Reflections on Travel: Hawaii

This post is sponsored by The Hawaiian Islands, where you could be Living in the Moment on Hawaii Island.

My first true experience planning a trip happened in 7th grade. The family was headed to Hawaii for spring break, and it was the first time I stepped up and asked if I could help plan the trip. Little did my parents know that the trip was highly inspired by Jonathan Taylor Thomas (aka JTT, my teenage crush, of Home Improvement fame).

It was the first year I remember having internet in my life. I’d come home from school and sign into my favorite AOL chatrooms. Blogs were non-existent at the time, and websites and content were nothing of what we know them as today. I wasn’t Googling “Hawaii” to plan the trip, but rather it was hanging out in the JTT fan chat room chatting about important things, like what we had watched on TV. In the process of chatting with a girl, she told me how her family had at this great resort – the Hilton Waikoloa Village on the island of Hawaii. She told me JTT was there when they stayed there and her sister got to hang out with him. My 13 year old self thought that was so cool. So I continued my research, and yes, if JTT stayed there, we would too!
I have to admit the resort was super cool and like no place I had ever been. Years later, the things that stick out in my mind the most are reflective of my style of travel these days. I may have been the only one in the lei making class I eagerly signed up for, but I loved learning a local art/skill. My souvenir was a lei needle so I could make more back at home. And just as I strive to have experiences when I travel that are specific to the place and you can’t do everywhere, playing with dolphins was pretty sweet too. I remember my brother being so impressed by how smart they were.
While part of me expected to run into JTT when exploring the resort grounds, I never did, and it still makes me laugh to think back to my naive self. As I reflect, I can’t help but think how true this travel story is to the way I travel today. I may no longer be planning JTT-inspired vacations, but I always love to go to friends – old or new – as my first point of contact to help me plan a trip. And with their help, I always seek out local, unique experiences I can have to make the most of a place. Even if they can send me a great link or point me in the right direction, it’s always appreciated.

Now, with my “grown-up” self and the power of the internet, I can’t help but dream of what I could do with another trip back to Hawaii. What I’d see, where I’d go, what I’d do, who I’d meet…

For more unique island experiences, visit Living in the Moment on Hawaii Island, brought to you by The Hawaiian Islands, sponsors of this post.
p.s. Thanks mom, for digging out these old, pre-digital, pics!


  • You are reminding very old time when planning trip with help of internet was not the option. But today it is very easy to plan the trip we can get reviews and feedbacks of visitors online and can easily make our minds.

  • I LOVE That photo of you!!! So cute! Hawaii remains one of those places I hpoe to get to before I die – so much history, so much culture and so much good food to be consumed, I better make it there soon!

  • Ha! What a great post about your start in travel planning! Hawaii sounds wonderful and warm :) My family never took warm beachy trips when I was younger – only historical ones that involved castles and a lot of walking. In my grown up life, I’ve made a point to have more warm vacations – Hawaii is on the list!

  • Absolutely adore the photos! Just had a massive “I need to visit Hawaii” moment the other night after watching The Descendants. I’m taking this post as a sign from the travel gods that I need to make it there sooner rather than later. Great words and photos, as always.

  • I know that we have lead parallel lives, but you may have just completely confirmed our parallel existence when you mentioned taking a lei making class and taking home the special needle. I, too, did the same thing (though it may have been a year or two before when we were in Mrs. Mai’s class.) Threadingpr african violets from the backyard when I got home made some wickedly beautiful lei’s!!

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