Kauai

Hawaii is far. Like, really far. I think it’s the furthest away from home that I’ve ever been.

I learned just how far Hawaii was when I double-checked my travel plans and saw that my direct flight from Newark to Honolulu was over eleven hours. That’s almost an entire (waking) day. It’s super weird to get on a plane at 9am and to get back off the plane at 9pm.

That said, Hawaii is worth it. I feel like such arduous travel plans serve to make the beauty of Hawaii stand out that much more.

What’s even more worth it is getting to see my coworkers for an entire week.

The Store Division met up in Kauai last week to get together to work on some projects, as you may be familiar with by now. This was our largest meet up yet, with the entire Store Division present, as well as a few guests.

We stayed at the Villas at Poipu Kai on the south side of the island. The beach was just a short walk away, and filled with lava rocks. It created this beautiful contrast between the golden sand and the porous, black stone.

After five very full days of getting down to work, we took the weekend to explore the island and spend some quality time with each other. On Saturday, my group took surfing lessons over in Hanalei. In addition to my arduous plane ride, getting to Hanalei required a moderately difficult drive where I managed to misinterpret some local driving rules, if I’m being kind with myself.

Sorry, people of Kauai.

Learning to surf, however, was amazing. Despite going to the Shore every summer as a kid, I never learned to surf, despite spending hours upon hours on my boogie board.

The first thing I noticed after getting on the board was just how much upper body strength it requires. Swimming out into the ocean, and just pushing myself up on the board, really worked some muscles I forgot I had. Nevertheless, I caught a few waves and was able to stand up more than once.

It’s definitely something I’d like to continue doing — thank goodness for living near a beach — but surfing in Hawaii for the first time? That’s the way to do it.

On our very last day, we took a boat ride around the island. The weather was absolutely perfect, and the dolphins were out early. There were tons of them, jumping in front of, next to, even underneath the boat. As we continued to make our way around the southern point of Kauai, we even saw a few whales in the distance.

My favorite, however, was seeing the sea turtles. I absolutely love turtles and have always been fascinated by their longevity. While I didn’t go scuba diving myself, I loved watching my coworkers swimming, floating alongside them peacefully.

Now that I’m home, grateful for the sun I caught in Hawaii, especially now that it’s snowing outside my window. It wasn’t love at first sight, but as our surf instructor said, Hawaii grows on you. It gets inside, until one day, you can’t help but come back.

Author: Erica V.

Always seriously joking and rambunctiously soft-spoken.

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