We are two weeks into our trip and our time on Kauai. We are figuring out how to relax and embrace our lack of jobs and utter freedom to do what we please with each day, subject to the whims of a certain 2-year-old who is accompanying us on our journey.
[Side note: We had a surprising number of people ask if we were bringing Blythe when we told them we were traveling for a year. Does this strike anyone else as odd?]
Thus far, our days have been filled with beach exploration, hiking, reading, trips to the local library and playground, grocery store runs, farmer's markets, and one lazy afternoon of football. We've made a list of all of the activities we want to try and beaches we'd like to visit while we are here and are slowly working our way down it. We bought a surfboard at the Hanalei surfboard swap but it broke a few days later so now we are borrowing one from our (very kind) Airbnb hosts. We spend our beach time building castles and digging holes, jumping waves with Blythe, surfing, boogie boarding, and (Blythe's favorite) eating snacks. She's still frightened of the water when it washes up on the beach, but loves being in the water itself, walking around, and getting splashed by the waves. I'm hoping that by the end of our time here, she'll be willing to fill her bucket by herself rather than sprinting in the other direction whimpering when a wave rolls in.
We have seen a few Hawaiian monk seals (don't worry, it isn't dead, it's just enjoying a leisurely nap in the sun) and one day we saw a ton of turtles at Anini Beach, including this one that swam right up to the shore where we were sitting.
Given that we are still in the United States and staying somewhere with all of the amenities we have at home, life really isn't that different except for the fact that neither of us is working. It is odd to get up each morning and have a leisurely cup of coffee while reading to Blythe. There's no rush to get out the door. We eat breakfast together and plan our day. I've already read six books this month.
A few observations that I'd make about life here so far:
- The farmer's markets (no surprise) the best place to find local produce. The fruit selection always includes several I've never heard of before and there is a large selection of vegetables as well. There aren't nearly as many vendors selling bread, cheese, soap, and other homemade items that are not produce (like I'm used to seeing at the farmer's markets in Denver). There is a market every single day and I plan to check out many of them (we've been to five so far).
- People are incredibly friendly. The locals are nice, the other visitors are nice, and people seem to love children. It's hard to be unhappy when you are on Kauai! Everything is laid-back and casual. I've worn 1/5th of what I brought with me (and I didn't bring much) because I wear a swimsuit and some sort of cover-up every day. I'm going barefoot more often than I have in a long time (and love it).
- I strongly dislike sand. It's great for the beach but it gets on everything and we are extremely neat so we are sweeping sand in our condo quite often (even without wearing shoes inside). I know I need to get over this.
- I'm finding that I miss the city a bit. Denver isn't even that big of a city, but I miss being able to walk to our nearby neighborhood squares. We can walk to the Princeville town center here, which includes some restaurants, a grocery store, the playground, and the library, but it is pretty touristy and lacks charm. I'll get plenty of city time in our next stops so this isn't a big deal.
- We are trying to potty train Blythe. I'm taking applications for people to come here and do this for me.
- People travel here from all over the world, including some from very far away. We mostly meet people at the playground, and so far we've met families from Australia, Bulgaria, Armenia, and Russia. The flight from Denver is looking pretty good right now...
- Mercifully, Blythe adapted very quickly to the time change and a new life wherein she spends her days with Mom and Dad and at the beach. We are sensitive to ensuring she gets a chance to play with other kids as often as possible (story hour, playground, beach) and this is something we are thinking about for all of our travel destinations. As long as she has a few constants in her life (Dad, Mom, BunnyBunnyBuns, books, milk before nap and bed, cheese), she is pretty content.
- Blythe loves the food here (as do we). Poke galore, Açaí bowls, pineapple, avocado, rambutans, coconut, sushi, plate lunch, shave ice, etc. Yum.
At the end of our trip, I'm going to write a detailed "Kauai Guide," so I won't go into details about what we've been up to here. Suffice it to say, the beaches are incredible, the water is warm, the hiking is scenic, and we love it here. It's an adjustment (and a good one) for us to slow down for a bit and operate on island time.