There are very few places that you can visit and return to almost a decade later and find it just as it was on the day you left. Thankfully, Kaua’i just happens to be one of those places.
My previous trips to Hawaii’s fourth largest island, commonly referred to the Garden Island, were a bit of a tease. At most, I found myself staying for two day, after spending a majority of my time on Oahu, and then returning back to the Mainland. With each visit, I felt that I had cheated myself out of connecting with the island and the chance to relax and recoup leading up to having to return back to the grind of everyday life.
Thanks in part to historically low airfares and hotel/rental car/credit card points/miles acquired over the year as the result of non-stop work travel during the first portion of the year, I was able to afford a relatively inexpensive (food and drinks) week long trip to work on rebalancing the scales of life.
To successfully accomplish this, I had two many goals:
- To minimize being connected to news/social media and my phone. The overall goal was to reduce my screen time to less than 40 minutes a day, which is still way to much, however, a more realistic goal than trying to go cold turkey and the stress that can come with that.
- To live in the moment and be present. I wanted to sit back and focus on just being and not be consumed with capturing the moment or trying to schedule out my day and check all of the boxes. I wanted to just wake up and let things unfold as they may.
A majority of my time was spent in Lihue poolside at the Kaua’i Marriott Resort working my way through a stack of books had been accumulating over that past few months just waiting to be read. I also made it a point to leave the hotel once or twice a day to get food and revisit the island.
Gluten free food is relatively easy to find. Throug the use of Yelp, FindMeGlutenFree, and OpenTable, I was able to discover a variety of options across the island. For lunch, I was able to find budget friendly options at Tiki Tacos, Chicken in a Barrel, and the Beach House. For dinner I splurged a little and enjoyed watching the sunset while enjoying meals at Eating House 1849 Koloa, Cafe Portofino, and Duke’s. For an afternoon refresher or dessert, I would venture out for Hawaiian shaved ice at Shave Ice Tege Tege in Kapaa or primarily Skinny Mike’s near Kalapaki Beach.
One thing that I did make arrangements for ahead of time was the Morning Magic Tour of the Na Pali Coast with the Na Pali Experience tour company. As a my belated birthday gift to myself, I was one of six people, the maximum capacity for this tour, that got an early jump on other tours in calmer waters to see the beauty of the island and spinner dolphins up close. Unlike other tours, the boats used are smaller and able to enter the caves along the shoreline. At the time of my visit, September 2018, you were only able to see and get to the this part of the island via boat or helicopter due to the destructive floods and landslides the closed roads past Hanalei.
Just as I started to relax and go with the flow, it was time to once again snap back to reality. With a renewed sense of energy, and forethought, I have already carved out and taken the time to block off time to step back and take a break from work, even the days I plan to stay off of the road and at home. I have decided to return back next September to once again to enjoy the sun and relaxation. Until then, I will count the nights till I am able to be lulled to sleep thanks to the sounds of the crashing waves.