“For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.”
Robert Louis Stevenson.
Some people travel to find themselves. Some people travel to outrun something or someone.
Others travel to immerse themselves in a new culture; to collect new experiences; to relax, refresh and reinvigorate; to heal; to play; to explore.
Many come to Hawaii to enjoy our many beautiful beaches, to snorkel, to golf, to hike.
My friend Rob "Big Bob" Willson traveled to Hawaii for the outdoor showers.
Showering in the outdoors is standard in Hawaii. Most state and county beach parks provide, at the least, a pipe with some semblance of shower fixture at head level. Others include a concrete pad with three or four showerheads radiating out of the top and the same number of foot showers about 12-inches off the ground.
My husband-the-plumber regularly installs showers on homes around Kauai, from the simple to the elaborate. He’s plumbed basic showers if you just want to rinse the salt off your body after a day of surfing. He’s also plumbed showers that turn the mere act of bathing into a spa experience—showers that include a myriad of body sprays, terraced rock walls, landscaping and patio furniture.
Back in the days when I was paddling outrigger canoes, I rinsed off under a shower at our canoe club after every practice. And even before we moved to Hawaii 10 years ago from the Midwest, I would bust out soap and shampoo for a real cleaning prior to catching a red-eye flight back to the mainland. I’ve been showering outdoors for so long now that I can’t remember my first outdoor shower experience.
But Big Bob Willson can. In fact, I can remember Big Bob’s first outdoor bathing experience. He hails from the Midwest, too, where the closest thing to an outdoor shower might be the group showers inside the building at the city pool. You know--the room you ran through to get to the swimming pool?
I remember preparing a pupu or something in the kitchen when I heard a sound snaking its way inside the house. It was Big Bob. He was humming and singing Israel Kamakawiwoole’s hit song, Somewhere over the Rainbow. Big Bob liked Bruddah Iz—I think because in Iz, Bob met a kindred spirit, a big man.
Big Bob never stopped talking about his shower experience. He returned to our home during his vacation time and time again to shower. He went home and told friends about “his” outdoor shower. He wrote us thanking us for the experience.
Of course, it helped that the house sat on a bluff at sixty feet of elevation overlooked the Pacific Ocean and the shower was situated in complete privacy, even without walls.
When my husband and I built our home on Kauai, the architectural plans included an outdoor shower. Of course. (My plans include the addition of a hot tub, steam hut and cold plunge, but don’t tell my husband. He hasn’t quite put the finishing touches on the house yet.)
While the house was plumbed for an outdoor shower, it was one of the last features to be finished. Projects get done around here based on priority. The kitchen became operational when my parents visited. The front steps went in when we threw a 50th birthday party for a visiting friend. And the outdoor shower was completed when Big Bob announced his last visit. Eric knew Big Bob enjoyed his daily ablutions outdoors so much that Eric dedicated the structure to him for all time. Enjoy your shower, Rob.