Staying home on vacation turns out well


POSTED: Sunday, November 23, 2008

The most recent trendy buzzword - “;stay-cation”; - at first held little charm for me as I am a travel junky and could hardly imagine staying home for a vacation. That's not to say millions of great things can't take place on Oahu; it's just that there is so much more everywhere else!

As luck would have it, my high school friend Laura, who lives in Arkansas, was planning to visit me. We had traveled to Europe together, and this year she wanted to come West to visit me. That meant I was staying home. I cringed as I cleaned my house for a guest and at the same time felt a tingle of excitement in knowing that I was going to share my home and island of 25 years with a dear friend and her children.

When Laura, Karly and Jacob arrived, I met them at the airport with three flower leis from Gladys' Lei Stand at the airport. My “;stay-cation”; began, with the scent of plumeria and tuberose filling my car and my friends filling the trunk with luggage. I had taken two weeks off from a book project to have a vacation at home.

If you have not snorkeled on the North Shore during summer and seen a humuhumunukunukuapuaa up close, or swum with the huge sea turtles on the West side, it's a must. I would also highly recommend a long walk through Hoomaluhia Botanical Gardens in Kaneohe. Did you know the grounds support all kinds of greenery from around the world? And the view of the lake, aka reservoir, is breathtakingly beautiful!

At the Manoa Valley Falls, the rain forest was lush and tropical with baby bamboo shoots and fresh tiny new ferns reaching toward the blue sky above. A trickling stream managed to find its way along the path, and there were places where the ground was muddy from rainwater dripping down the trail walls.

The moisture in the air was thick, unlike the dryness of the Diamond Head trail that I was accustomed to hiking several times a week with friends for exercise.

We even ate at new or different restaurants and drove on alternative roads.

I stopped to chat with people almost everywhere I went. All of a sudden, I began to appreciate my shrinking world. These new, yet old, sites were places on Oahu that I had not been to in years or had never visited. I hadn't even thought about the fact I might save money.

What I did experience was quality time with friends, as well as quiet time for me. I understood the excitement a tourist must feel upon visiting Oahu. My stay-cation was quite worthwhile. I hope you will find a rewarding vacation at home, too.