differently this day?
Did I identify with the couple from the years I was their age and visiting Hawaii? Did something in their innocent faces, young love and the potentiality of life speak to me? (If so, I’m getting old.) Did the shell-seekers’ agenda that included nothing more important than sifting through sand for tiny kahelelani shells, famed for their use in making Niihau shell jewelry, spark something in me? Maybe it was the eagerness to learn something new about a foreign place, in this case the endangered Hawaiian monk seal for which I was walking the beach to find. Or, simply, the miles and miles of endless ocean vista.
Whatever it was, as I drove away, a feeling overwhelmed me. It’s one I haven’t felt in a long, long time, a dozen years to be exact.
That feeling was: A desire for a vacation!
Yeah, yeah, I can hear your groans already. You live in Hawaii? Isn’t life one big vacation?
It’s true. I do island-hop for a living. I travel to Hawaii (Big) Island and hike through Volcanoes National Park. I watch the sunset from atop Mauna Kea. I board boats to go whale watching in Maui’s famed “whale soup.” I drive the Road to Hana. I paddle Napali Coast on Kauai and scuba dive off Niihau. And I love it. Now, you’re really groaning, right? Waaaa, Kim
, you are whining on my behalf, right?
But let me be more specific about the sudden vacation desire that overcame me: I suddenly yearned to visit a place I’d never been before. I desired to wear a mantle of newness and explore a place for the first time. I wanted to sit on a beach with a book and a smile and not feel the pressure to rush home to write a blog post, to upload images to Facebook, to take notes—physical and mental—about what I was seeing, feeling, thinking. And I wanted to experience that all with my husband the way we used to experience Hawaii—as innocently and naively as our first visit, our honeymoon.
But where? There are plenty of places in the world we haven’t visited. Dozens. Hundreds. Just choosing one could paralyze me into making no decision, at all.
But here’s where working for an hotelier comes in handy. Outrigger manages hotels and resorts in Australia, Fiji, Thailand, and Bali. Why not start there? But, still, the question remains: Where?
And that’s where you come in. I’d love your input: What country and why? (The why part is really important, so please include that.)