what to do in hawaii

How to Survive an Alison’s Adventure (Day 8)

Day 8

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Before every meal we ate at the house, David, Deb, or really anyone who was close, would ring the gamelan—which is similar to a xylophone—to announce that dinner was ready. I always loved hearing it, because unlike the usual rush or dread of making and eating dinner I feel at home, it felt like a celebration of another meal we got to share together as a family. That being said, it was only fitting that on our last day in Hawaii, we were woken up not by the sun or the birds or an alarm, but by the gamelan.

The previous day had been a long one, and we were all worn out. We mosied up to the kitchen at different paces, at varying levels of awake, sad and happy all at the same time.

Sandy and George had early flights while the rest of us were leaving in the evening. So, we took each other’s hands, joining together as a family for one last time, feeling grateful, loved and understood by one another in a way that no one outside the circle would ever truly understand.

I packed up my things, already feeling a certain level of separation anxiety from the routine we’d acclimated to over the last week. I wondered what it would be like to go back to the “real world.” Would it be the same, would I be the same? And though I knew a surface glance would suggest, “yes,” I knew better. For just as our cliff jump had encouraged a new way to jump, and our vision boards created a new way to dream, a shift back into “reality” would provide nothing short of a new opportunity to live. I would take what I learned, both about others, from others, and within and about myself, and I would use it to break the barriers that have held onto me so tightly. I would tear down the walls that locked me between expectation and anxiety and build new skyscrapers of determination and possibility.

And when I got home, and people asked me about my trip, asked me what it was like to go on one of “Alison’s Adventures”, I’d look at them with a smile, knowing that while the adventure had her name on it, and her blueprints beneath it, we’d all made it our own, and we’d all carry it forward from here.

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I Spent 48 hours in Hawaii, and then I Made it Rhyme.

Woke up at 6 am and ate bowl of cheerios

Hopped on a plane next to a baby that was full of tear-ios

Slept and read and slept and read and watched an on flight film

Slept and read and slept and read and wondered how long until

We landed on the big island and the sun was blazing hot

Got picked up by our bearded friend waving from his parking spot

He drove us to a Pokei shack where I chickened out and bought pork

Ate it atop a concrete wall at the beach and dropped my fork.


Hopped into my swimsuit and stepped into the warm water

Waded past a sea turtle who wouldn’t dare be bothered

By the unsteady feet of me stepping into the tide

Adorned in a scuba mask, with a nasal tone I couldn’t hide

We swam and swam and ooohed and ahhed at the fish that freckled sea floor

We dodged sea urchins and kept our legs workin’ over coral and back to the sea shore


Windows down and breeze strong, we drove to a secret spot

Where we camped on the sand, listening to the band of birds and bugs on the lot

Then the sun set and rose, and I sat with sandy toes hoping to catch glimpse of a dolphin

Hoping they’d stroll up to the sand and I’d say something grand like “Hey Flipper, come here often?”


Our next stop was South Point, and boy what a breezy joint, a cliff not for the squirrelly.

The Southernmost tip of the United States, offering an ocean jump that was surly

Then there was a bakery whose bread was unmistakably the best carbs you’ll ever consume

I devoured a pastry and a chicken sandwich on our way to watch Kilauea plume.

We went to Jaggar Museum and walked through the volcano tubes

Hiked through the forest and across a crater reminiscent of the moon

When the sun went down the breeze picked up and temperatures got low

We bundled up as we walked back to Jagger to watch Kilauea’s plume glow.

Then with a few hours til midnight we thought a burger and fries might tide us over til morning

We drove to a waterfall that stood 80ft tall, beautiful even in the dark evening


Then we crashed into bed but before the pillow caught our head the alarm clock began to shout

2:45 read the clock’s dim light and we were ready for another bout

Of adventure and inspiration that promised shivers and awe

With 30 minutes til sunrise we squinted our tired eyes at the summit of Mauna Kea.

There were oranges and purple and pinks and yellows

There were other groups of freezing, awe stricken Hawaiian fellows.

We snapped photo after photo and crooned wow after wow

Before hopping back in the car realizing it was time to head home now

But not before stopping at one last beach

To lie in the white sand and soak in our final speech

Of Hawaiian culture that surrounded us in the sunlight

Then we boarded our plane, smiles shining for the whole flight.