Honolulu – First Impressions

Honolulu Skyline

Honolulu Skyline

To the arriving and leaving. To the journey
I wake to freshness. And do reverence.
~ Jack Gilbert

Circling the Hawaiian Islands – part family tradition, part pilgrimage, part challenge.

Family Tradition:

I’ve been traveling the United States – summer road trip! – for nearly 50 years; my husband and kids joined me in the annual camping/cross-country road trip over thirty years ago. By the time our three kids had graduated from high school, we had visited 46 states. My younger daughter and I explored Washington and a bit of Oregon in 2010 to increase our “states visited” number to 48. Our recent visit to Hawaii made the island state #49. With good fortune, Alaska will be #50 in 2016.

Almost a year ago Manda and I began planning a visit to Hawaii. To take best advantage of our short stay of 9 days, two of which were travel days, we planned to fly into Honolulu and then take a 7 day island cruise, with stops at Maui, the Big Island (day long stops at both Hilo and Kona) and then an overnight stop in Kauai before cruising back to Oahu. The plan worked well for us as first time visitors – it was a delicious taste of Hawaii. We now have a long list of new favorites to visit the next time we head (far) west.

St. Augustine Catholic Church and Waikiki Coastline

St. Augustine Catholic Church and Waikiki Coastline

Pilgrimage: a spirit-renewing ritual, a journey to find/see the sacred in the ordinary.

~ Bo Mackison

Part Pilgrimage:

We arrived in Honolulu a day early to get our land legs after our long flight, although in retrospect it wasn’t so much the land legs I needed as a stronger pair of sea legs…

The view from the hotel – iconic. Not only the golden Pacific, a sea of honey-hued waves aglow in the setting sun, but also a bit of the Waikiki coast, the iconic surfers (and surfing students) waiting to ride incoming waves, palm tree-lined streets. And this church, tucked into the hotel hustle and beach crowd – St. Augustine by the Sea. The modern church, built in 1962, replaced an older wooden structure built in 1901. The older church was well-known as the “church without windows” — latticework walls provided an open structure and ocean breezes provided ventilation. I hoped for time inside the church — a soothing place to sit with my thoughts and a place to rest my knees for a bit — but the building was locked.

Instead I found refuge sitting on a bench tucked under a banyan tree and watched the rhythm of the surfers and the waves.

Hotel Visitors, 26th Floor

Hotel Visitors, 26th Floor

“You wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.”

~Toni Morrison

Part Challenge:

This trip was on my maybe list for months. Though we’d made the reservations almost a year ago, 2015 was one of those challenging years, punctuated by way too many ups and downs. I’d had to cancel several greatly anticipated trips throughout the year, aware that in order to best care for myself I had to limit travel and other activities.

So it was with a mixture of concern and relief that I packed my luggage for Hawaii. I also packed a mental self-care list, acknowledging the need to balance the joys and frustrations of travel with my awareness of limitations and the willingness to practice extreme self-care when needed.

Challenge…but I wanted to fly.


About Bo Mackison

I'm a photographer, book-artist, traveler, naturalist, and creator of the Contemplative Creatives Journey, An Online Workshop and Community and Desert Wisdom Cards and Workshops. Though often not well known, I find the desert a welcoming place - a healing space. Its mysteries and gifts transformed me several years ago. Since that first encounter, I return again and again to fill my well in what most people think of as a desolate region. I'd love to share my desert discoveries and wisdom with you. Please subscribe to receive my five part mini email course The Gifts of the Desert. It's my gift to you.

Leave a Reply