I have made it back from Hawaii, and I thought Id split up my adventure into 3 separate posts for the 3 separate islands I visited. First Island was Oahu. It was an adventure just getting there. We boarded our first flight that was taking us to LA. We were getting ready to take off when we pulled off the runway to wait a while due to traffic in the air to LA. We finally made it to LA, and boarded the next plane to continue to Hawaii. We finally got settled and were told we had to switch planes because our tail skid was having issues and the radio wasn’t working, and that was important to have going over the Pacific. We switched planes and finally took off. When we landed in Oahu, we had to wait on the runway and wait for Air Force One to take off. How cool is that? We made it to Waikiki where we were staying and the view from our hotel room was gorgeous. Our first adventure on this island was a Welcome Orientation. At this orientation the guy said Hawaiians aren’t round by accident. They don’t eat until they are full, they eat until they are tired. That’s why Hawaiian shirts are fitted at the shoulders and lose around the belly. After the orientation we went to a Jewelry shop. Here Anna and I got to pick an Oyster and get a pearl. So cool. We then hurried back to the hotel to get ready for our surf lessons. I was so nervous, and was about to back out, but I am so glad I didn’t. It was a lot of fun. I was actually able to stand up a few times. I did crash into 2 different people. Oops! The water was so blue, and warm. The next morning we had our tour of Pearl Harbor. The museum its self was smaller than I was expecting, but still super cool. We were unable to go onto the USS Arizona Memorial due to constructional damage which was a bummer, but they took us as close as they could by boat. I learned that the USS Nevada was the only battleship to get underway during the Pearl Harbor Attack. After being hit with one torpedo and at least 6 bombs, the USS Nevada sunk to the harbor floor. Luckily in a shallow part of the harbor, so in two months it was able to be salvaged. Lastly, we toured the USS Missouri, “Mighty Mo”. Missouri was the last battleship commissioned by the United States and is best remembered as the site of the surrender of the Empire of Japan which ended World War II. I wish we had more time to explore the ship because you could spend all day on one of those. On our way back to the hotel, our tour guide took us through another town where you can only own property if youre at least 50 percent Hawaiian. In this area was a beautiful cemetery, that is just like the Arlington Cemetery, but smaller. We passed really old cemetery’s too. Oahu was a lot of fun and full of adventure. It kept us busy the whole time we were there. Also, I apologize for the pictures. I would get so wrapped up and focused in what I was doing I would forget to take pictures. So they aren’t the greatest
Next stop was Maui. Maui has to be my favorite Island by far. It was so pretty and, not as crowded as Oahu. We arrived in Maui, and on this island our first adventure was getting our rental car and figuring out how to get to our hotel. I was not allowed to navigate because I got us lost, so Anna was the navigator. We had to hurry to our hotel because we had a Luau to get to. I was excited because I love the Polynesian culture and I was excited for their dances. Especially the war dances. It was a lot of fun and the food was delicious or as Hawaiians say “ono”. I was really trying to learn how to pronounce their streets. I thought it was cool! I learned every vowel had to be pronounced. Anyways, the next morning we had our helicopter tour. We flew over the whole island of Maui. We saw waterfalls, what they consider the desert part of Maui, the rainforest part of Maui, where 5 species of sea turtles like to hang out, and the rock they filmed for Jurassic park. Later that afternoon, we met up with some family friends who happened to be there at the same time. We hung out and had an amazing dinner. Probably the most fanciest dinner I have ever had. They coordinate your napkin to the color shirt you are wearing. The rest of our time on Maui we spent figuring out what to do, boogie boarding at the beach or walking through the shops. Boogie boarding was a lot of fun, but the beach was rocky so it was kind of painful when we wiped out. We got some delicious shaved ice, and later watched the sunset. The sunset was breathtaking. I wish we had watched it every night. That concludes our time on Maui.
Lastly, the Big Island. This was my second favorite because my Aunt Holly and her family live there. I also got lucky enough to be there at the same time my Aunt Lindsey and her family were there. We were so busy on this Island and I am so glad we were. We had a road trip planned the day after we arrived on the island. Our first stop was beautiful! I don’t remember the name of it, but I will have the picture. The next stop was Akaka Falls. It was probably the most beautiful waterfall ever. The mini hike had many stairs, so it was exhausting to get there, but worth it! Then I believe our next stop was Hilo for some ice cream! Next, was the black sand beach! The sand was not as soft as I was expecting it to be. It was a little painful. There were also 4 green sea turtles hanging out on the black sand beach. The last thing on our road trip agenda was to see the glow of the volcano. This was the coolest thing ever. We tried so hard to get closer, and we did but we were not high enough to get a good view. The trees were to tall. If we got any closer, I am sure we would have been turned away. It was awesome! The drive back to the hotel was so stressful. I drove through fog for the very first time in my life. It was so freaky not being able to see, but hey, now I have some experience. If i ever have to drive through fog again, I am prepared. Everyone made it back safely, and the next morning was snorkeling! Anna and I boarded this boat and we had about an our boat ride to the first snorkeling spot where the dolphins were. We got our flippers and snorkels on and jumped in. I was panicking. It was cool for a split second. Seeing the dolphins everywhere, there had to be about a hundred of them. You could even hear them talking to each other. I ended up having a panic attack, and had to be swam back to the boat. My poor friend Anna handled my panic attack well. Once I was back on the boat I felt so much better, and I enjoyed the rest of that experience on the boat😅. I loved being able to watch Anna and the other people have fun. After, we spent a few hours at the beach with my family. It was the best beach ever! Soft sand and no rocks! Next, Anna and I got a piercing and tattoo. That was a fun experience. Later that night, we met my Aunt Holly and Aunt Lindsey for dinner. We had a very busy day, but it was full of fun. That pretty much wraps up that island. I am so thankful I got this opportunity. It was so much fun, and it was all possible because of Jillian Williams and her wonderful foundation (Live n Leap). Thank you Jillian for choosing me as the first recipient! You are one awesome person! Also, thank you to Anna for experiencing this with me! She made it so much more fun.
It is so hard to pick a favorite experience because I feel like they were all my favorites for different reasons. If I really had to choose though, it would have to be surfing lessons and road tripping around the big island with my family. Surfing was very challenging, but it was a lot of fun and rewarding. Shows me how far I have come since my last day of chemo, when I could barely even make it to the bathroom.
I took my best friend Anna with me. It was a pretty easy decision to decide who I would take. We have been friends since we were in 6th grade. We were next door neighbors for about 3 years, and have remained best friends ever since. My hair started to fall out pretty quickly after my first round of chemo. Finally, after putting it off for days, we decided to shave my head. Probably just a few days after shaving my head, I get a picture from Anna with no hair. I had some other friends, including my dad, shave their head for me, but Anna was the only girl. It takes a lot more for a girl to shave their head, so it meant so much to me.
Hawaii was so awesome. After being diagnosed, I had a new love for life that I had never had before. Being in Hawaii just kind of reminded me of that. I just felt so lucky to have the opportunity to be in such a beautiful fun place. I know there are a lot of people who aren’t as fortunate. I am so blessed to have been given that trip. It was a peaceful place to be.