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How it all Started Part 3

balanced explorations history culture hawaii waikiki Feb 08, 2023

For my birthday in 2017, I visited Oahu for a week.  Keep in mind that there is a significant time change when traveling from the East Coast to Hawaii.  The only thing I recall was the lengthy flight from New York City.  When I arrived at Honolulu Airport, it was around 3 p.m.  Since it was my birthday, I had decided to book a dinner reservation for myself, but the earliest dinner reservation I was able to get was for 8 p.m. which was the middle of the night Eastern Daylight Time. 


An hour or two before my birthday dinner, I started to make my way towards the beach.  I browsed in a few stores and picked up some souvenirs before being drawn to a crowd of people and some Hawaiian music coming from a courtyard near one of the major hotels.  The strains of ukulele and voices singing in Hawaiian entranced me.  A man in the audience and several others started dancing hula.  It was obvious to me that the dancer and the singers knew each other and were able to move in tandem with the sheer joy of moving to their native sounds.  My heart took flight.  I stayed in the crowd until the music ended.  


Then, I walked over to the little table they had set up and bought a CD that had my favorite song on it.  I told them it was my birthday, and they signed it for me.  When I returned home, I immediately started making playlists of their other albums for when I feel the urge to be in Hawaii.   


I was staying a couple of blocks from Waikiki Beach in a studio apartment on the 22nd floor with two lanai and views of both the Pacific Ocean and Diamond Head. Because there was no air conditioning, I kept both glass doors open at night to maximize the Tradewinds.. Prior to my arrival, I booked a couple of VIP experiences because I wanted to create memories that would last a lifetime and not leave it to chance.


The second day I was there, I scheduled an appointment with a private hula dancing and lei-making instructor who came directly to my accommodations with all the necessary supplies. She brought a lei to wear around the neck with her but helped me create the haku lei worn like a crown on the head.  When I finished that project, she taught me a simple hula dance.  I asked her to record my performance.You can watch it here on my You Tube Channel. (I must have known even then that someday I could use it for marketing purposes. LOL.) I kept those leis in the refrigerator and wore them for several days as I wandered around Waikiki.  I received so many compliments and smiles from random people on the street. 


The next morning, a van picked me up outside the hotel across the street from my building and dropped me off at a museum specializing in Hawaiian history and culture.  This was my “VIP day.”  I was so excited.  It included lunch and an acacia wood bowl that I still have.  The most exciting part of the day was when I was granted access to their private collections.  Seeing artifacts right in front of me and not separated by glass made this a truly one-of-a-kind experience. 


I stood over an exquisite feather cape worn at one point by Hawaiian royalty.  The cape was in pristine condition.  The feathers were a bright yellow.  I stared in awe.  This was a unique piece of history that could never be duplicated due to those particular birds being extinct. 


What was really meaningful for me, though, was the large collection of model boats.  There were sailing vessels and canoes, rows of shelves filled with them.  Some appeared to be hundreds of years old.  What made them significant for me is that I studied naval engineering in undergrad and had always admired the model hulls that rested on shelves against the walls of the long room that housed the towing tank.  Right after I graduated, I went to Maine and purchased my own small model hull of a sailing vessel that currently hangs on a wall in my living room.  


The things we do and the places we visit remind us of where we have been and who we are, but at the same time, they open our eyes to what lies beyond our current reality.  Travel opens our eyes to the way other people live.  It allows us to see and experience more than we would if we never left our houses and the towns or cities where we grew up.  There is so much more out there to be, know, and do, and it all starts with traveling the world.  That is one of the main reasons I am so fascinated by travel and desire to share the experience with others.  And making the experience luxury elevates it further.  (To be continued. . . )

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