Aloha and welcome to our travel week here on the Kay & Shi Show. We’re talking about different places that we’ve had the honor and opportunity to travel together and what they’ve taught us.
So, today we are talking about Hawaii and specifically the island of Kauai, the garden isle. It is a treasured place in our hearts for many different reasons and we’ve both had the privilege of traveling there with our spouses and with our children over time and then together over time as well. But the very first trip was something that was absolutely unforgettable and a major turning point in our family’s lives. That was in the early spring, late winter of–I’m trying to remember the year here–2002. Wow. Crazy to go back that far. 20 years ago, we had our first trip to the island of Kauai, and it was momentous for our family because it was like the first cheddar vacation we’d ever been on and by cheddar, I mean like fancy. We stayed at a resort not a hotel, not a motel, not Uncle Mark’s house, like a resort on the ocean and it was paradigm shifting.
Well, paradigm-shifting indeed. To give you a little bit of an idea of where the paradigm shifted from, before that trip to Hawaii when Shila was born our parents were on food stamps and welfare and when I was born, we had family members living in our house, actually, we had five additional family members living in our 1,200-square-foot house with the four of us that were already living there. So, that was where we were when I was born and our parents had leveraged everything that they could to put our mom through College so that she could try and give our family a better shot at life, at existence, and at financial wellbeing. So, up until this point, our vacations had really looked like the quick things we could scrape together, staying at families houses. We always joke about the one time we stayed at beautiful Hotel Circle in San Diego and smaller trips that were surrounded by things like people’s weddings or funerals, necessities for travel. So, this was one where our family picked a destination on the map and then built a trip around it and then, like Shila said, included the resort, included a plane ride to get there and the paradigm had gone from the type of family that takes vacations or trips out of necessity to the family that gets to vacation for the sake of a vacation.
We got a convertible on that trip. We took the helicopter ride on that trip. This was also a really healing time for us. Of course, in 2001 you remember what happened September 11, so the nation was still in mourning, in shock, and in a shift from that event that had happened just six months before. Of course, being a high school student during that time was really interesting to observe, and then I had been through a really tumultuous boyfriend relationship and just teenage acting out. Us getting to Hawaii was the turning point for us as a family in terms of us coming back together, of finding cohesion, of being a family unit again and that was really healing. I had also lost a dear friend to suicide just two months before. So, the Hawaii trip was able for me to connect with my family as a teenager in a way that I hadn’t gotten to yet and was able to fill my cup, and then was able for our parents to connect in a really beautiful way that their marriage thrived after that and during that trip in beautiful ways and flourish in great ways.
Then Kay, you get to be the 10-year-old on that trip and just enjoy things from your perspective and have you bring childlike wonder. I think we just had the perfect mix for our family individually and then on that macro sense just what that meant as a nation that we could travel, that we could enjoy a destination again, that there was life after 9/11 I think was really symbolic. Since then, our parents who then brought us in on it. We have timeshare in Kauai. Our favorite is the North Shore. We’ve done baby moons there, both Kay and myself did baby moons there. That’s when you go on a trip before a baby is born. So, the twins got to go there when I was pregnant with them then we took all of the kids on a big family trip with mom and dad and have been back with our spouses and things since, and it’s just always as magical. So, if you’re trying to pick an island, we suggest Kauai. If you have been to Kauai, please shout us out, let us know where you love and what you’ve loved so we can add it to our list for next time because it really is a magical place and it holds a magical space in our heart.
Well, Aloha and we’ll see you on the next episode where we’re going to talk about the state of Florida.