Return To Paradise

When you live on the east coast, as I do, Hawaii seems very far away. When I was growing up, it was paradise lost, or if not lost at least way out there. The kind of place people went on honeymoon or stopped over for a few days on the way to and from Asia. Which ought to give you an idea of how old I am.

I made my first visit to Hawaii about 20 years ago, when our kids were old enough to be good flyers but young enough to enjoy hours in the pool, ocean, and on the beach, and the unique attractions—like bicycling down the side of a volcano and the mandatory luau—weren’t too un-cool. We spent about a week on the big island and a week on Maui, bunking lavishly in big beautiful resorts as I played a few rounds of golf on spectacular courses. It was a great trip, one we still talk about two decades later.

And that was it for Hawaii for a long time. Until last fall, when work took me for three days to one of the lesser visited islands, Kauai. I’d forgotten how beautiful our 50th state can be, how different in topography and vegetation (not just from the continental U.S. but from island to island), and how even after a full day of flying to get there one begins to decompress as soon as the airplane door opens and that pungent, heavy air hit the lungs. It’s a wonder drug.

And I’m getting ready for another hit.

If you’re reading this, chances are you know that I’m Hawaii-bound with the Golf Road Warriors. We are a very lucky foursome (followed around by our videographer) to be packing, planning, and prepping for a week on Maui. Our itinerary is hardly onerous, starting at the Fairmont Kea Lani—from which we’ll play the courses at Wailea (like the Gold, shown above) and King Kamehameha GC, all new to me—then shifting to the Ritz Carlton Kapalua and the great Kapalua courses (which I played 20 years ago and remember fondly) as well as Kaanapali.

As a good friend of mine likes to put it, my life does not suck.

There are other activities planned, as well, including an outrigger canoe trip and no doubt way too much eating and drinking. (If I remember, anything with a pineapple is good, right?) You are invited to follow along, checking in at this site throughout next week as the other warriors and myself post our observations on the golf and more.

It began to sink in last year, after my return visit, that Hawaii isn’t a one-and-done, that it’s diversity and difference from what most of us are used to earn it more lofty status. You might not care at all, and even have nasty things to say about my most excellent opportunity. But I’m very excited to return, older and with any luck wiser. We shall see.

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