What would one man do for love? (Hawai'i Edition)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

To anyone who really knows me (or even reads this blog), it should come as no surprise that I was planning my honeymoon long before I started planning my wedding. I was never one of those little girls who fantasized about big white fairy-tale weddings (although ironically I sort of got one). Instead, I dreamed of backpacking Europe with friends or going on African safari with my future husband and kids. In recent years, when the possibility of marriage became more of a reality, I started investigating destination weddings, and Hawaiian weddings in particular. Despite my fantasies of a ceremony on a white-sand beach framed by palm trees (cliched, but beautiful), eventually I had to accept that getting married in Hawai'i was Not Going to Happen. Too many people balked at the idea of not being able to attend (family mostly), and I knew I couldn't ask people to pay $1000 a plane ticket to watch me get married in my dream location.

So instead we chose Disney. It was a compromise--a destination without being too far for most of our guests to drive, yet far enough away that only the people who really wanted to be there would make the trip. (Plus the added bonus of having someone else do all the work/coordinating for me!) So immediately I started thinking about Hawai'i as a honeymoon destination.

Here was my rationale:
1) It's December. It's cold. That eliminates so many places we could honeymoon (such as Europe) because I hate the cold. I already live in the frozen tundra; why would I want to honeymoon there?
2) The Caribbean is great in December, but we've BTDT (been there, done that). How many cruises have we taken down there already? Several. We've done the Yucatan, we've done Central America, we've done the Bahamas, Jamaica, and the Lesser Antilles. What's left? The Dutch ABCs? Sure, we haven't been to Aruba, Bonaire, or Curacao, but let's face it--it's more of the same. We'll go one day, but for our honeymoon? Not special enough.
3) What about southern Europe? For awhile T.J. got it in his head that we should take a southern European cruise. You know, Spain, Canary Islands, Morocco, maybe Tunisia (if it's safe there now). I think he was just trying to make me happy because he knows how much I love Europe and want to do a European cruise. But none of the major (American-affiliated) cruise lines run itineraries in the winter, and the European cruise companies we checked out all had major negatives--mainly the number of Americans complaining about how many people were smoking on board and how you can't escape it, even in your cabin. Since T.J. and I can't stand the smell of cigarette smoke, spending our honeymoon trapped in a moving box with thousands of smokers didn't sound appealing.
4) A lot of people I know opt for smaller, more intimate honeymoons. Renting a cabin in the Smoky Mountains, or a condo on the Gulf Coast. But I grew up in those places. I'm the kind of person who says, screw the wedding, let's blow it all on the honeymoon. (And oh, did I ever.) A honeymoon is a once-in-a-lifetime thing (you hope, anyway), so why would I do something I've done a hundred times before? The same goes for a Disney honeymoon. A lot of Disney brides (most Disney brides, I think) opt for a Disney-moon, staying another week or two after the wedding. But considering how many times I've been to Disney in my life...(pretty much the only places we vacationed growing up were the Smokies and Disney)...that just wasn't an option for me. (Although we kind of got a mini-moon at Disney, since we vacationed there for a few days after the wedding.)

So if I've ruled out the Caribbean, all of Europe, anywhere remotely cold, and anyplace I've ever been before, what does that leave?

(And also Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, and the Seychelles, but let's be realistic here....)

I loved this antique-looking map so much I bought it in postcard, magnet, and wall poster form while I was there.
Anyone who's ever traveled with me before knows that when I learn I'm going to an exciting new place, my goal immediately becomes SEE ALL THE THINGS! My traveling motto is "I can sleep when I get home," and I will run you ragged trying to see every museum, landmark, literary site, wad of gum, giant ball of yarn, Sasquatch footprint a place is famous for. I will make sure you (or I, if you aren't ready to leave early enough) try every renowned ice cream, steak, chocolate bar, coffee, or local fruit hailed by tourists and locals alike, and I comb through guidebooks and travel websites trying to find the most out-of-the-way, must-see things to see and do. 

