|Waves break at Ko Olina O'ahu|
The rhythm of the winter sea is familiar to us because for more than a decade of our lives we have lived in Hawaii this time of year.
We are among the 'same time next year' interval ownership residents at KoOlina, the planned unit development on the west coast of the island of O'ahu.
|Lagoon path to Four Seasons and Aulani, a Disney resort|
KoOlina, Hawaiian for 'place of joy', encompasses an 18-hole golf course, marina, Four Seasons Hotel, Aulani, a Disney Hotel and Marriott's Vacation Beach Club - not to mention several hundred single family residences (many of which are vacation rentals).
For us, the purchase of a Marriott timeshare week -- followed by the purchases of two additional weeks a few years later -- has made this tropical spot our 'third place' -- the place we live in between Greece and Washington State. Our time here equals that spent in Washington.
Same Time Next Year Lifestyle
Not too many weeks ago, back in Greece, friends were discussing all the places they'd like to see in the world. They scoffed at those people who return to the same place year after year. 'With so much world to see, why would anyone want to do that?' they asked.
'Don't condemn it until you've tried it!' I cautioned, while admitting there had been a time I shuddered at the thought of repeatedly returning to the same destination, but that was also back when I was declaring myself, 'not a timeshare person!'
|Palm trees at sunset - Ko Olina|
|A change from our Greek home|
Our laid-back retired life here is one in which there is laundry and dishes to wash, dinner to make, shopping and errands to run. Yet with restaurants, bars and resort swimming pools only footsteps away, it is a change from living on our hillside above a Greek village. Here we live in a high-rise condominium (washers, dryers, televisions and dish washers!) on a tropical island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
We entered this world long before becoming expats in Greece. At the time we thought we were preparing for 'old age' travels -- a safe, secure and relatively close getaway only a six hour flight from Seattle. Our travel time has increased to some 20+hours from Greece but still we return each year because it is such an interesting and different way of living.
|Our high-rise condo is on the 15th floor this year|
Our purchases were made back when you literally bought 1/52 ownership each year of real property. Nowadays the Marriott timeshare program has gone to a purchase of points to be used at any number of properties around the world. We find the ownership of points to be somewhat nebulous. Had that been the only option 'back when', we likely wouldn't have made the leap.
|KoOlina, Hawaiian for 'place of joy'|
Even though we prefer to spend most of our interval time in Hawaii, we have the flexibility to trade into other properties. This spring we will spend a week outside Paris, thanks to that trade option.
In researching this article I found some interesting statistics showing just how popular this interval lifestyle is: we are among 20 million households in the world that own at least one timeshare, according to the Timeshare Consumer Guide. The guide also reports there are more than 7,400 timeshare resorts in 180 countries. On average each year the world-wide total sales volume exceeds 14 billion $US.
Same Time Next Year Friendships
|Same time next year friends watch sunset at home|
What we hadn't imagined back at the time of that initial purchase was the new world of friendships that would open to us. We literally have 'same time next year' friends who return in January/February from far distant points in the world. Some are new friends who we've met at KoOlina and others are friends with decades of history together. While in the beginning our times together were happenstance, these days -- thanks to social media -- we stay in touch throughout the year and try to start our residencies at roughly the 'same time next year'.
|Same time, next year lifestyle|
It won't be long before we are calling out to friends here, 'Same time, next year!'
We thank you for the time you've spent with us today and hope your travels are as filled with good times and good friends as is our tropical getaway. Thanks to all who've let me know you are again receiving these in your inbox. Fingers crossed that the distribution continues working!
Linking this week with:
Through My Lens
Our World Tuesday