I know, it's not June 21st yet so summer hasn't officially arrived, but you'd never know it out here in California where the temperatures are spiking (105 on Sunday!) and the water, well, the water is just about non-existent aside from the ocean that's too far away for me to visit easily. Droughts are NOT fun. But vacations are!
I know summer for most people is synonymous with vacations and while I do tend to take at least one trip in those blistering months (NYC for RWA here I come!), my getaways tend to happen off season. Disney is a staple for me (I'm one of those obsessed fans), but I also love tropical places so last October, my BFF and I pinched pennies and combined our two favorite ideas and spent 10 amazing days in Hawaii at the Disney Aulani. Not a bad view, huh?
As I've gotten older, I've really tried to challenge myself. I've never been particularly adventurous and my idea of camping was to find the spot closest to the convenience store (don't ask). I'm a serious homebody with way too many "what if" scenarios running through my head and sadly, I often expect the worst to happen. But not this time! This time, I told myself I'd do things that scared me. Starting with snorkeling (did I mention despite my love of the tropics, I'm not overly fond of water?).
No, there's no photographic evidence I went in the water, but I did! And once I was in the ocean, I didn't want to get out. Truly amazing and I can't wait to try it again in another part of the world. Fear conquered!
My other "challenge" was to get back on a horse. I hadn't been on one since I was about 7. Trust me when I say, don't wait 35+ years to try again. Bodies don't work the same way after all that time, LOL. My horse's name was Spock (yay, Star Trek...what could go wrong?) and about 3/4 of the way through our trail, he decided he'd had enough and dumped me into the tall grass. Luckily I was wearing a helmet and I have plenty of, um, natural padding. Poor horse probably had enough of me. But I couldn't get enough of this view!
Needless to say, I've gotten horseback riding out of my system, but there was one more thing I wanted to tackle: a hike. Now I'm not a very athletic person (despite being a dancer for most of my youth). Had I known exactly what I was getting in to, I might have rethought the 2 hour UPHILL hike in the Waiamea Valley. I survived (barely)! My shoes, however, did not. Small price to pay for marking off another bucket list item and for seeing part of Hawaii not many people do. And yes, my legs really are that white (I sunburn in a snowstorm <G>).
A trip to the islands is never complete without a visit to Pearl Harbor and the Arizona. I've been to a lot of places around the world and I can honestly say I don't think I've ever felt a more spiritual place than this memorial. You can feel the life force of those lost that day all around. It's sacred and, if you haven't had a chance to go, definitely add it to your own bucket list.
If you're looking for a reason for your next vacation, might I suggest combining the trip with wanting to conquer personal challenges or marking things off your bucket list. Not only will you have a great time, you'll come home feeling as if you accomplished something (aside from lowering your blood pressure). Who's with me?
What was the last vacation you took? Did you do something you never expected or always wanted to? I'd love to know. Please share in the comments! I'll choose one commenter at random to receive my upcoming novella, MARKED FOR LOVE (releasing July 1st). Thanks for stopping by. Aloha!
A geek at heart, National & USA TODAY Best Selling author Anna J Stewart writes "refreshingly unique, quietly humorous, and profoundly moving romance" (RT Book Reviews) for Harlequin Heartwarming and Berkley InterMix. She's also publishing a series of sweet romance novellas that take place in the same town as her Tremayne Family Romances (Berkley). Visit her online at www.authorannastewart.com for more information and to sign up for her newsletter. She gives away a surprise gift box to one lucky subscriber in every issue (next issue is June 17th!)
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