After our extended stateside visit to Philadelphia in the fall, described in a prior posting, in December we headed back to the San Francisco Bay Area for the Holiday Season.
One of the beauties of being vagabonds is that we are free to live for months at a time near family when needed, whether in Philadelphia or in California. A family visit is another destination
A Blessed Event
Our main purpose in returning home was actually something even more special than Christmas or New Year’s, or any other holiday.
Brian’s daughter Katie and her husband Chris were expecting a new baby boy in mid-December.
Their first son, 2-year-old Benson, was about to become a big brother!
Our new grandson, Jackson, was born on December 14, healthy, content, and right on schedule.
We visited Katie, Chris and baby Jackson in the hospital the morning after the delivery. What a beautiful little baby!
Later that same morning, after we’d left, Chris brought Benson to the hospital room, for the four of them to get acquainted.
After a few pleasant minutes together, Benson decided he had had enough. Benson said to Katie, “now put the baby down.”
The Holiday Season was a delight for us. It passed very quickly.
Time to Hit the Road Again
So in January, with everybody stabilized, and our house lease renewed for a second year, we headed back on the road, this time heading west.
Yes, another full year of travel lies ahead for the vagabonds!
Our goal was to spend February and March in New Zealand and Australia. It is the end of their summer, schools are back in session, and the weather is still fine.
A joy of vagabonding is taking our time to get to our next destination. Rather than start off with a fifteen hour flight, we found a cruise that was scheduled to depart from Honolulu and sail for 24 days to Auckland New Zealand aboard Oceania’s Insignia.
So our first destination for year two – beautiful Honolulu!
It felt great to be back on the road!
We visited Honolulu before the cruise to enjoy the city and to celebrate Brian’s 61st birthday in Hawaii.
We were originally thinking we might spend two weeks in Hawaii before the cruise, until we started to price accommodations.
Yikes! A longer stay was outside the budget, so we settled on a short four-day visit.
It was a relaxing four days. The weather was glorious. We did very little, mostly hanging out along Waikiki Beach for some fantastic Hawaiian sunsets and some restocking for year two.
Somehow, as a way to celebrate Brian’s birthday, we went out and bought Frank new clothes for the cruise. Yes, it was Brian’s birthday, and yet it was Frank who got outfitted with a new tropical-style wardrobe.
However, as you can see in the picture, Brian was quite happy getting pineapple creme brulee and a good lei for his birthday.
Our hotel was located on the far end of Waikiki Beach, in a quiet area some distance away from the larger hotels with the big crowds.
We could (and did) walk among the throngs of tourists every day during our visit to Honolulu. But we enjoyed retreating back to our hotel.
From our balcony, we had an enviable view of Diamond Head.
We felt so happy being there in Honolulu, back together again!
We did get some exercise in too. The hotel offered free yoga in a park next to the beach early each morning. The sun would come up over Diamond Head just about the time when class was over. It was perfect.
Exercise is important when traveling, yet often hard to arrange.
Yoga under the trees each morning, in the park next to our hotel, was a nice solution.
We also hiked to the top of Diamond Head one sunny afternoon. Turns out that behind that iconic peak is a huge volcanic crater, and some great views of Honolulu.
On the long walk back down the road from Diamond Head, we discovered a part of Honolulu very different from touristy Waikiki Beach — just a normal Honolulu neighborhood.
This seemed like the kind of place President Obama might have lived during his formative years in Honolulu.
We bought Hawaiian-style takeout food for lunch at a little stand along the road.
Brian got a haircut in a local barber shop.
It was a very pleasant afternoon, away from the crowds of tourists down at the beach.
Vagabonds, back on the road…loving it and one another.