For my 28th birthday I convinced Alan to take me to Las Vegas on a cheap weekend jaunt from Southwest. We stayed at Paris, incidentally - and quite strangely - the only hotel I've stayed at on my last three trips to Vegas. I can't remember if we went anywhere for my 29th birthday, but starting with me turning 30 these "it's Becky's birthday, and oh yeah, the end of summer too!" vacations have been on like Donkey Kong!
Today is the first birthday in five years that I'm working. It's weird. Damn timeshare not being available this week. That's okay though, Alan's taking me to dinner tonight at a restaurant I've been wanting to try for awhile. In the meantime, however, I'm listening to Hawaiian music in preparation for our upcoming trip to Kauai. And yeah, I'm looking at past trips. Because hey, if you can't be a narcissist on your birthday, when CAN you?
We didn't use the timeshare for this trip. Instead we got a room at the Prince Hotel down at the far ass end of Waikiki (by Ala Moana) on Hotwire and cashed in some points for a one-way first class upgrade on Hawaiian Airlines. We left SFO at around 8 a.m. and that was the first - and last - time I flew first class. It was amazeballs. It was the flight by which all other flights should be measured. The stewardess started bringing us mai-tais before we even took off. I watched two movies. I had a crab omelet for breakfast. I took a nap. I might have had a hangover upon landing. It was, in a word, fabulous.
This was our first trip back to Kauai after having a not-so-spectacular first trip. Rather than making an RCI exchange we decided to stay at the Kauai Coast Resort at the Beachboy, which is part of our timeshare company. We had walked around a bit during our first stay on the island wishing that we had stayed there instead. We really loved this property. We had a one-bedroom garden view condo that had a view of the ocean. The onsite restaurant, Hukilau Lanai, was one of my favorite meals we've had in all of the islands. The pool is great, and the units themselves are nicely equipped. The location isn't stellar from a "playing in the ocean" point of view, but it's centrally located on the island's Coconut Coast so we were able to easily drive to both the North and South shores.
THIRTY-TWO: THE BIG ISLAND
This was our first trip back to Kona following our four-day visit for our honeymoon in 2002. Again, another timeshare stay. We weren't really familiar with this part of the island, having stayed up on the Kohala Coast seven years prior, but I really loved how lush everything was down here. The big gorgeous beaches are definitely up by the resorts, but this part of the island has its merits too. The condo complex was nice - a lot of different swimming pools, covered parking, lush landscaping, views of the South Kona mountains. The unit itself had a great layout but the decor was kind of a disaster. It belonged in Montego Bay or Negril, not Kona. This was the trip where two unfortunate things happened: (1) my tooth became abcessed and I was in MAJOR pain, and (2) my birthday twin quit her job to go do PR for a school of dentistry. The unfortunate part of this was that she worked for me at the time.
THIRTY-THREE: BRITISH COLUMBIA
I've already told the story of our 10-day trip to British Columbia many times, describing how we fell in love with the landscape, especially Vancouver Island. What I haven't talked about much was how hard of a year, professionally, I had had up until that point. As we geared up for this trip I was nearing the end of my tether and needed to get away so bad. While we were in Tofino I decided that I was going to have a serious talk with my boss and that if some things didn't change I was going to look for a new job. I came back to a complete and utter shit storm and told the managing director of my PR firm that I wasn't happy anymore and that I felt overextended and underappreciated. To her credit she tried to change some things, but the problems I was having were systematic of some larger problems with the agency and nothing was going to be solved in a way that would have been satisfactory to my mental and physical well-being. I quit - with no other job lined up - 1.5 months later. I credit this trip with giving me the clarity I needed to set that process in motion.
Leaving Tofino the year before I told Alan that we had to go back. When it came time to plan our end-of-summer trip I looked into a bunch of different options - both trying to make use of the timeshare and not. We talked about going to Seville, Spain, on a package trip that I found but then I saw what the temperatures were like at the end of August and we put the kibosh on that idea right quick. Once it became clear that the timeshare wasn't going to work out, I told Alan that we should just book a week at the Middle Beach Lodge in Tofino and be done with it. That was in April. I'm so happy we did because that trip really sealed the deal for me on this special place. It got into my soul. I can't wait to go back at Christmas.