The south east coast of Oahu.
Morphing into a (temporary) morning person in Hawaii (due to jet lag) led to many early morning hikes to bamboo forests and waterfalls. Manoa Falls and Lulumahu were 2 favorites.
Kailua is a mostly residential area with only one commercial district on the main road. The neighborhood seemed to be quite a tight community, every person I passed on morning hikes said a genuine hello which as a cold Bostonian, I found startling -- but also nice.
Strolling back and forth to the beach each day, palm trees lined every road and I trailed behind snapping photos of the bright flowers, neon sunsets and tropical houses. I eased right into the calm, tropical vibe of Kailua and now want to go back ASAP.
Kailua was a sleepy beach town until Obama blew up it's spot with his annual vacations while he was in office. He was born in Honolulu, but Kailua became his (like San Clemente became Nixon's) during his Presidency.
After visiting, I can certainly understand why he chose it, as the beaches in Kailua are -- hands down -- the most beautiful beaches I've ever seen in my entire life. And I've seen some beaches.
Usually after arriving on a beach, I take a minute to enjoy the scenery before:
a) jumping in the water
b) diving into a book or
c) falling asleep for a nap
....but after setting up on Kailua Beach I just sat there and looked around, in awe, for a solid 60-90 minutes. It's just astonishingly beautiful. These photos don't even do it justice, they're legit garbage compared to what it really looks like in real life.
Kailua Beach sits right next to Lanikai Beach. Both have the softest white sand and water so blue it brings the Leader of The Free World back every year.
Go to Duke’s for the breakfast buffet. Enjoy an all you can eat breakfast for $18 while gazing at the ocean and thinking about the omelette station.
Take a nap on the beach.
Go for a swim.
Get a tan.
Drink a Mai Tai.
On the South Shore of Oahu, Sandy Beach is a lovely sunrise spot with a powerful shore break that made for good body surfing. Getting clobbered by waves is always an effective way to wake up.
Post-swim, I'd drink a cold brew provided by the rustic road-side coffee cart and watch photographers with massive lenses (in the water!) trying to get the perfect shot of a barrel.
Sandy Beach is a great way to start the day.
In September, I traveled to Hawaii for a wedding and spent 2 weeks exploring the island of Oahu. I found Hawaii to be so excellent that it made me prouder to be an American (which can be tough at times, these days), knowing this beautiful tropical gem is part of my country.
For the first 2 nights, we stayed in an Honolulu AirBnB surrounded by misty mountains in the Aina Haina Valley. Jetlagged, we would wake up at sunrise and get an early hike in before hitting the beach.
I liked Hawaii so much it actually made me a morning person.
I was very happy to be back in my neighborhood this summer.
(From my phone.)
Most of my 3 month stint in New Zealand this year consisted of EditMate work (pitch meetings, editing videos, cursing NZ's archaic wifi when uploading and downloading said videos) but I did make sure to step away from my laptop and get out and enjoy NZ's epic landscape.
Here's a few photos from a day hiking the Mercer Bay Loop:
It's one of the oldest settled areas in the Waitakere Ranges and has a tragic past. Maori folklore says a Maori Chief's beautiful daughter drifted off from here after mourning her husband who got swept off to the ocean from a giant wave that hit the cliff.
Since then, multiple women have gone missing from this cliff (one just this past March) only adding to the Bay's haunted legend.
New Zealand in green, blue and black + white.
From my phone.