Our first few days in Kauai have been awesome and have zoomed by way too fast. Ever since we arrived and picked up our muscle car – a minivan (not our choice) – we've been running around and taking in as much of the island as possible. Since we've had such a favorable first impression, balancing everything has not been easy. Don't forget... It's not all fun and games; we have to keep our brains focused on work so that we can maintain our NVR life. With all that in mind, we've settled into a nice pattern and are beginning to find our daily groove.
First things first: dumbed-down coffee, work, mountains (and power walkers).
We're usually up very early to brew a big pot of coconut-caramel-Kauai coffee (save your comments) to fuel us as we tackle some work projects. The enticing surroundings tug relentlessly at our attention though. Our place offers an expansive view of a jagged mountain range, which is fun to watch come to life. Closer to the ground, we eye early-morning power walkers striding along the path next to the golf course just across the way.
We know that the more we stay focused on work, the better off we'll be later in the day. Even so, we do try to squeeze in a morning exercise session so that we can continue to eat as much shave ice (with ice cream) as we like without breaking through the chairs on which we sit. It's all the better if the exercise can double as a mini-activity. Hiking is high up on the list and we've found an incredible run that takes in some of the areas most stunning vistas. A great way to stay fit and to experience the island.
Next comes the really fun part: exploring the island in search of an awesome beach.
We're grateful to be location independent professionals (no, we won't say LIPS) doing work that we are crazy about. We'd be lying, though, if we didn't admit to getting a bit stir crazy and ready to leave work behind by late morning. So, after accomplishing a lot of to-dos, it's time to head out for some island adventure.
A couple of days ago, our big goal of the day was setting out to find a beach within walking distance of our rental condo. Not just any beach - we wanted the whole picture perfect shebang. The Ultimate Kauai Guidebook – which is turning out to live up to its name – pointed us towards one such beach entered via an unmarked, hard to find path near some tennis courts down the road. Honestly, you'd never know that the path leads to a beach; it looks like a service walkway.
The crazy path, complete with steps, non-steps and ropes, leads down to a find of a beach called Hideaway. A nice coarse-sanded beach with opportunities for swimming, snorkeling and killer views. We're not huge beach guys, but this is the kind of place that nearly anyone would enjoy spending a day at. If we thought we could manage it on that treacherous path, we'd cart down a day's supply of food and fun. On this particular afternoon, we were content with a couple of books and an i-pod.
Some tips for constructing your perfect day.
A day in a wonderful location can be anything you want it to be. If you're like us, you might tend to get a bit overwhelmed when you arrive at a new place and find yourself trying to figure out where to start. Because of our NVR lifestyle, our perfect day is admittedly a bit different than most (especially that morning part). Even so, we have to take a mindful approach to how we construct a typical day's activities in a new place. Here are four quick pointers:
- To narrow down the possibilities, focus on things that resonate with you. We talk to far too many travelers who do things just because they think they should. If you don't like ____ (whatever) then don't do it just because it's listed in a guidebook.
- But... Do have a sense of adventure. Challenge yourself to step outside of your comfort zone. Consider the tour recommendation from that person on the plane. Eat poi if you've always wanted to try it.
- Allow space for unexpected discoveries and activities. We find that a loose plan is helpful, but we always try to leave room for wildcards.
- Don't try to cut corners so that you can squeeze everything in. Overbooking is almost always mad-making. An alternative might be to decide to make a return visit to destinations you love.
What advice do you have for constructing an awesome day in a new destination?