A Year of Gifts
Come along to the tropics with me. Close your eyes and feel warm sand between your toes, taste the salty breeze on your face and soak in the warm sunshine on your shoulders. Inhale air perfumed with a heady combination of tropical blooms and ocean seas. Hear the crash of waves and screech of gulls.
Where has your mind taken you?
My mind takes me back to Maui. It was a gift of the tropics for our family. The adventure began early with planning and the excitement of keeping it a secret from the kids. The sheer joy and shock on their faces when they opened beach-themed ornaments and travel books for Christmas that year made it all worth it, and we hadn’t even left yet.
Heed the sage advice to collect experiences, not things. Some say travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.
In Maui, we experienced the raw power and massive beauty of killer whales in their natural habitat. We snorkeled on Kapalua Beach. When our eleven-year-old struggled against the strong current and couldn’t figure out how to breathe through a snorkel, a kind woman named Nancy Drew stepped in and helped, saving the day. We mustered up our courage and went on a zip line adventure, riding on cables among the tree tops. The day was February 29, 2012, leap day. I can’t make this stuff up!
Some afternoons were spent lounging on the beach, soaking up rays and searching for sea shells. We spent an evening sitting cross-legged on the ground at our dinner table, mere feet from the performers at an authentic luau in Lahaina. I still feel the pulse of the music and see the beauty of the bright flowers and costumes.
Even after returning from our trip, our adventures stay with us. A mere whiff of the scent of coconut takes me back. I treat myself to coconut scented lotion or shampoos, especially when the snow is falling and the tropics are far away. If I want an extra special treat, I find a coffee shop that can make me a dark chocolate, coconut latte. I didn’t even like coconut before our trip.
If you give yourself the gift of travel, take lots of pictures so you can go back to those special places anytime, forever. As I write these words, a photo album is at my elbow, giving life and color to my memories. It has only been six years since our trip, but the kids have changed so much in that short amount of time. Take a little time and get the photos off your phone or camera and into books. You’ll appreciate your visual diary of your travels for years to come.
You never know when you will draw upon memories and experiences from your travels. The tree outside our hotel room was home to hundreds of birds and their early morning squawking served as our daily, unwanted alarm clock. This vivid memory weaved its way into my first novel, years after I experienced it.
I realize travel is expensive and it takes time to plan and then actually go on a trip. But there’s no better way to spend your time and I’d gladly drive my old car for one more year in exchange for another week in paradise.
After all, some of the best memories are made in flip flops.
It’s a wonderful world out there, take the time to explore it. Kim
Kimberly Diede Author
Hello everyone and welcome to my blog! My name is Kimberly Diede and I'm a fiction author and family girl. When time permits, I am happiest with a great cup of coffee in one hand and a book in the other. I love to alternate between reading and writing. Winters here can be long, dark and cold. Summers are unpredictable, lovely and always too short. Every season of the year, as in every season of life, is a gift. Let's celebrate it together!