Portrait at the Polynesian Cultural Center

Captured or captivated by the natives?


I’ll be sharing some highlights from my recent trip to Oahu in middle October.

I thought I’d never need to return to Oahu so I was very pleasantly surprised at how I found it during my second visit.

Desiring to make a dream come true for my senior mom, I dove in to plan a whirlwind, week-long trip for her first ever visit. How does a young adult plan a trip for a senior citizen? It takes imagination and web skills.

I searched aplenty and did not find many resources for senior travel in Hawaii. I know millions of them visit but was let down to find lists suggesting they hike tough hills, snorkel, surf and do other extremely difficult physical day trips. Now honestly. Wanting some ‘get real’ from the web and not really finding much, I decided to find things that only required minimal walking with lots of air conditioned riding.

Some seniors swim, golf and do other healthy activities, but my charming travel partner did not. What to do?

I found a great site, Go Visit Hawaii and they had a list called “10 Best Free Activities and Sights on Oahu”. Free? Ten best? Now we were talking!


I culled from this list and with the help of my kamaina (local) host, we did manage to do a lot with minimal or reasonable effort– and often at no cost. This suited my high blood pressure buddy just fine. Easy. Cheap or totally free. What’s not to like for young adult or senior?

This post is not intended to be solely about senior travel, however, since it figured in so strongly in our experience, and since it is so difficult to find good advice for the wealthiest segment of our society, I share for those who may also wonder what to do with mom and dad. These activities are great for most age groups that visit. Who wouldn’t want to see beautiful vistas and inspiring memorials? Sitting on a beach for seven days is too boring for us. We’re full of get up and go.

Since we arrived on a Friday morning I decided to take full advantage of the FREE FIREWORKS at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. Fireworks on Waikiki beach, free?? How magical a first night is that? Good for the flush or the recession-minded.

For info on the fireworks go here: http://www.hiltonhawaiianvillage.com/resort_activities/entertainment_and_events.cfm

And no, this is not a plug for any particular business. I’m including links so you know how to get to these particular places. It makes me happy to think I can share some of the magic that filled our tropical visit.

One can watch the fireworks from many places in Honolulu for free or pay to go to their evening dinner and show that concludes with the pyrotechnic sky displays. My little buddy was too tired from the plane travel and excitement so we watched it from the second story veranda at our lodgings. Perfect. A fireworks show welcoming us with sparkle to Hawaii and no driving involved. Travel buddy was really pleased and went off to bed smiling and quite tickled at not having to “go anywhere”.

Note to self: driving, flying and “getting there” can be hard on those who do not travel well. Good to group things logically by geography and time so things flow efficiently.

It was during the veranda view of my dreamed-of fireworks-on-the-beach that I had to let go of an expectation and either be disappointed or happy. I chose to be happy with how well this worked out. I found satisfaction by accepting the facts in the best light. Drilling down and finding our expectations while travelling is mightily important as it can enlighten us as to why we are annoyed with this change in plan or that delay. Once we know the expectation we held, we can choose to let it go and find the good in the present gift of situation basics. Wanting harmony on our trip, a trip planned with my senior mom’s joy and happiness in mind, not mine, this brief self-inspection right at the outset of the trip was a fantastic gift to the both of us. I wanted this trip to build happy Hawaiian memories for her. Any residuals that overflowed to me, the travel guide, were a bonus and I’d happily take them.

Mindset is so important for travel. One must be aware of it or one can chafe at the slightest things and not really know why. I like to be a happy traveller. I did a lot of adjustments on this trip and it was a huge success. Constantly checking in with oneself and one’s travel partner is a must. Not sermonizing here, just sharing what worked for such a blessed and magical trip. When jetlag and fatigue play in, its best to stay on top of one’s attitude and outlook. Then the beauty of the landscape, seascapes and local color gets in past the filters into the heart of the grateful traveller.

More about the flower-scented trade winds, the five-star food loci and the lush tropics in my next long-winded post.

Thanks for joining me here in my first post. Nice to have you along.

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