Sticking Close to Island Time

We have been home from our Hawaiian holiday for one week. I am back to work and going through the usual paces, but every now and again I take a mental leap back to the beautiful island of Kauai.


When the wedding couple came to us last fall stating they wanted their parents and siblings to join them, sharing one big historic farm-house on Hanalei Bay for eight days, I wondered just how that was going to work out. All of us together? Ten adults and four children ages seven, five, three and one? One house you say? Eight days?


Could we really all step away from our daily roles and responsibilities without too many pretzel-like twists? Or would we simply decide the pretzel-like twists were worth it?

I take my responsibilities very seriously. Maybe a little too seriously, I’m thinking now that I’ve had a delicious dose of island time.

I certainly had an opportunity to catch an unflattering glimpse of my distinctly “NOT Hawaiian” temperament while visiting a Costco not long after arrival. We swooped in to purchase some food and supplies to take back to the house–remember now, ten adults and four children, that’s a lot of supplies–and working from lists we’d prepared from home, we made it through the store with efficiency. That is until we got into the line.


I felt a surge of impatience with a check-out hiccup. An item didn’t scan properly and instead of just replacing the item with another,  the original was handed to someone else to look up the appropriate scanning codes and issue a whole new label.   This seemed irritatingly inefficient to me. The line grew longer behind me and my party was also waiting on me to get everything to the car. The Costco employees weren’t the least bit flustered and definitely not in a hurry. That was my first reminder that we were not in Los Angeles. Welcome to Island Time.



And welcome it was.

From the moment we left the airport our drought-tolerant senses were bombarded with the luxury of green. Flowers and foliage familiar to me in Southern California were easily fifty times the size.I have thousands of photos to prove it. Raise your hand if you want to see them ALL…I seriously couldn’t stop myself.


We’ve previously visited Hawaii, but this was our first time on Kauai and we shared a nearly private beach on Hanalei Bay. It was quite magical. Unless we can travel again as a large pack, I doubt we will personally have this kind of experience again, but saying that something was once in a lifetime is pretty great, too.

I am far from ready to jump back into the pace that I kept prior to our beautiful island experience. And there’s been a wedding that brings me great joy with many happy memories I want to fully savor.

A part of living in Southern California is learning how to stay with the flow of traffic–literally and figuratively– or you’re run over, and the “flow” here is rapid-paced and often aggressive.

It’s hard to go very far without stress in many forms lurking about the perimeter of our lives, but at least for now,  I have refused to meet its eye.



Whenever I choose I can call back the feeling of refreshment and bring back a little of the island’s warmth, charm and tranquility. That will always help me to breathe lighter.











80 thoughts on “Sticking Close to Island Time

  1. Brilliant photos Debra! I’d love to visit Hawaii….maybe one day I’ll fulfil this life-long ambition, who knows? Island life is definitely different – even though ours isn’t tropical, (the temperatures here are just above zero right now) we still have that laid-back vibe. It drives visitors to distraction but it’s one of the reasons that I couldn’t live on the mainland again – way too hectic! Thankyou for sharing part of your son’s wedding celebrations ~ congratulations to the happy couple! 🙂

    1. I had forgotten you live the island life, Jacqueline! I can understand the appeal. The pace must surely match your artistic soul. 🙂 I met several people who made the choice long ago to give up stress-filled jobs and leave it all behind to create a new life on the island, and all I could think when told their stories was “good for you!” I hope someday you will have the opportunity to visit Hawaii. It would be fun for you to experience a tropical climate and I know you’d enjoy the beauty. Thank you for the “congratulations” to the bride and groom. It’s been fun!

  2. Wow, what beautiful nature. I hunted everywhere in that picture for a dinosaur’s head… is that Jurassic Park greenery, or what? Couldn’t help smiling at your supermarket problem – I thought that kind of thing only happens to me. Here in France they wave the offending item at you and suggest you return to the shelf and find one yourself. I tell them they can keep it, and I’ll keep my money.
    Good luck returning gently to the ground, Miss D.

    1. I’m laughing so hard thinking of your supermarket experiences. I’m certain that to anyone outside of a large metropolitan area I must seem like a crazy person at times. But in Southern California if my transaction had held up the line like that there would have been jeers from the crowd. But I must say the slower pace was easily adopted. I like to think I could transition to island life “full time” but I’ll probably never know. Your Jurassic Park reference is perfect. I hadn’t thought of it, but yes! I will have to Google it, but I’m guessing some of the movie could have been filmed there. It was just like it! 🙂

  3. Hi Debra,
    A private house on a tropical island with parents siblings and grandchildren sounds like a perfect way to celebrate a wedding. I’ve raised my hand. I’d love to see more pix of Hawaii.

