For the last ten days, I've had the honor to be a guest in the lovely home of @iammeghanmurray and @mbmurray23 . It's been hard for me to list about this trip because it has been just so incredibly special. Also because I've been so busy exploring and enjoying every bit of this vacation, I didn't have a lot of down time for listing.
  1. First off, I'll admit I was a bit worried before I left. Two weeks is a long time to be away from the office, a long time to live in someone else's house, a long time for this single girl to be an addition for a family of five.
    But from the minute I left work, I didn't spend any time thinking about it, and the Murrays are unbelievable hosts. Their daughter gave up her room for two weeks so I could have space of my own. Their kids all called me aunt Jill, though they couldn't really remember me from before they moved to Hawaii. Matt and Meghan fed me, lent me their car daily and provided me essentials like sunscreen, shampoo, and Diet Coke.
  2. I spent the most time with @iammeghanmurray , who is the kind of human we should all aspire to be.
    She is incredibly kind, she's friendly to strangers, she's talkative (which makes it easy for this introvert), she's adventurous, she has definite opinions (which helped tremendously as I decided what to do each day). Basically, she is the opposite of me, and she made my vacation the amazing adventure it was.
  3. But about the trip: I saw the most beautiful sites; I loved the mountains that were the backdrop to everything.
    Let me just state for the record that none of these pictures begin to capture the beauty of Oahu.
  4. The rainbows made me cry out with delight and snap a million photos. My final rainbow count was 10, one of which was a double.
  5. Every time I stopped at a lookout over the sea or hiked to an amazing place I actually said "Holy shit" out loud before and starting to snap pictures.
  6. I spent whole days at the beach, people watching and swimming in the turquoise colored waters.
  7. I saw some crazy wildlife, including peacocks, multiple whales dancing just off shore and two big green sea turtles.
    We're talking once-in-a-lifetime animal sightings.
  8. The flowers looked and smelled amazing.
  9. The trees were unbelievable.
    I may do a whole 'nother list just about the flora.
  10. I drank fresh pineapple (pureed) and fresh coconut and loved both.
  11. I hiked three major mountains/craters and a handful of other smaller hikes.
    Despite not being in the best shape.
  12. I saw at least five major waterfalls.
    And even got to swim in one.
  13. I attended a hula class and learned how to sew my own leis.
  14. I had the local delicacies, including Hawaiian shave ice and Hawaiian sweet rolls.
    Both are nothing like the shave ice and sweet rolls of the mainland.
  15. I visited the only palace that exists in the United States to learn more about Hawaiian history.
  16. And Pearl Harbor, where I learned so much I didn't know about December 7, 1941 and gained a new appreciation for all that happened that morning.
  17. I experienced Waikiki and decided it wasn't for me.
  18. I visited a beautiful and peaceful Buddhist temple.
  19. I took or posed for hundreds of pictures, including a handful of jumping pictures like this one.
  20. Basically, I was completely and utterly happy and content for the duration of my trip. I had zero complaints.
    I've felt in a bit of a rut lately with life. The adventure of a trip like this, undertaken solo for the most part but with a healthy dose of quality time with old friends, made me feel like my old self again. Now to hold onto that feeling.
  21. If you're interested in my two day sojourns to Hollywood and the Big island, check out the lists about those trips here: 36 HOURS ON THE BIG ISLAND and 46 HOURS IN LA