A Reminiscent Roundup: Oahu, Hawaii


This time last year I was gearing up for a solo journey of epic proportions. I knew before making the trek that it would undoubtedly be a life changing experience, although little did I know exactly how great of an impact it would really have when all was said and done. The islands magical influences can have quite an effect on the unsuspecting traveler who has never been that far away from home. Particularly so, when you're not used to being that far away from home alone!

Most of my time on the island of Oahu, Hawaii was spent in quiet contemplation as I embarked upon adventures on my own that consisted of many different activities. I had no specific goals or a rigid itinerary before getting on the plane. Now that I think about it, there was one specific goal I can recall having, which was to just let myself be. I felt no pressure about doing or seeing as much as I could in the 5 short days that I was there; I was more interested in taking it easy and actually relaxing on this brief respite.

A near perfect balance of tranquility and activity was how I managed to spend my days. And the jet lag helped me to make the most of my time by not letting me sleep past 6am. It was somewhat frustrating at times since I wasn't going to bed until 2 or 3am. I suppose that sleep would be on the bottom of any persons list when you have a tropical paradise waiting to be discovered right outside your door.

I already blogged about most of my trip to the island, but I'm in the mood to revisit this soulful sojourn since I'm feeling sentimental. Links to the previous posts can be found at the bottom.

Mountain Backdrop

In my sporty red Jeep, I covered every corner of the island. By far, the most scenic drive to take a ride I found was Highyway 83. This joyride hugged the turquoise shores of the Pacific Ocean for nearly the entire stretch. If you can imagine, I had a hard time keeping my eyes on the road! While I immensely enjoyed spending time on the islands open roads, I did make quite a few pit stops along the way.

Byodo-In Temple

One of the most amazing encounters led me to the Byodo-In Temple. Located in the Valley of the Temples, at the base of the 2,000 foot Ko'olau mountain range, is the replica of a 950-year-old Buddhist temple in Uji, Japan. One can't help but be overcome with an extreme sense of peacefulness while roaming the grounds of this magnificent complex. I was early and lucky enough to be one of the first visitors, so I had the temple to myself, which greatly enhanced my experience. It was very hard to leave; I could have stayed there all day had that bus of tourists not shown up.

Luau Seating & Stage

For my actual birthday, a friend and I attended an authentic Hawaiian-style luau where we stuffed ourselves with delicious food and watched some highly entertaining performances. The four hour long feast for the senses was a rip-roaring good time that I really wish I could repeat for this year's birthday.

Overview of Shark's Cove Tidepool

A trip to Hawaii wouldn't be complete without spending time in the great outdoors, and I'm not just talking about sandy white beaches either. Snorkeling, was a pastime that I found myself thoroughly enthralled by. It was my first time catching a glimpse of the aquatic life in their natural habitat. I floated along the surface in a constant state of awe as I spied on the sea creatures, it was so much fun swimming with the fishes. 

Hawaii Montage

To keep from getting too waterlogged and to survey what was beyond the sea and sand, I also ventured upon other outdoor recreational activities. While on the island of Oahu, I managed to complete two pretty popular hikes to satisfy my urge to commune with nature. The hikes I did were like night and day with one tucked deep inside a lusciously verdant rainforest, while the other was situated inside an extinct volcanic crater. 

Manoa Falls was the first trek I did to see an impressive 160ft waterfall. The second one, called Diamond Head crater, was nowhere near the gentle grade I experienced earlier at Manoa Falls. Diamond Head was a lot steeper and required several staggering stair climbs to reach the top, but the long range views do their best to make up for the massive amount of sweat lost in the process. The hikes were definitely a great detour from the usual island activities and offered some awesome exercise too.

Me on top of Diamond Head

This trip down memory lane makes my heart ache as I really wish there were a birthday trip this year, too. I mean, I'm coming up on the Big 3-0 and this is the first birthday in 4 years that I won't be heading somewhere outside my usual surroundings. 

I promised Cody, though, that we would spend my birthday together this year, and I wouldn't want to let him down. It's not too much of a compromise, though, because I want to be with him as much as he wants to be with me; although that doesn't stop me from yearning for us to be somewhere new together.

At least I have these beautifully vivid memories of Hawaii to carry me through until my next journey! 

Original HAWAII Blog Posts:


    1. Road trip north! ;)

      I hope you have a peaceful birthday, you.

    2. gorgeous shots and gorgeous memories. that temple is so beautiful.

    3. I stand in awe those pics Jess, what a landscape! I hope I can visit hawaii one day in my life!

    4. No wonder you wanted to revisit, from the photos, it looks more than a bit spectacular! Happy upcoming birthday.

    5. Those mountains are quite beautiful!

    6. Those mountains are quite beautiful!

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