Hawaii was never at the top of travel list. In fact, I don’t think it even made the top ten. Or the top twenty. I think the same holds true for Navdeep. So why are we headed there for two weeks of our hard-earned winter break?
Here’s the thing: every break, we pretty much plan to go to California. Since Kavya was born, and even before then, really, we wanted to make sure we got to spend some quality time with Navdeep’s parents and sister in California — especially as the family expanded to include two little ones. But this curtails our ability to travel elsewhere. So we had the brilliant idea that we should go somewhere else — and that Navdeep’s parents should simply meet us there.
At first we thought Alaska. But given the Winter scheduling of the trip, it didn’t seem like it would be all that fun to go there right now. So then we said, let’s pick somewhere warm and exotic and closer to California, somewhere that would allow us to explore and enjoy each other’s company without over-stressing or renewing our (missing or expired) passports even. Somewhere where Kavya could have quality time with her grandparents in a leisurely fashion. Somewhere, after all of those requirements, that wouldn’t be boring.
And none of us had ever been to Hawaii, so that became an option. It was big, it was warm, it was technically American soil, it had beaches and culture and even active volcanos. Initially, we booked just four days in Waikiki Beach via a time share. THen my mom decided she’d join us. And paying $1100 a ticket for four days on the beach didn’t make sense, so we decided to add an island or two. This is a BIG family trip. Over the course of six months of planning, we added ten days, two more islands, four additional family members and a whole lot of adventure. In the end, it was 14 days on three islands with eight adults and one toddler.
Essentially, it’s a big bonding experience for us all. Not a single one of us have ever been to Hawaii. None of us have ever seen an active volcano, either, so that should be a big highlight of the trip, too. There’s plenty of adventure on the agenda: the windy and beautiful Road to Hana, underwater helmet-diving in Waikiki, a five a.m. lava boat tour. But another big highlight should be just chilling on the beach and enjoying each other’s company. Because we need that family time. My family of five — my parents, my brother, my sister and I — haven’t been on a trip all together since we went to Mexico a decade ago when I was in college. Navdeep’s parents and mine have never traveled together — Kavya’s going to be overwhelmed with grandparental love and hugs, not to mention kisses and cuddles from Tarun Mamu and Meena Masi.
All in all, Hawaii is a family adventure I’m really looking forward to — as much as it surprises me to say it. This time around, though, it’s not so much the place as it is the people I’ll be traveling with that make the trip worthwhile.