You Too Should Travel To Hawaii
I have always been something of a homebody. It takes something pretty interesting to get me out of my shell and to get me to sleep away from my own perfectly comfy bed. However, when Samantha found a trip deal on Expedia late one evening between episodes of Silicon Valley, I immediately decided that it had to happen and purchased it. We have always wanted to go to Hawaii and neither of us had been before, and the past 18 months have been pretty much nothing but hard work and hustling building our businesses. We needed a getaway badly.
The trip we bought included airfare round trip for two, as well as 7 nights in the Sheraton Kona resort. We’d be responsible for our food and drink, but the total (even after adding a rental car for the week) was less than $2500. We then spent the next two weeks before departure alternately wondering whether it was too good to be true, and getting ridiculously excited about Hawaii.
I had never been on a long haul flight. They are definitely the worst. However, I will skip over this part of the story as I don’t like being negative. Suffice to say, we survived and were exhausted and ready for sleep when we arrived at the airport in Kona on the big island.
Deplaning from the 757 was done via a staircase instead of a jetway (I thought this was pretty baller). We walked across the ramp, greeted by a salty warm night breeze and an interesting open-air international airport facility. After picking up our Chrysler 200 rental car, we drove the 20 minutes to the resort and immediately passed out.
Next morning’s dawn was nothing short of breathtaking. The island’s rocky tree- and house-encrusted terrain rose steeply to the east. The tropical trees and well groomed “Hawaii Lawn” (that’s really what the sign said it was called) of the resort was already populated by several odd bird species and their noisy singing. We got up and walked along the resort’s beachfront, which consisted a concrete walkway over black lava with the surf crashing just below. Jetlag was a new experience for me, and it really solidified how remotely situated the state of Hawaii is. By the time the sun came up, the folks back home in Tennessee were already eating lunch. We bought some iced coffees and went and chilled by the pool while we planned the day ahead.
Y’all, there was a Target 20 minutes away. We quickly realized that we had way overpacked. The prices were pretty much the same as they are at the local Mount Juliet Target, except there was also an aisle full of decently-priced liquor. We were really excited to see the store was well-stocked with LaCroix water too, as we essentially can’t survive without it. One Hawaii oddity we discovered when we went to the register to purchase was that there are no plastic grocery bags on the islands. As someone who believes humans generally treat the Earth like a garbage can, that made me very happy.
Speaking of environmental friendliness, I definitely noticed an Earth-friendly attitude in the culture there. Not only that, but everyone in Kona seemed to be very relaxed and friendly. The speed limit was 35 or less pretty much everywhere, and I even observed drivers stopping and letting other cars into the highway during heavier traffic even though there wasn’t a stop sign. No one we encountered was in any way rude to us or even anything less than friendly. Folks, definitely try and go during the off-season. While kids are still in school back on the mainland, tourists don’t bring their stress, mess, and noise with them.
Our next priority was to relax. I had packed an e-reader and some analog books, and we each read several hundred pages over a few days while enjoying excellent poolside food and drinks service. The ocean view at the resort pool was excellent, and I don’t think I have chilled to that level in my entire life. The weather was excellent every day, about half the time overcast and sunshine the rest of the day. 83 degrees with an ocean breeze was perfection. Be sure to bring lots of SPF-70 though; the solar radiation at that latitude is intense.
We drove the rental car around the area quite a bit. There is some really good seafood to be found, as well as a great pizza place. I can hardly reiterate this enough: Kona is a very laid-back and relaxed town.
The local snorkeling area was 5min from the resort, called Magic Sands. Apparently the sand appears suddenly on a seasonal basis there, but it was just slippery black lava rock when we went. We had never been snorkeling in our life, and walked into the ocean equipped with our Target-purchased snorkels. We weren’t sure if we’d like it, but it turns out it’s just as awesome as everyone thinks it is and more. There was a constant parade of brightly colored fish swimming past, and we even found a large sea turtle grazing peacefully along the floor at around 4ft depth. The ocean waves certainly made swimming interesting, and the water temperature was perfect. Thankfully, the snorkels had a valve that closes when the top of the air pipe goes under water. When we finally stumbled through the waves across the slippery lava back to the car, we were exhausted.
Snorkeling is really excellent exercise, so we only went once. We aren’t really a fitness-obsessed couple, and we were there to relax so we spent most of the time in the shade at the pool facing the ocean. That may sound like something you could do much closer to home without going all the way to Hawaii, but really does feel very different there. This may be due to the fact that it’s one of the most remote places in the world, surrounded by ocean for ridiculous lengths of distance. The sun sets there just past midnight Central time, and knowing that as you watch the distorted red sun sink beneath the infinite ocean horizon creates the feeling that you are in a different universe entirely.
The state also has a crazy lava beach that (no exaggeration) feels like you’re crossing the surface of Mars to reach the ocean. It’s about a mile and a half drive over a very rough one-lane track to get there, and I certainly recommend choosing the Jeep rental if you want to cross it without constant fear of scratching the car. The harshly dark and crazily-piled lava terrain looks like a great set for a scene in Mordor, with the strangely evil-looking heat waves rising all around and a very faint but hellish sulfuric smell. Once you reach the beach though, you’re very suddenly back in paradise, with the dark blue ocean waves stretching cooly to meet the light blue sky in the distance. This beach did have sand, and we walked across it pointing at goofy-looking little crabs and finding another calm sea turtle sunning itself on the rocks. This was one of the last little trips we made, and it was a great way to finish off the vacation.
When Sunday came and it was time to leave, we had already decided that Hawaii is probably our favorite place on the planet. We will certainly go back as soon (and for as long) as possible. I finished the Elon Musk biography at the pool, and now have some very ambitious plans for my company Exoverse – not the least of which includes having Hawaii as its headquarters.
If you need to relax, if you need a break, or if like me you need a reboot for your cluttered entrepreneurial mind, go to the alternate universe that is Hawaii. You won’t regret it.
Chris Remboldt is the founder of Exoverse Products. He joins the SoBros Network as a contributor in the fields of tech, auto, travel, and anything else he damn well pleases. Check Exoverse Products out on Instagram @exoverseproducts.
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