This year was special. Not only were Sean and I celebrating birthdays and our 25th wedding anniversary, but all three kids graduated from important levels in their schooling journeys. Niall graduated from San Diego State University, Siobhan from high school and headed off to University of Montana, and even my youngest had a graduation of sorts after two years in kindergarten (Transitional Kindergarten and Kindergarten). We had been promising for years to take the kids to Hawaii and this was the year we finally followed through on that promise.
Now I needed a restful vacation, but even on vacation I am happier if I am in a location where I can get outside and play. As we inquired about which islands to visit, it became clear to me that Kauai would be the best island for me to get out and hike, run, snorkel, and swim. We did spend three days in Oahu to do the touristy things like a luau, Pearl Harbor, and staying at a luxurious hotel with all the amenities like play pools, lagoon for swimming and paddle boarding, and outdoor movies on the lawn. And while I did get up early each day in Oahu to run, swim, or both, after those three days I was done with the pampering and ready to start my "real" vacation. I was ready for my kind of vacation.
In Kauai we did stay in a condo with a nice pool, but most of our time was spent enjoying all the outdoor activities Kauai had to offer. We snorkeled every day, we went tubing through sugar cane irrigation tunnels, and I also could not resist several days of running along the beaches. In addition, we did a ton of hiking. Our favorite was our trek along the Napali Coast. This was no easy hike. Not only were there sheer drops off the edge, but because of consistent rain the path itself was extremely muddy, wet, and slippery. After about a mile Niall and Sean headed back with Eoin because it was really not safe for a six year-old. Siobhan and I decided to do the two-mile trail to the beach and back, but this was honestly one of the most difficult four miles I have ever hiked. I cannot tell you how many times Siobhan and I slipped, and Siobhan and I each ended up flat on our backs once during the hike. Once we got to the beach at the halfway point, it was completely worth all the hard work to get there. However, because it took us so long to get to that beach and we also had zero cell reception, we hurried back because we were afraid the boys might be worried about us.
Once back at the bottom of the trail, we looked like drowned rats because the rain never stopped falling on us for the entire hike. Luckily the boys had secured a spot for us on the adjacent beach, and we were able to spend the rest of the afternoon snorkeling and sun bathing--just the way I like it.
I think that the theme of my kind of vacationing is balance. I made sure not to deprive myself of any of the amazing Hawaiian cuisine, but I balanced that with a daily dose of some kind of exercising. I also balanced more decadent food choices with the fresh fruit and vegetables that we purchased from the farmer's markets that were available on a daily basis in Kauai. And while I did make sure to move my body for at least an hour each day, I balanced that with tons of relaxing, site seeing, and spending quality time with my husband and three children. I think that vacation and periods of rest are essential when you work and play as hard as Sean and I do every day. I love that even while on vacation I am able to find that balance that continues to move me forward on the road to maintaining the more flabulous version of me that I can be.