Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Same Time Next Year Travel

The waves crash against the shore this week signaling a storm at sea somewhere out in the vast Pacific Ocean. This is the season of big waves in Hawaii - it was the same last year and the years before. It will likely be the same this time next year.

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

KoOlina views

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

I remind myself often while watching waves and swaying palms, to 'never say never' when it comes to travel options I haven't yet tried. Had we not tried this part-time tropical life we'd have never known the joys of transplanting ourselves each year to a place that is somewhat familiar, yet vastly different, from the lives we lead both in Greece and on the mainland U.S.

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
Because of our interval ownership, we live in an ocean-front condo, steps from the sea. Similar full-ownership condos next door sell for millions of dollars.  And had we not purchased a place here our four-week stay - renting from Marriott -- would have cost  $17,440 US dollars plus taxes. (I can assure you our annual maintenance fees are a far cry less than that!)

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

Even with the slow-paced lifestyle, our days seem to go quickly. We are half way through our time in the tropics. In two weeks time we will be back in the wintery Pacific Northwest for a few days as we make our way back to Greece.

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
Wordless Wednesday


  1. I think this is great idea. I have friends who do something similar, and to Hawaii each year, but they only stay a week and vary their lodgings. In the same vein, I just find returning to some of my favorite spots yet again is quite comforting, and an aspect of travel that I enjoy as much as exploring a brand new place.

    1. We also find that as much as we like new discoveries when we travel, that we also enjoy returning to favorite places. It does seem a shame, once you've found a wonderful place to never return. Thanks for stopping by Carole.

  2. Caan't say it is my thing, had enough traveling when I was at work

    1. Well, hopefully you are now an armchair traveler resting up from all your work travel! Enjoy -

  3. There's a 'certain person' who has been going to the same Cretan village for twenty-eight years. And since I married him this will be my seventeenth! From the initial two week holiday we have managed to stretch the duration slightly every time we go. This year we will be over a month on the island. If you like the place, love the people, then why should you go anywhere else? Just as you do.

    1. Well, having been to that village I can understand the magnetic draw it has on you both. Once you've been there it sticks with you and does make you want to go back. . .maybe this year will be the year for us!

  4. Beautiful! I'd love to be there!
    Thanks for sharing at https://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2020/01/saints-among-us.html

  5. Absolutely nothing wrong with visiting the same place over and over. Spain is that for us. Everyone should have one familiar place to just to and chill. Especially when that place is Oahu.

    1. Spain is a special place. . .we often say we need to get back there! Thanks for stopping by!

  6. How lovely! I can see how the same time next year life in Hawaii appeals to you. It's sometimes nice to know exactly what to expect and surely Hawaii is certainly not all that bad. I have fond memories of two trips there several years ago. There's a lot to be said for friendships made too. Like you say, it's a bit different from life in Greece. Enjoy your time :-).

    1. Well, the nice thing about Hawaii is that it still has an exotic, foreign flavor to it - we still can eat foods that are different, see sights and behaviors that are more tropical island than one might expect. That could be what pulls us back as much as the timeshare ownership.

  7. That sounds SO wonderful. I love the idea of seeing the same people each year. I struggle to balance the part of me that wants to see so many different places and the part that would love to keep returning to the same places.


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