Column - A vacation worth every mileThose of you who know me know that I’m a family person. The best times of my life have been spent with my family – close members and extended – and I relish each and every minute, even those minutes necessary to reach that point.
By: Lori Mork, Alexandria Echo Press
“Hawaii is not a state of mind, but a state of grace.” – Paul Theroux
Those of you who know me know that I’m a family person. The best times of my life have been spent with my family – close members and extended – and I relish each and every minute, even those minutes necessary to reach that point.
I’m prepared to make just about any sacrifice to spend time with children and siblings, and in November, I made one of my greatest sacrifices – climbing on a plane for a 10-plus hour trip across the ocean.
To say I’m not very enthusiastic about flying would be an understatement. I’ve tried nearly everything in the book to relax, from meditation to medication. Nothing works. You can cite all the statistics in the world and hand out platitudes by the plateful, but I’m not buying.
I think my fears come from lack of control over the situation, but the airlines seem to frown on allowing me into the cockpit to keep an eye on things. I know I could be an asset to the pilots, but no one will give me a chance. There certainly wouldn’t be any overshooting of destinations if I was overseeing operations. All I’d need is access to the steering and a brake pedal, and all would be well – at least for me.
But I sucked it up and stepped onto the plane for a family trip to the warm and sunny beaches of Maui with my husband, my son and his girlfriend, my daughter and her husband, my sister, her husband and daughter and a friend.
Unless you opt up to first class, flying is sort of like riding in a cattle car. Tight quarters, mind-numbing movies, stale, recycled air and noise, constant noise, even through the night.
Food on these flights is optional, dependent on your credit card. Our flight no longer accepted cash, only credit, and at $10 a sandwich, I could have been broke before I actually reached my destination.
They did have courtesy fluids such as water, coffee, juice and soda – but, remember, these are airline bathrooms. Not a place you like to frequent.
We were lucky, though. Our vacation was the week before Thanksgiving, so our planes – both going and returning – weren’t full, giving some people room to stretch a little.
Despite everything, our trip went surprisingly smooth. Our flights were on time, our connections glitch-free and the air clear with minimal turbulence. I credit having my sister along. It seems that nearly every time she travels, the process seems to elevate itself to the next level. I won’t be leaving home without her anytime in the future.
The trip was worth every minute of anxiety I suffered. We had a marvelous time – all 10 of us, swimming in the warm, blue ocean, lazing on the beaches, hiking through bamboo forests, visiting waterfalls and attending a luau. Hokey, I know, but remember, this was a family vacation.
We even survived the road to Hana – all 617 curves and 56 bridges along a 52-mile stretch that takes nearly three hours. I cannot begin to explain to you how carsick we all were by the end of the ride!
We were able to all stay together and eat together, laughing and talking up a storm. We got to share in my son-in-law’s first experience with the ocean, and laugh at the boogie boarding experience for our entire group.
Our trip was highlighted by a snorkeling adventure on Lana’i that had wild dolphins coming into our bay to swim with the snorkelers. It was the most amazing sight – 35 to 50 spinner dolphins and babies, twirling and shooting into the air around and under the swimmers.
I came home with a little sunburn and more than 300 photos, full of pineapple and poi (ugh), refreshed and relaxed.
And, best of all, I was able to share all this with the people I love most in the world – my family.