It seems like there was a time—decades, maybe?—where every sitcom on TV ran a handful of Hawaiian-themed episodes. I know The Brady Bunch did this. The Saved By the Bell crew got summer jobs at the Hawaiian Hide-Away. I think there was a Hawaiian Full House vacation as well.
These episodes always included the same tropes. An exotic island lover for one of the teen castmates. A tone-deaf and probably racist run-in with threatening locals who turned out to be a totally good time. A luau on a beach somewhere.
It's clear now, looking back, that these episodes only existed because the writers wanted their network to pay for a tropical vacation. I don't blame them. If I could convince my clients it would be worth their while to send me to Paris, I'd probably start making some calls tomorrow.
In any event, our 10 days on the Big Island feel very much like a sitcom's tropical break from Stranger's typical four-camera set. We're avoiding the tropes, of course. Neither of us has found an exotic lover. I hope. But in any event, and especially after a year where I sat in my home knitting sweaters no one wants and then occasionally pulling myself in front of my computer to try to figure out what the hell I'm supposed to write about after spending most of my days having staring contests with a dog who was absolutely wishing I'd go back to work, the change in scenery feels refreshing.
After hanging out for five days in Kona under the incredibly unforgiving sun and amid absolutely no shade, we ventured to the other side of the island to find dense jungle dotted with tiny villages. It feels much more like Palau over here, if Palau was up high in some American mountains.
It has rained nearly constantly and it's actually kind of chilly. Our airbnb has a fireplace my very cold husband has run nonstop. We are buried away in the jungle, far from any other human, in a cottage that was built in 1931.
We spend our days hiking around volcanos and forests and then huddle up for our long evenings reading by the fireplace and listening to the rain and jungle sounds outside.
There's a general store about half a mile away where you can buy wine and snacks. There's a Thai restaurant that's open for a couple of hours most days. A few miles down the road is Volcano National Park. If you drive an hour or so in some direction, you can reach a windy beach where waves slam into the south and east parts of the island. It's awe-inspiring, really.
For thousands of miles, there's nothing but ocean. And here we are, staring into it, surprised at how much of a relief it is to feel insignificant.
Anyway, we're just wandering and exploring and snuggling up and reading. I haven't seen Sky this relaxed in years. I'm savoring every second of this.
~It Just Gets Stranger