Hawaii: The Big Island – January 2, 2022

If there is a word that could encapsulate the dread that hung in the air for Steve, Joe, and I (Luke isn’t a big beach guy) on this last day, I would use it. But there isn’t one. We had been doing our best to distance ourselves mentally from the notion that we would actually have to say goodbye to the rental home that had begun to feel like our actual home, board a plane for the long trip back to Denver, and say goodbye to Hawaii for who knows how long. The time had come to face reality, though. So we did our best to live in the moment and soak up every last bit of Hawaii peace.

While I sat on the lanai outside the master bedroom working on the blog post about New Year’s Day, Steve and Joe went for one last snorkel at tiny Keiki Beach.

Around 11, we decided to head up to Waikoloa Village for lunch, a last walk on Anaeho’omalu Bay (A-Bay), and some shopping. Steve, the boys, and I had started our trip here on December 23rd, so it seemed fitting that we would finish it here as well. We brought the rest of the family along this time for lunch at the Lava Lava Beach Club. Yes. It’s pricey. You’re paying resort prices in Hawaii, so it’s to be expected. But the view. Damn. How often do you get to sit seaside and watch sea turtles? Plus, the drinks are amazing and the food is quite tasty too. And the atmosphere is fun. So you pay a lot, but you get a lot.

We tried to dawdle at lunch to soak it all in, but the restaurant has a two-hour-per-table limit, and they are quick with the service to ensure that time table is honored. So, we bid farewell to this lovely spot, hit a few stores and a gas station, and headed back to pack. Boo. Once we had done most of the abysmal work of packing up to leave a place we did not want to leave, we headed back to the ocean behind the house to soak in every last second we could before emptying the fridge, doing a final sweep for personal items, and locking up for the last time.

With our final sunset in the books, we headed for the airport. We would be returning the same way we came, Kona to LAX, LAX to Denver via overnight flights. As luck would have it, I was unable to sleep. Not the case for my traveling companions. I think I was just too full of gratitude for the entire vacation. Every time I go to Hawaii, I struggle on the re-entry to normal life. It is nice to be home, but it takes me a week before I feel like I belong in Denver again.

Two of my favorite traveling companions

While my family slept, I helped myself to the on-board wifi and searched for homes for a potential next trip to Hawaii. No. We don’t have anything we’re planning, at least not yet. But it sure is fun to dream about a return trip, and it helps ease some of the pain of leaving when you make yourself believe you will be back. I’m grateful for every minute I get to spend in Hawaii. I would head back tomorrow if I could. Okay. Maybe not tomorrow. Maybe next week. I could use a little rest in my own bed first.

Aloha, Hawaii. Mahalo for the memories. E ho’i makou!

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