Mahalo, O'ahu

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I escaped to Hawaii after an intense breakup. To read more about that, click here. Here’s a post I wrote shortly after the trip - with recommendations on things to do on O’ahu and also a reflection of what my time in paradise meant to me:

I think I finally got all the ocean water out of my hair, but I definitely haven't gotten O'ahu out of my heart. We did a quick trip - three days, but it was a lifetime of adventure. Read more below on our itinerary and Hawaiian hele ana. 🌺 

Day 1

Diamond Head: We hiked up this volcanic tuff cone which also happens to be a U.S. National Natural Landmark and State Monument and climbed into a WWII bunker. 760 feet up. We were covered in rust and pineapple juice (not a euphemism - it’s what the locals call light rain while it’s still sunny out) and celebrated with Hawaiian shaved ice. Definitely the most rewarding hike I have ever been on.

Kailua and Lanikai: Endless laughter. Endless sun. Endless sunburn. Endless fun. Where to begin? I almost got taken out by a giant, inflatable rubber duck in the Pacific Ocean. Death by duck. We learned a lot about the personal lives of all our Uber drivers and went to Maui Tacos based on one of their recommendations. Target ran out of grocery bags. Because that happens in Hawaii. We sneakily changed into our other bikinis right on the beach in preparation for another beach. 😹I lost my cell phone and sunglasses when the cheer convention came to town. A lovely Hawaiian woman named Destiny with a flower in her hair contacted my friends and family, and we met her at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu to retrieve them, and she invited us to dinner. We literally had a “date with Destiny.” We went with our Uber driver who happened to be ex-military (which worked out great because my mom thought we were going to be abducted) because Hanama was closed (make sure you check their hours/closures due to King Tide before you go!). But we got to see incredible volcanic formations and a gorgeous sunset.

Day 2

Kuaola Ranch: I was posing for photos I would later post to make my ex miserable, when the captain said: “Wow, wow, wow. I’m going to have to start charging if you’re going to take modeling photos.” I quickly responded: “Are you kidding? We should be charging you.” He really liked us from that moment onwards. Maybe it was the delirium-causing heat, but the captain seemed to think it would be a great idea if one of us steered the catamaran home. Neither Anna nor Laurel wanted blood on their hands so I happily volunteered as tribute. Everything was going great…until it came time to park. The captain was nonchalant and ceased to provide instructions on what to do. I was off. Only by a little bit! But it was enough to make many of the 60 or so passengers gasp (and yes, I did encourage them to pray to God if they believe) and clap at the end that we had made it…alive. And, yes, I bowed when they clapped because I am a total ham. The captain made a joke about how his job was still safe. I have a feeling he was setting me up for that punchline, but it was one hell of a hilarious memory. I was the first to spot an endangered Hawaiian monk seal which the captain said he hadn’t seen in a really, really long time! Then Laurel spotted a sea turtle, and Anna spotted a…bouy. We also had a nautical roller coaster ride. BOY WAS THAT FUN. We rode horses. Though mine was a total ass (get it?). And they had kitties (that hated Laurel - sorry, Laurel). We trekked through Secret Island and learned about the sacred Hibiscus tree from our awesome tour guide, @zentourguide. We felt like Snow White (as Anna pointed out) when we were flocked by stunning birds. We saw pigs. A chicken crossed the road in front of our bus, and we finally got our answer as to why the chicken crossed the road. We visited a WWII bunker (thanks Tour Guide Lilo!) that had several interesting artifacts and also had props and objects from famous movies and TV shows shot there (Kong: Skull Island, Along Came Polly, LOST, Jurassic Park, etc.). Jurassic Park was the first movie I saw in theaters, and people gave my parents dirty looks for taking a small toddler to a seemingly scary movie, but I had laughed and clapped every time the dinosaurs came out so visiting Kuaola was very special to me. Speaking of Jurassic Park…a movie you may or may not be watching soon involving dinosaurs was filming there when we visited. ;)

Day 1,2, and 3

Waikiki: My manager asked me to not get eaten by a Great White Shark because he doesn't want open headcount, but that didn't stop us from taking the boogie out of boogie boarding at night during King Tide. We had the BEST iced tea I have every had in my life (with a pineapple slice in it) from Sam’s Kitchen. Anna brought a towel for a dog (apparently, it looked bigger (that’s what she said) in Amazon’s stock photo). We stumbled upon a live band and Hawaiian hula dancing. We also happened to show up to the “most happenin’” club on O’ahu - Rum Fire. We made friends with the bouncer named Keenan who laughed at a few guys trying to hit on me while Laurel chased them away. He is a Falcons fan even though the Seahawks are closer (an extremely valid point I made that Laurel supported). I found the perfect, one-of a-kind souvenir at a hole-in the-wall shop. We (poorly) attempted to “do Baywatch” and took slow-mo videos of trying to sexily come out of the ocean. 😹We had strawberry popsicles for breakfast. Also, it's just really fun to say "Waikiki."

And probably the best thing Hawaii has given me…So grateful for this strange sisterhood. We each had our selfish reasons for dropping everything and booking a trip to Hawaii, but I know they mostly did it for me. 😉 Heartbreak never felt so good. Here's to new ohanas. 🍹🌺
From Laurel telling off several guys who tried to hit on me (apparently, I do well in Hawaii so I’m moving there y’all), and one time, before “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” came on in the club, to dancing ridiculously to John Mellencamp’s “Hurts So Good” on repeat with Anna the next morning and wondering how on Earth these dance moves attracted men the night before to “uterus cloud”-watching to perfectly-smooth-surface-tripping to Anna and me (sorry Laurel) getting upgraded to better seats on Delta both there and back to witch hunting (cheerleaders, Anna with the concierge ticket, and at McDonald’s while all dressed up at 3 in the morning) to many boobs to Mai Tais, basically adult Lunchables, Spam Musubis, and poke from the ABC Stores to hijacking a catamaran to sneaking through hotels to JUST make our shuttles and busses (saved you dorks twice, ehem, ehem) to “late-night activities” to not putting the boogie in boogie boarding - it’s been a hell of an adventure with these two. ❤️

On the polaroid: “Melissa is the most well-developed.” -Laurel “But not as a human being.” -Anna 😹😹😹

Wow, there’s no one at this airport. It’s not busy at all.” -Anna
“Yeah, because we’re the IDIOTS getting on a plane and leaving Hawaii.” -me

“The worst part of this trip is that I’ve been on Delta’s website so much to check stuff, the cookies send me Melissa’s Delta Airlines commercial everywhere. Hope you’re happy.” Yes, Anna. Yes, I am. 😹
On the real, so many important people in my life come from Hawaii: one of my best friends growing up and Prom date (it took a Hawaiian to teach me how to ski), my Homecoming date senior year, a good family friend/second mother to me, my acting coach, etc. These islands yield amazing people, and there was no place better to escape to to find myself again.

Mahalo, O'ahu.💕Until next time...
Until next time, I will try to adhere to the advice of the mantra band I picked up on the island: “Fearless: To be fearless is to do what scares you, to take a chance, to make a change. To love again. And to get back up after you fall. To be fearless is to know your fears, but never let them stop you.”