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Lessons From Hawaii: Just Stop The Car

March 10, 2016


Last month our family embarked on what was really, our first vacation ever.

There have been trips, of course, over the last 12 years. Trips back east, in winter and summer, that counted as vacations with fun times and family. But, ever since a misguided cruise to Alaska with a two-year-old….we’ve never really done the winter break/spring break/summer vacation thing. Every trip, every holiday, has been to see family, with side trips in between.

Thus, finally, we bit the bullet this year and bought tickets to Hawaii. In hindsight, now that we are moving east in June, it might have been the kids’ only chance to see Hawaii. It’s a long flight from California as it is. Ten hours of air travel from New Hampshire – not so much.

It was, as you might expect, paradise. Blissful. We loved every moment, and even the occasional bickering of our minions didn’t seem quite as obnoxious when there are palm trees in the background and fish tacos with mango on the plate.


One evening after dinner, we returned to our condo to see a remarkably fine sunset in the making. Instead of going inside, we turned and walked across the road to sit on the sand and watch awhile.

As the sun approached the horizon, others trickled over the sand dunes, joining us along the beach. The kids played in the lava rocks at the water’s edge. Strangers asking strangers for a photo, our faces lit up by the fading, rose-colored light.


I watched as a young guy in a rusted, open-topped Jeep stopped in the road. He was quintessentially Hawaiian. Pretty sure his name was probably Kimo. Huge, muscular, deeply tanned. He pulled off to the side, climbed on to the seats, a sat cross-legged on the roll bars, his chin in his hands. Just watching.

The sun finally settled into the horizon. Strangers around us, bonded over the beauty of the moment, said goodnight and drifted away. We gathered our sandy flip-flops to walk back across the street. Jeep Guy Kimo climbed down off his roll bars and into the driver’s seat, pulling away from the sand and went on his way.

On his way to somewhere, but not in such a hurry that he didn’t have time to stop and watch the sun set.

The image has stuck with me.

I want to live the kind of life where I always have time to pull off the road and watch the sun set.

I don’t think I’ve lived that way very often. I’m a hurried person, and I forget to stop and watch, most times. Focused on the next thing, the next task, the next check box, I don’t often…ever?…stop to simply watch.

Vacations are great that way….by removing ourselves form our workaday environment, we have the time to breathe and discover that perhaps what we’ve been settling for isn’t really good enough.

There are sunsets at home, of course. Through the window over the kitchen sink as I’m cleaning up the kitchen. From the rear view mirror as I’m driving to and fro.

Watching the sunset from my kitchen windows…not good enough. Next time, I will go outside and watch until it’s over, not while I’m washing up the kitchen, or driving home.

I’ll be like Kimo and stop the car.



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3 Comments leave one →
  1. pastordt permalink
    March 10, 2016 9:34 am

    love this!! We have traveled to one island or another about every other year since 1980 and one reason is exactly this: the beauty and rhythm of that place help us to s l o w down. Blessings on your big move!!

    • March 10, 2016 10:49 am

      Thank you Diana, and yes, what a gift to be able to experience that pace and look forward to that! I guess we’ll have to explore other island climes further east. Guess we’re stuck with the Caribbean! LOL

  2. Elaine permalink
    March 14, 2016 10:00 am

    I’m late to reading this ;P but yes! Island time is the best! Us mainland folks are all to often overly concerned with showing up on time to multitude of things we have overfilled our schedules with.

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