It’s hard to believe that I am typing the words you see on your screen on my 37th full day in Hawaii. I flew out of Grand Rapids, MI on September 16 and arrived at the Honolulu airport that same night.
I only have 3 days left. I’m relaxing as much as I possibly can in order to stall the time. I don’t want it to zip past me like it already has. I want these last 3 days to last for the rest of my life.
Beyond food and sleep, I’ve spent very little money. I haven’t even rented a boogie board for $3 per hour let alone a stand up paddle board for about $15 per hour. I easily could have but I am incredibly happy doing exactly what I am doing right now – writing while looking out at the Pacific Ocean, enjoying a gentle, cool breeze at my face.
It is the simple and free pleasures that have made my first trip to Hawaii extremely special. I don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on entertainment. All of the entertainment that has kept me smiling everyday throughout this adventure is free.
What are these simple pleasures?
1) Walking along Waikiki Beach. Feeling the sand in between my toes followed by the ocean blue-green water crashing into my legs is a meditative experience. I could do this all day long but choose not to because there is so much else to do in Waikiki alone.
2) Watching crabs feed off of rocks while out on the small pier. I’ve snapped almost 200 photos of these little black crabs. They are quite the site and one hell of a riot. It’s hard to get close because when they see you they quickly crawl away. They are super fast and smart.
3) Climbing Koko Head for the second time. I call Koko Head a “beautiful bitch.” It’s a bitch to climb as it’s literally walking straight up a hill for about 30 to 40 minutes if you are in shape. But it’s a grand time and is free! It was worth it because I enjoyed a beautiful sunset, had the most ridiculous view of Oahu that you could ever possibly imagine and, well, I felt quite proud! I even saw 2 other Hawaiian islands out to the southeast. It was unreal.
4) Meeting and climbing Diamond Head with my new primal buddy from Japan, Jarrett. He is originally from Nebraska but has been living in Tokyo for 5 years. We talked non stop on our way up and down Diamond Head and had a blast. This was an easy hike but the view was, again, unreal.
5) Looking up at the sky only to notice a double rainbow. These pop up rather frequently here in Hawaii. I have seen about half a dozen along with dozens more of single rainbows. Showers can be super light or super heavy. Every time they last about one to five minutes! With the sun constantly shining you get to experience pure beauty in the sky.
6) Listening to the insane downpour at night while sleeping. The showers on Oahu can be light or pretty freaking heavy. I’ve never heard a louder downpour in my life. Seriously. It’s cool because it lasts just a few minutes. Then it happens again a few minutes later!
7) Watching a decent size beautiful white bird land within one foot of my computer. This literally just happened. And, well, another bird just zipped by my ear coming within about 2 feet of stealing it. And another just flew directly over my head coming within what seemed like a foot of touching my rather short hair. And now about ten minutes later it’s happened again… Nothing beats the free pleasures of life my friends! At least this is what I have learned during my life in Hawaii.
8.) Watching beautiful sunsets. I was not able to do this as often as I would have liked but I am certainly not complaining! I stayed in Hawaii Kai for 24 nights where I could not watch the sunset once. I could see the beginning of it but not the end. However, the sunsets I have seen have been spectacular. I mean, I am looking out at the blue-green ocean as I type this… does it get any better?
9) Hearing my Hawaii Kai host laugh everyday I saw her. Everyone’s laugh is unique (my mother’s is the best!) but when you hear people laughing, you know that are enjoying that specific moment. Is it possible to be angry and laugh at the exact same moment? When you are laughing you are in pure joy. It’s why its said to be the worlds greatest medicine.
10) Watching a shooting star. I have not seen many shooting stars during my lifetime. I’d be shocked if the number is more than two dozen. I have probably spent less than one minute looking up at the stars while here in Hawaii. Guess what? I saw a shooting star while taking a second to look up one night. It was pure beauty.
11) Completing bodyweight exercises at random times, in random places including playgrounds. There are playgrounds here and there and even a random set of monkey bars about one minute from where I am as I type this. I love bodyweight exercises because I can do them anywhere, anytime. I don’t really “workout” anymore. I play. I love to randomly sprint and I love to do random push-ups, pull-ups, squats, lunges, planks, ab vacuums and more. I workout when I want to. It’s my only rule!
12) Sprinting on the sandbar in Hawaii Kai. Have you ever sprinted on a sand bar? It’s a blast. A sand bar is a small strip of sand in a body of water. I walked out about 50 yards with the water level just below my knees prior to stepping on a small strip of sand that was above the water. I could walk about a half a mile before the water would reach my knees! I never did this but when I go back I will! For about 8 out of 10 days I engaged in sprint intervals on this lovely sand bar. I also engaged in bodyweight exercises as described above. It was the world’s greatest “gym” I have ever been in…
13) Watching surfers, stand up paddle boarders, swimmers, boaters and more soak up the sun for essential Vitamin D while playing and relaxing. I think there may be more primal folks here in Hawaii than in any other state in the U.S.. Everyone is always having so much fun. They are so relaxed and doing what they want to do. I’ll put myself into this group. I’ve never seen more happy people in my life. It’s one of the main reasons why I don’t wish to leave. However, I truly do not mind going back to the cold to spend time with my family during the holidays and at my sisters wedding!!
14) Watching a young child chase after and attempt to karate kick a white bird. This just happened and was such a pleasure to watch. He just finished bear crawling in the sand and is now swimming in the blue-green ocean water. It’s amazing the things that make you smile that don’t cost you a dime.
15) Discovering restaurants that serve 100% grass-fed beef from cows that are raised in Hawaii. Enjoying the burger has been more pleasurable but I’ll remember the discovery of Honolulu Burger Co. and Malaloha more easily.
16) Finding a Toad and watching a cat chase after it very briefly. Do I need to say more?
17) Getting lost in the jungle during a hike. When my host came home the next day I told her I tried the hike she suggested. I was following the pink ribbons on trees and she told me that I was more than likely following the “hunting trail.” Apparently I was headed in the direction of wild boars!
That is a lot of memorable experiences. The common theme is that they are simple. They cost me nothing. They make me smile and allow me to be in a pure state of joy. Isn’t this what we all want? Maybe you should take a trip to Hawaii. You probably think it’s expensive but I am here to tell you it’s not by a long shot. Outside of a flight, you can easily have the time of your life in paradise for a full month for less than $500. Most of you in the U.S. can find a flight for $600 or less. This means it’s truly possible to vacation in paradise for 30 days for less than $1000.
How? Cook your own food and only eat out a few times, enjoy the simple pleasures and couch surf. What’s stopping you?
Have you ever been to Hawaii? What islands did you go to? What did you do? Do you want to go back? If you have never been, are you ready?