We had the most amazing wedding anyone could ever dream for. From the entertainers, to the venue, our friends and family, everyone gifted us with their services, which made it the wedding of our dreams. It even rained on that special day; which even as a little girl, I always hoped it would rain on my wedding day as sign of God's joy. Two days later would begin our first trip for the rest of our lives, our honeymoon.
We wanted this trip to be as unique and fulfilling as our personal journeys have been. We knew that by allowing our family and friends to share this moment with us, it would be. Before Traveler's Joy, there was not a link that connected your family to your new journey as a fresh new family addition.
Early on in our engagement we decided that we would travel together. We planned to start with the states before embarking into new territories, so naturally we chose Hawaii for our honeymoon getaway.
We decided to call our honeymoon "Love Tour 2012" since it marked the first significant chapter in our lives moving forward that will end with nothing less than the love we have now.
This would be a "first time trip" for both us, which made this choice that much more special. Our flight was the longest either of us had ever taken. For a total amount $5,579 (including flight), we were off to Hawaii for seven days and six nights in paradise.
We landed on the island of Oahu on July 17, 2012. We were fortunate to have met a local on our flight, her name just happened to be “Love Shell." She gave us a list of activities the locals do and her number just in case we needed anything. And she even laid us, a Hawaiian tradition when arriving on the island.
The rest of the day was spent exploring the land. Like any new place, you have to be familiar with where you are. We stayed in a vacation rental that was approximately a five-minute walk from Waikiki beach. We had an amazing view of the mountains on one side, with restaurants, shops, and the beach on the other. It was the perfect choice! We were able enjoy our privacy, yet still be in the middle of it all.
The next morning we had a two-hour commute to the north part of the island and a full day packed with activities at the Polynesian Cultural Center. This place was truly amazing. We even recommended this activity to our friends for their honeymoon. Our tour guide, a student from Russia, was so great and knowledgeable. He was very honest and accommodating. We learned just as much about Russia as we did about the wonderful island of Hawaii.
During the day, each different culture sect had its own live shows and historic display that we enjoyed and learned about. We learned of the weapons, dances, songs and traditions all diverse yet all harmonious to this beautiful island. When night fell it was time for an authentic Hawaiian luau. Here we ate an open feast and were also invited to dance on stage a traditional dance where the Center announced us as newlyweds. Can you say romantic? The night ended with a live fire show "Ha: Breath of Life." It was an amazing live dramatization performed by the students of the cultural center.
Now that we had a chance to immerse ourselves in the culture, we were ready to tackle the island head on. Today we had our Hawaii shark encounters tour to swim with sharks. Another two-hour drive to the north island then a 15-minute boat ride dumped us right into the middle of the ocean in a shark cage. This was both terrifying and beautiful at the same time. To see such huge creatures up close and personal was nothing you can describe. We were literally dangling in front of these ocean beasts as they circled the cage ready to devour prey. With our adrenaline sky rocketing the closer the sharks came. We loved every minute of this indescribable experience.
This time on our drive back to our stay we drove slowly, enjoying the view and passing many authentic localities, including an old post office that still had its original structural design from the early 1900s. At the outdoor eatery "Cafe Haleiwa", we decided to catch a meal and get some well-deserved rest. Tomorrow brought a new adventure; our rainforest trek up to the Manoa Falls.
We woke early to take a morning jog along the sea wall while being hypnotized by the view of the mountains in the distance. Following our jog, we called a rainforest tour guide who arrived in a jiffy along with eight other tourists eager to explore the mountains that day. We were warned that if we weren't back down the mountain within the allotted time, we would not have a ride back to the south island until the next day. After these instructions, we were off!
It was a steep climb through the rainforest past a popular tourist attraction. Once in the rainforest, the view opened a whole new land. There were many obstacles of nature as we stopped for many photos along the way, each one marking a unique piece of nature never seen. And this was just the beginning.
An incredible journey lay ahead with the Manoa Falls in our sight and hopefully a cool cup of shaved ice when we returned to the tour guide. Once we reached the falls, the view was breathtaking. You look up and see nothing but waterfall. It went on and up for what seemed like miles. Our goal was to get as close to the top as possible. When we got there, both My husband and I admittedly had a feeling of accomplishment. However, as my husband basked in his victory, his ego pumping its chest like King Kong, I happened to look down at my watch and realized that we had just an hour to get back down a mountain which took us the entire afternoon to climb. It was a race back down the mountain, tripping over loose limbs and slipping in puddles. We were covered in mud, out of breath, and exhausted, barely beating the clock. Literally, if we were five minutes later, this story would be much more interesting.
After the previous full days of excursions, we spent the final days of our honeymoon at a slower, more relaxing pace. My husband and I are both romantics so this time was dedicated not to activities but to us. We enjoyed a day at the beach, walking the strip, and a romantic sunset dinner at Bali by the Sea.
The final day before flying home we walked up and down the strip, stopped at many of the local shops and decided to end the “Love Tour 2012” with lunch at the world famous "Rainbow Diner" proclaimed to be President Obama’s favorite restaurant in his home state.
With emotions flying high and our honeymoon coming to an end, it was sad to leave paradise. We knew this was not the end, but simply the most perfect beginning to a wonderful journey into married life.
Thanks to the most important people in our lives, who also introduced us to Traveler's Joy, everyone who contributed to this most special memory, and all for the wonderful gift of the most amazing honeymoon. We love you and cherish you.
Live your life! Love your life!