Hawaii. So far away!  For some reason, I thought this was a place to go with a lover or a spouse. 38 years into my life, without a lover or a spouse, I finally went. I may have a honeymoon someday, but before any more time passed, I was taking myself on a Jilliemoon.

Whenever someone lives in an amazing place and invites me to visit, I jump at the chance. Traveling is something I work hard to do, over-extending myself at times. Thanks to a friend, airline miles and a shitton of overtime shifts, I had an amazing trip to 3 of the islands.

Thankfully, one of my favorite straight guys moved to Hawaii with his girlfriend last year. I tried not too be to anxious to accept an invite, but was promptly flooding his inbox with flights and dates. Living walking distance from Waikiki beaches will get my butt on a plane pretty quickly. I had been saving my points for years to take an amazing trip, so getting to Honolulu was $11.20. My friends know that aside from amazing food and trips, a great deal is equally satisfying to me.

One thing I was immediately struck by-and continued to be throughout the trip-was how kind and patient people were. Granted, I live in NYC, but even still. In a crowded restaurant full of drunk post-brunchers, the wait staff were still smiling and didn’t seem to hate their jobs! It was astounding. And, of course, the natural beauty. My first rainbow and sunset happened within hours of landing, promptly followed by poke and mai tais. My hosts were amazing.

My time on Oahu included a few jogs along the beach, a hike up Diamond Head, an attempt at SUP where I saw my first sea turtle, a drive around the island in a Wrangler (with camoflauge window buttons), fireworks from a catamaran and lots of food and drink. Poke, sushi, acai bowl, a million spam musubi breakfasts, Dole whip, shave ice….I was in heaven. Hawaii foodie heaven.

I had a day trip to The Big Island for a tour of volcanoes. It was my first full day and it made sense to get up at 3AM since I would still be on East Coast time (and am a morning person anyway.) It was a smooth trip and an interesting day, but it was soggy and overcast throughout. I got to walk through a lava tube, see a sea arch and more rainbows, and caught some glimpses of lava flowing through the clouds and raindrops.

Maui was going to be my relaxing “me time” part of the trip ,my last few days. Unfortunately, the winds caused the beach in front of my hotel to be roped off and the pool chairs practically blowing away. I splurged the extra $3/day for a convertible and spent most of my time away from the resort. I enjoyed the stars on top of Haleakala before watching the sunrise. I ate the best salmon roe of my life at a sushi dinner at Morimoto. I SNUBA’d with sea turtles and saw not only a TON of whales, but a mom and her young calf. Watching that sweet baby try and learn how to breach was so sweet. I’ll never forget that.

When I was laying around a hotel pool after a massage in Waikiki, I was observing all of the couples who were likely on their honeymoons. Honestly, I think I had a better time on the trip I designed than I would have if I came with a lover or a spouse. My time with my friends was fun and flexible. My time on my own was soul-feeding and happy-making. And while I love relaxing on a beach or by a pool (and could have used a few days of it at the end of this trip), my loosely packed itinerary gave me the best trip to Hawaii….I’m so thankful.

My belly and soul and spirit are always filled by trips I take. I’m a lucky girl. #jilliemoon






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