I picked up the latest issue of Hawaii Magazine yesterday, and my imagination was once again ignited for all of the dreams I have of Hawaii. I have a pretty long bucket list, but I at least half of the items on my bucket list are things I hope (and plan!) to do in Hawaii someday.
So here is my bucket list for the Hawaiian Islands:
1. Attend the lantern floating festival in Oahu. It happens every year on Memorial Day weekend at Ala Moana Beach Park in Honolulu, and is a ritual for remembering loved ones who have passed on. Their names are written on a paper lanterns and floated out to sea. What a beautiful way to remember someone, and what a wonderful thing it would be to participate in one day.
2. Take a tour of the Hali'imaile Pineapple Plantation in Maui where the world famous Maui Gold pineapples are grown, and then eat a Maui Gold pineapple then and there, of course. They are supposed to be the sweetest, most perfect pineapples in all the world. I am in a state of bliss just thinking about it!
3. Visit Papakolea, the green sand beach in Ka Lae, on the Big Island. Supposedly created by olivine crystals that form from cooling lava, this green sand beach is the only known green sand beach in the world. Word has it that it's no easy feat getting there - a long winding drive, and then a two mile hike in - but I think it would be worth it.
4. Go on a tropical flower photo odyssey. There are more rare and endangered tropical flowers and plants in the Hawaiian Islands than anywhere else on Earth. I learned this while working as a tour guide at Waimea Falls Park in Oahu back in 2001. We had a collection of more rare tropical botanicals than anywhere else, according to the head botanist there at the time.
I would love to return to Waimea Falls Park one of these days to visit, and also really want to see the storied Allerton Gardens in Kauai.
5. Visit an orchid farm on the Big lsland like this one in Waimea, Orchid People of Hawaii.
6. Watch ukuleles being handmade at the Ko'aloha Ukulele Factory in Oahu.
7. Attend at least one Merrie Monarch Festival in my lifetime. The Merrie Monarch is an annual event in Hilo, on the Big Island. Dozens of the best hulaus from throughout the South Pacific come together to compete in hula every March. Mark my words, I will get there some day!
8. Attend Jack Johnson's Kokua Festival. I love Jack J, but I also love most of his best buds, who often play at his festivals. Past participants have included Eddie Vedder, Ben Harper, and G Love. Can it get better than hearing those guys all playing together in Hawaii?
Apparently, the festival didn't happen this year. Jack was on a world tour, and on top of that he was busy raising millions of dollars for the tsunami victims in Japan. What a great guy. I think his foundation, Kokua Hawaii Foundation, is definitely worth contributing to.