My Winter Vacation: Doing Nothing in Hawaii

Just outside of our car I saw the blue bustling ocean, turning darker by the minute, an expansive pink sky, and a rainbow dropping down in the center of it all. Everyone had stopped their cars right by the “do not stop” sign and looked on in awe. My sister and I laughed and jumped up and down in excitement like we were five years old again, all while ensuring we captured comedic self-timer photos as well. While we marveled at the view, the phenomenon faded just as quickly as we discovered it, and the sky dimmed to a fuzzy orange. 

We saw our first rainbow of the trip while rolling down the Hawaiian hills. The next few were scattered over the rest of our days, either peeking out during a hike or revealing itself behind the trees. In many other places, these rainbow sightings can be considered remarkable. In Hawaii, it’s normal. 

*Courtesy of Unsplash

Instead of a grand Christmas dinner and gift-wrapped presents, my family spent the holiday cooped up in a small hotel room eating plated lunches of rice and barbecue chicken. 

I had been to the other islands before when I was a lot younger, but we returned to O’ahu for familiarity because my mom grew up in Pearl City for some years. It didn’t make much difference to me – Hawaii was Hawaii. I was desperate for sunlight (after losing my tan, and some of my sanity, in Boston) and an ocean I could swim in without fear of hypothermia or catching a cold. Most of my east coast friends had never even been to Hawaii, so I considered myself lucky. 

The trip was everything and nothing spectacular at the same time. Of course, the backdrop was gorgeous and a much-needed change in scenery. Every area was lush and green, and I didn’t mind the humidity because I preferred it over braving the cold. 

For the majority of the trip, my family and I followed the same routine. We wandered around for breakfast, indulging in acai bowls from Island Vintage Coffee or venturing to the Walmart across the street from our hotel for Hawaiian food. Full and happy, we’d drive around the island scouting out our next beach destination. The next few hours entailed collapsing in the sand or rolling with the waves, floating on my back looking up at the sky. My sister and I often scouted out the best nearby boba spots, experiencing withdrawal from our favorite drink. Then we’d eat again for lunch and dinner, watch a sunset or two, and head back to the hotel once it turned dark.

Though I wasn’t doing much of anything in particular, it was enough. After a hectic fall semester, I desperately needed some time off and a way to let my mind go blank. Hawaii (and a handful of rainbows) came as a perfect remedy. It was all that I needed to completely unwind, relax, and ignore any responsibility or nagging thought at the back of my mind.

*Courtesy of Cody McLain / Unsplash