hawaii | december 2016

This past December I had the lovely opportunity to travel to Hawaii for work (and obviously tacked on a little bit of fun for New Years).  Despite the ridiculously long flight, getting out of the cold and into the sun for a few days always does the mind well.  

Beyond getting in a little bit of sunshine, this trip helped me to do a little bit of soul searching.  For one, I was reminded just how lucky I am to have a job that sends me around the world and to such beautiful locales.  I was reminded how lucky I am to be healthy and young and able to travel.  I was reminded how lucky I am to live in a world that contains such beauty. And I was reminded how lucky I am to have friends and family scattered all over to spend some time with in these beautiful places. While in both Oahu and Maui I had the chance to reconnect with old friends, both of whom I haven't seen in countless years, and I was reminded what a joy it is to revisit and rekindle friendships (not to mention how proud I always am to see my friends doing what they love with those they love, seriously nothing better). I also had the chance (read: was forced) to conquer a huge fear - flying.  Although I clearly spend a lot of time on airplanes, it's one of my all time most hated activities.  Not only did I have to spend 10 hours on a flight back to NYC, in between islands I had the lovely experience of flying on a 10-person puddle jumper.  Despite the necessity of Xanax and deep breathing techniques, from up in the air I got to see so much of Hawaii that I never would otherwise.  Flying over the islands was beyond breathtaking, and almost, ALMOST, made the feeling of impending death worth it. 

Standing on a beach watching the sunrise on New Years Day with my sister might have been the best way I could have asked to start the year. The promise of newness is provided with every sunrise - fitting especially on the first day of the year - and something I need to consistently remind myself of, every single day. Taking in such beauty with a person you love is an incredible blessing, and I'm so glad to have had such an experience. 

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Now that I've rambled on, let me pass along to you my top 5 favorite things from the trip. Go do them.

1. Mama's Fish House | Paia, Maui, HI

Mama's was by far the best meal I had on the entire trip.  Food is one of my favorite things ever, especially while traveling, and I hate to say it, but overall the food on this trip was slightly disappointing - except Mama's. Get the mahi mahi, and definitely end with the banana macadamia nut crisp - as I told the table next to us, it might be the best thing I've ever eaten.

2. Zach Howard Surf School | Maui, HI

Surfing was the number one thing I wanted to do while in Hawaii, but the number of lessons and surf schools is overwhelming.  I was super lucky to find Zach Howard.  Not only was he a super awesome dude, but he was extremely supportive as my sister and I tried, and failed, to get up on the board.  He also gave us tips for going out on our own the next day, even offering to bring us extra boards.  If you're ever in Maui and want to surf, give him a call.

3. The coconut mojitos at Duke's | Waikiki, HI

Although overall I wasn't impressed with Waikiki (too crowded, too touristy, I'm all about the less traveled path), the coconut mojitos were bomb, and I would like to end every day with one.  Thanks to my friend Sara for introducing me, I couldn't get enough while there.  The food is nothing to write home about, but go enjoy the chill vibe, watch the waves, and enjoy.

4. Paia Bay Coffee | Paia, HI

Paia is a super small surf town on the coast in Maui, and when I say super small I mean it.  The whole town is maybe three blocks long and super sleepy - not too much going on, hardly anywhere to eat, definitely nowhere to shop but little tourist traps, but contains a plethora of yoga studios, apparently has some pretty killer surf, and is also home to Paia Coffee House - a super cute, super friendly little spot next to the beach. Go grab a coffee and an acai bowl here and head to the beach to watch the surfers.

5. Mokulele Airlines

Adding this to my top five might come as a surprise, given my fear of flying, however, as not everyone shares such a fear I figured I'd add it in for those folk.  The views were incredible, the pilots great, and overall, it was the best way to travel island to island.  And even better? As it's just a little puddle jumper flying in and out of the regional airports you can go surfing in the morning and still make your noon flight with time to spare.

xx