We had a taste of paradise again: a two-week sneak preview of our former life, and our (hopefully) someday-life-to-be. Using airline miles and a tent, we spent two cheap weeks camping on the island of Kaua’i, introducing our Pacific-conceived baby to the best ocean on earth.
He liked it. I could tell by the fistfuls of sand he shoved into his mouth, and the excited shiver that ran down his chubby legs when the waves washed over them. He laughed more in the shadow of the Hawaiian pali, epic surf crashing mere meters away.
So did I. It was a bittersweet vacation, though. The island reminded us of what we had last year, and what we miss by living in a landlocked northern mountain state. Our feet look better with sand around the edges. My hair looks better salty. Rob is happier shirtless. Talon likes living with sandy ears.
Life is easier when it’s simple, whether in the mountains or on the sea. It feels like there’s an easily defined purpose when you plan your meals around one pot, and when you plan your day around the movement of sun and moon and tides. We had a tiny rental car, one small stove, two plates, a couple of outfits, an old sarong to sit on. A long-time friend who spent a week with us, and a new friend we met sailing who popped up unexpectedly. It was all we needed. More, even.
I know it’s tempting to confuse vacation with real life, and tried to infuse some perspective during our trip. For instance, it’s hard to work without electrical outlets to charge my computer. It’s hard to sleep when it’s blowing 20 knots and raining loudly on our thin nylon tent. It’s hard to get comfortable without a chair in sight and sand in your crack. It’s hard to figure out another cooked-by-headlamp, dried-goods-only meal when all you really want is a hot burger and a cold beer.
But, to me, those are still minor inconveniences. A small price to pay for paradise. They make life real, vacation or not.
I don’t know where our family will end up, in one year or ten. Kaua’i inspired me to start planning for the next long-term adventure, though, which will likely include fringing reefs and crashing waves, along with plenty of simple living in tents or boats. Meanwhile, it was good to feel the familiar Pacific breeze on my face, and her foamy waves on my toes.