Julie-Me-Wakiki Last week, I cashed in a whole bunch of credit card miles and flew a long, long way to see one of my best friends, Julie, one of my Betties, in Hawaii. This is her second time living there as her husband is a Colonel in the Army and they are stationed there for their second stay. I can not deny, I was extremely anxious about going. I was nervous about the looooong flight (11 hours from NY, but at least it was a direct flight) and being away from my family for so long. I left in tears. I was in tears when I got on the plane. About half way through the flight I decided if I was going all this way and leaving my family, I might as well make it the best time possible. And it really was. I am so glad that I went. I am so glad that I did something I was very anxious about doing. I realized what I would have missed. The conversations and time with my friend, the adventures, the beauty all were worth while. It is strange sometimes sharing these type of trips with you all because I don't want to seem like, "ooh, look what I got to do". I never would have gone to Hawaii if my friend didn't live there. I was very luck to use credit card miles for my flights. I do realize that going to Hawaii is a rare privilege that I am so thankful for. I am hoping that in sharing, maybe I can encourage you to go on adventure whether near or far that you have been thinking about. With that in mind, I thought I would share some of what I learned about Hawaii with you today.


It really is that beautiful beach-hawaii I kept asking Julie if she still notices it or if it is just so everyday that she looses sight of it. This area was very "man made" as it was a resort area, but I can guarantee there are no resorts like this one in NY. We had dinner here shortly after I arrived and it was just so peaceful to take it all in.


They really do greet you with leis. Me-Julie-Hawaii Not only are the beautiful but the fragrance is amazing.


Waikiki is really beautiful, but it is really busy and filled with tourists. Wakiki-Beach-Hawaii We were amazed at the number of brides we saw at all times of the day. The hotels are busy, but really fun and a seemingly safe atmosphere. The views were great and if you want to buy anything really expensive, there is plenty of high end shopping available. In the end, Waikiki is where the adventure is and I loved it, but I think I am more of a North Shore girl. Then again, Waikiki has infinity pools overlooking the Pacific ocean.


Infinity pools overlooking the Pacific Ocean are pretty amazing. Me-Infinity-Pool I realize you can't really see me, but this is really about the pool. We stayed in the Sheraton Waikiki where they have two pools, one more family friendly and this one. They had floating bean bag chairs and you could just rest your legs up on the edge and take in the waves crashing just beyond. It was a pretty fun experience.


When in Hawaii, you should probably get a pedicure with fun flowers on them instead of just a regular old pedicure. Especially when this is your view. Infinity-Pool-Hawaii


It is okay to spend a day lounging in the pool. Hawaii-Infinity-Pool When in Hawaii, it is okay to take a day and even have your lunch in the lounge chairs by the pool. Get their early (or reserve a chair) to have the best view.


Hawaii is the place to push yourself out of your comfort zone. Hawaii-Parasailing I would have never done this on my own, but Julie signed us up for parasailing. For a girl who has a whole lot of phobias and anxiety with these types of things, I was surprisingly not nervous. It was glorious up there and not scary. It was actually a little more nerve wracking on the boat then sailing above because the water was a bit rough that day. A little side note, if you ever do this, make sure you slide yourself fully into the harness so you are actually "sitting". I didn't get back far enough and I was in a very awkward position up there. Once you are up there, you can't change your position. Oh, and be ready for them to purposely dip you in the water.


The surfers go really, really far out to surf. Hawaii-Ocean-Waves Do you see those little black dots? Those are surfers! This picture does not do justice to just how far out they were. The waves in Waikiki break really far out from the shore, so that is where the surfers were. Not only were they far out, but there is no beach where they are coming into, just a giant stone wall. No, I do not know where exactly they got in and out of the water but it didn't seem to be phasing them at all.


As much as love a good maple tree, their trees are way cooler than ours.


These were the blooms just in Julie's front yard tree. She also had an avocado tree on the side of her house. As I walked through the neighborhood at one point, the fragrance from something was just amazing. Yup, way cooler trees than ours.


Pineapples do not grow on trees. Pineapple-Fields-Hawaii I am embarrassed to admit, but I always pictured pineapples growing on trees. I found out last time I visited here that they grow in fields. I was still wrong however because I thought they grew underground like carrots with only the green part sticking out. The time I actually saw them in the fields and amongst the reeds, you will find a full pineapple, top and bottom growing. It was pretty cool to see. Turns out pineapples take between 18 to 24 months to grow. Julie has lived five minutes from the Dole Plantation visitors center for a total of seven years. With countless visitors through, she has never stopped. We stopped for pineapple ice cream. Actually, I got it and she just stole a taste. It was worth the stop! Last time I visited, I never had pineapple, which I regretted. I took every chance I could to eat it this time and I have been craving it since I got back.


Snorkel for the first time with someone who has your back. Snorkeling-Hawaii I will probably get in trouble for sharing this picture, but I think it is hilarious. Even more so, this picture captures something very special to me. I have struggled over the years with claustrophobia. On top of it, I am not a great swimmer. We went snorkeling at Sharks Cove which is great place to snorkel, but a bit challenging to get out into the area and get started. We started to go out and I have to admit, I completely panicked and almost turned back. I tried one more time and Julie reached out under the water and took my hand. The entire time we were out there, she held my hand. I am sure it was a lot more difficult for her navigate this way, but she never let go. I was able to do it because I didn't have to worry about my bearings or keeping track of where she was. I knew she knew what she was doing and I was in safe hands. A seemingly simple action made a huge difference. I have loved her for a long time, but that gesture gave her a piece of my heart forever and I am so thankful.


The Pacific ocean is just different. Pacific-Ocean When we were planning my visit, Julie asked if there was anything I wanted to do. One thing was that last time, amazingly, I never swam in the Pacific ocean and I totally regretted it. We spent some time at this beach one afternoon specifically for that purpose. Julie had said when we were snorkeling that there is more salt in the water so that you would just float more. I am not sure exactly what it is, but it is so peaceful and easy out there. Within a short distance of going into the water, it gets very deep and you can not stand, but it is not a lot of work to stay out there. At one point, I just laid back on my back and floated and it was glorious. I am so glad I swam this time.


The sea turtles. Sea-Turtles-Hawaii One morning when we set out on our day, Julie guaranteed me turtles before the day was through. We spent the morning snorkeling, went to lunch, did some shopping and then headed towards the beach. We were driving along, and from the car while driving, Julie saw the turtles in the water. She is kind of amazing like that. We pulled over and went down to the water. There were a lot of people already there but that didn't take away from it at all. In front of us, there were about six just floating about, coming in and out with the tide. In the area to the left of us, there were probably another ten or more. The water was darker there but you just kept seeing their heads pop up. Sea-Turtles-in-Hawaii I stood at the water's edge and they were coming in so close I had to back up so that I didn't touch them. They were so beautiful and it was an almost spiritual experience. It reminded me so much of the time I watched wild horses. Honestly, even with Julie's guarantee I never even imagined such a cool experience. She certainly delivered on her guarantee. I am not sure I can top sea turtles, so I am going to stop there. Thank so much for reading and letting me share my adventures with you. Mahalo! Quickpen-Signature_edited-1
June 10, 2015 — Anil Sharma