Monday, February 20, 2012

Hawaii: "So what do you do there?"

hawaii 2010 024 Our island days moved as gently as tropical breezes. They also moved far too quickly.

Maybe that was why we extended our stay for just a few extra days (despite the airline change fees) . . .just to squeeze in a bit more time in our Pacific Paradise.

Several friends have asked, in somewhat incredulous tones, about our near month-long stay, "But what do you do there when you stay that long?"  .

I was reminded of yet another passage -- words to ponder -- written by my 'beach book buddy' Frances Mayes, in her book, "Every day in Tuscany":

"I'll never be over the nagging sense: I should be doing something. My friends in Cortona (Italy) don't have that particular demon. They are doing what they need to be doing by being."

Much like those Tuscans, we didn't go to Hawaii with the idea of doing we went there to experience being.  Some days we were entertained for hours watching a pattern of sunlight sprinkle its diamonds across the sea. Sometimes we'd go grocery shopping. Other days we watched stormy waves crash against the shore. Sometimes we took out the garbage. Other times the whales entertained us as they made their way past. Sometimes we did laundry. Other times we read books and napped.  A few times we'd go explore another part of the island. . . but we weren't often moved to do so.  

We spent the majority of our time on O'ahu at  Ko Olina , a development of single-family residences, an 18-hole golf course, marina, hotels, timeshares and privately owned condos on O'ahu's western Wai’anae Coast. It's a laid-back place far different from Waikiki but close enough that we could easily drive there in a half hour.

When we took the timeshare plunge five years ago by purchasing a week in Hawaii, we were not only giving ourselves a vacation destination, but we were also giving ourselves permission to 'be doing by being'.

So, Marriott's Ko Olina Beach Club (top photo) has become that vacation beach home we once dreamed of -- without the cost or headaches that accompany long-distance vacation home ownership. 

It really does feel like going home now. We have staff members who remember us from our previous  stays. We have met other owners over the years and have become friends. We are lucky when our visits overlap as we have time to catch up on news over home-cooked meals.
hawaii 2010 051
 We are so taken with Ko Olina that we've returned each winter, and will likely continue doing so for many years to come. Although one of the positives for us in this timeshare world is that we can trade our place, or a portion of it, for nearly anywhere else in the world we might want to go. We did that last fall when we stayed at the Marriott Vacation Club on Spain's Costa del Sol.

hawaii 2010 050 We purchased the type of two bedroom unit called a lock-off which means that we stay two weeks a year in our ocean front home: one week in the lock-off, a small efficiency sized place 360-sq. ft. (32 sq. meter)  unit with an18-sq. ft (2 sq. m) balcony.  The second week is in  the much larger sized unit (pictures in this post). It is the smaller unit we trade for accommodations in other destinations. Since our initial purchase, we've added time at Ko Olina, which lets us stay longer and trade more

 So this is our getaway and what we do there.  How about you? Where do you go when you 'do what you need to be doing by being'?


  1. This arrived in email; it was so good I had to share it:

    "Loved this article. It reminded me of our first trip to Paris. We were conversing with someone who owned a small apartment there. I was excitedly asking him what "sights" were nearby because I just HAD TO see everythng I'd ever read about. He said, "No, no, no you've got it all wrong. When you're in Paris it is enough to just EXIST. Sit at a sidewalk cafe and just exist!"

  2. My place to 'just exist' is a cabin in the mountains by a small stream. I have long wished for just such a place to call my own. At this moment in my life, the sewing room will have to suffice. :o)

    1. Have you thought of decorating the sewing room to make it feel like a cabin? I do that with plants and scents to pretend I am in some tropical place -- and not watching Pacific Northwest storms pass overhead.

  3. I would join either one of you in either location. :-)


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