We only have one full day left on Oahu before we pack our bags and get on a plane for Kyushu, Japan. This week has been effortless. I tried searching for the stress that was digging into the back of my neck last week -- all the weight of packing and moving and leaving -- it seems to have eased its grip. We spend our days lazily, but not without intent. The agenda is more simple, the time frame is eased, and we still have a sense of importance around absorbing as many of the sights as we possibly can.
I wake up at 6 am when I hear the symphony of birds come to life outside. I wish it were poetic, but it's a messy cacophony of cajoling, one that I cannot sleep through. I use the time to research our next steps, edit photos, and reach out to my friends in California who are already at work (be that it's 9 am). Tyler appreciates the extra time left to sleep, especially without a restless wife tossing and turning next to him.
We've been traversing the island every day. I think we've driven around Oahu twice completely. We have stopped using Google Maps -- and that's saying a lot for Tyler.
We visted Lanikai beach yesterday, one of my favorite beaches on Oahu. It's white sand is like confectioner's sugar. It attaches to your skin like a velvety film. The water is the crispest cerulean blue, the kind your mind thinks of when you imagine 'perfect island get-away'. (Strangely, we took no photos. We must have been too busy enjoying ourselves.) The short and narrow beach is full of people and beached catamarans; it's lined with perfectly designed houses pulled right out of Architectural Digest. We looked up a few of them and suspected a hefty price tag of 3.5 million dollars but were flabbergasted to find that even our skewed San Franciscan view of the world was aiming too low. Many of the houses were over 10 million dollars. Can you imagine?!
Tyler is racing to get through his book, HYperion, but I'm embracing something out of the ordinary for me: rest. I have actually napped! Nearly every day, on the beach, I've napped! I'm so unaccustomed to taking breaks. Typically resting only happens when I start to get sick and my body forces me to stop. That being said, I am still fighting congestion and a cough. Both of those must irritate Tyler, but he still gives me sympathy and care every time I clear my throat and cough for 30 minutes on end. I may also be allergic to something here. Some days I feel better, others I feel a bit worse. Soon we'll be in Japan and I'll either get over it or I'll be affected by something different. I'm not too concerned. This is the nature of things, you have to keep going to get through it.
Thank goodness for Jules, and to Jon for connecting us to Jules. We're trying to stick to a pretty tight budget and Hawaii is crazy expensive for a pair of travelers. Jules has been kind enough to let us stay at her place for free, which has drastically reduced our overall budget for this week. We're still slightly over (our budget was $600 for the week, including the $210 for the rental car), but I'm happy with the outcome. Whatever we overspend here we can make up for in Thailand or Vietnam.
We make breakfast, lunch, and dinner together every day. We question the price of something and if there's a better, equally as delicious, more economic substitute. We save receipts and discuss our spending every night. I recognize that this is something most everyone does every day with their partner and family. It's something I grew up with, and it's something I had to think about every second from college into working. Getting buffet-style free food for every meal, every day for 6.5 years really fucks with your ability to understand how to budget feeding yourself. (This isn't a complaint. It's just an observation.) I like this week because it's felt realistic to me. Even though this trip is so completely unreal, we've stripped away all the things that we're used to relying on and we're figuring ourselves out again. I like that.
Hawaii, while complete paradise and unlike anything anyone (other than Hawaiians) ever experience on a day-to-day basis, still feels so American to me. There's no difficulty trying to navigate or communicate. It is truly the easiest life. And I'm grateful for the week, that we were able to decompress and not have to think about translations, or money conversions, or how to get wifi. It's been a perfect week to transition us from the working world to the constant traveler. I feel full and restored. I'm ready to embark on the real journey. I'm ready to be uncomfortable and confused and lost. I'm ready to experience things outside my own realm, to learn about other cultures and customs, to see new terrains and hear new languages. I want all the things I've never known. Monday we head to Japan. We're going to explore Kyushu, a Southern island of Japan we haven't seen before. I can't wait. We're going to Kagoshima, Kumamoto, Mt. Aso, maybe even Oita and Beppu before going to Tokyo to intercept one of Tyler's best friends, Colin.
The adventure begins.