Fortunately, T.J. has become accustomed to this and knows to just go with it. (See "clipboard of fun" reference in Tuesday's London blog.) So when I said I not only wanted to go to Hawai'i for our honeymoon, but that I also wanted to do a seven-day cruise of the islands (because HELLO, if I'm going all the way to Hawai'i, I have to see the Napali Coast/Maui whales/Big Island volcano erupting/North Shore surfers), he was okay with it. He was even okay with postponing the honeymoon for a couple of weeks after the wedding just so we could do this particular cruise, and he didn't even panic when he saw how ridiculous the price of the plane tickets would be for us to fly out around New Year's (over $1000). He was even okay when he saw how expensive a balcony stateroom would be on this particular cruise (he always insists on a balcony room) because I explained that doing any other Hawai'i cruise (Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Princess) would require leaving out of Vancouver, Ensenada, or Tahiti and we'd be at sea at least five days. NCL is the only cruise line that leaves and returns to Honolulu with no days at sea (only beautiful, blissful days on the four major islands), and was therefore our only option for a Hawaiian cruise. 

So when do you think he started to panic? Was it when I told him that I wanted to do a twenty-eight mile bike ride down a mountain notorious for its switchbacks, or that I wanted to hike around the world's most active volcano? Was it when I told him I wanted to do a caged snorkel with sharks in Oahu? 


It was when I said that the thing I wanted to do most, the thing I had dreamed about since the first time I saw a picture of the Napali Coast, was to take a helicopter tour of Kauai.

Don't YOU want to take a helicopter tour of Kauai after seeing this picture?
You have to remember, my poor DH is no fan of heights, and even though he's done some impressive and scary things for me before (such as climbing to the top of Ek-Balam and ziplining through a Belizean rainforest), he's also sworn he won't do those things again. 

Ek-Balam. Can't really blame him on this one. Over a hundred steep, crumbling steps with no handrail? Even I was a little queasy climbing down! 
See how happy he looks up in the treetops? And yet he has refused to go ziplining with me every time I've asked him since then.
And just when he got used to the idea of being a thousand feet off the ground in a glass bubble and checked the safety records of local companies, I dropped another bombshell on him. If I was going to be flying over some of the most gorgeous scenery in the world, I wanted to make sure that my pictures honored that. And the best way to get gorgeous pictures without worrying about sun glares and reflections on windows? Fly with the doors off, of course!

So my sweet, wonderful husband, who fears heights more than he fears anything else, agreed that on his honeymoon--the time he had always imagined being blissfully relaxed and happy with no worries in the world--he would brave a small, four-person, doors-off helicopter just to make me happy. I'm pretty sure he spent the rest of the year (and especially the week leading up to the flight) a nervous wreck, but he did it--he flew in that helicopter with me. (Spoiler alert: He loved every minute of it.)

Over the next week or so, I'll be writing about our Hawaiian adventures and sharing with you a few of the thousands of pictures we came back with. First up will be our introduction to Honolulu and our time swimming/being shaken sick in an open-water cage surrounded by sharks (video included). But for now I'll leave you with just a couple of pictures to whet your appetite for things to come. Aloha!


In the next few posts you can expect:

Fishies! Lots of fishies! (Or in this case, a school of yellow tang.)
Hula dancers! Shaking their stuff on the dance floor.
Magnificent sunrises! (Or in this case, dawn. You'll have to wait until my Maui post to see the actual sunrise.)


Edmund LaHouse January 12, 2012 at 9:52 PM  

Love your blog....so much humor. You have done so many things that so many people just dream of. You never accept no for an answer. And you are always looking for the next adrenaline rush. You seem to be living a truly blessed, exciting, and wonderful life. Have to say I am a little jealous! Cant wait to read about your next post about Hawai'i!

Cody Austin Marschalk January 12, 2012 at 11:34 PM  

Can't wait to see your videos and pictures. Sounds amazing, and yeah, I totally want that antique looking postcard :D Legit!

Lacy Marschalk January 13, 2012 at 7:53 AM  

Awww, thanks, Ed! I really appreciate that. Glad you are enjoying the posts!

Little brother, I need your new address so I can send fun goodies I got you (nothing big, so don't get too excited) and that "other" present we discussed.

Tawnysha Greene January 13, 2012 at 3:17 PM  

This is so beautiful! Sounds like you had an amazing time!

Moka B. January 13, 2012 at 11:19 PM  

You totally live an adventurous life! At least I get some vicarious action through your blogs. :-) Looking forward to the coming posts!

Carolyn Kate January 14, 2012 at 2:28 AM  

Wow, wish I was on your honeymoon with you! That sounds amazing (except maybe the bike ride). I'm so glad that you were able to have such a great wedding and honeymoon!

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