    1. Oh Rob, I sure would have enjoyed your new camera! I thought of you and that wonderful lens! There were so many birds I couldn’t possibly get close enough to photograph them, but I really enjoyed seeing species that were unfamiliar. I did come home refreshed. 🙂 Thank you!

  4. Kauai … ahhh … so wonderful … and a wonderful reminder of our 2002 trip to Hawaii (we spent a week along the north shore, obviously very close to your location) … where South Pacific was filmed …the land of Puff the Magic Dragon.

    Love the bird image. Any idea the species?

    Nonetheless, welcome back and congrats to all! BTW … in case you didn’t see it on the last Monday Morning Entertainment, Life: The Musical’s epilogue is Wednesday evening.

    1. I’m so glad to learn that you know Kauai and can fully appreciate how beautiful it really is. I would definitely enjoy a return visit at some point in time. I don’t know about the bird. We didn’t do a lot of shopping, but when in stores I asked, and I went through several books of native birds and couldn’t find it. I am still going to do a little more research and see what I can find out. Thanks for the heads-up on Life: The Musical! 🙂

  5. Debra – Congratulations! Wow! What a beautiful place for a wedding and a perfect place to relax and slow down. My husband and I have been to Kauai – it’s paradise. Your pictures are gorgeous. I am raising my hand to see more pictures from your stay!

    1. Thank you, Mar. It was such a very happy occasion for us to celebrate, and to be in a Hawaiian paradise for total relaxation was icing on the wedding cake. I am so happy to know that you have enjoyed the island as well. I’ll really enjoy sharing some more photos with you and bringing back your own happy memories. 🙂

  6. That bird is stunning!! It looks like a combination of cardinal and blue jay. I’m like you – I’d fill volumes with photos of incredible natural beauty like that. Hawaii and its island must have some kind of magic about them – a friend of ours got a job there and moved from the hectic east coast to the island of Hawaii. He’s been a confirmed bachelor and happy to be one for over fifty years…until moving to Hawaii, where he met the perfect woman for him and actually got married! Maybe is the Island Time that slowed him down enough to take notice of more than the superficial, I don’t know, but there’s definitely something wonderful in the air there! 🙂

    1. What a wonderful story to hear about your friend’s move to Hawaii! I talked to several people who were “transplants” now living on Kauai, and they all seemed so thrilled with their decision. It would be very different, but in a delightful way if one were able to find employment. Work there, however, appears to be a necessity for enough income to live, of course, but lifestyle and well-being are more important than career! My observation seems to fit the decision your friend made. I admire it! I don’t know what species of bird that is! I wasn’t able to learn more from any of the native bird books, but I’m going to continue to do some research. They were such a surprise on the sand! 🙂

  7. Aloha! So glad that your stay in paradise has had a carry over effect on the mainland. When we breathe lighter, we feel freer. Enjoy the vestiges of your island get-a-way.

    1. I knew you’d understand island life and island “time,” Nancy! What a wonderful lifestyle…I am absolutely certain I could make the necessary adjustments just about that quick. 🙂 I will enjoy sharing some more photos. It’s quite a magical place.

    1. Then you know how amazing the views of ocean, mountains and greenery are, Lori. I’m glad you had a chance to visit. Kauai is so totally “unlike” anywhere we’ve ever been, and certainly not like our home environment. So it was a real treat to truly get away. It felt a little bit like we were on another planet! 🙂

  8. I spent a month in a Hawaii many years ago. I visited all the islands. It was such a different way of life. At that point there weren’t any Costcos and many things were ordered through catalogs but you didn’t need much. Life was so much simpler. What a great idea for a wedding and to make it a week’s vacation was fabulous!

    1. I can only imagine how lovely it would be to be in Hawaii for a month, Kate! That would be heaven! We were glad to have Costco to at least get us started. Food costs are high and it helped to at least have a base. I didn’t think that Kauai was too heavily populated with big chains and outlets, and instead still seemed to hold onto a lot of its early charm, but I’ll bet you would be shocked at how commercial everything would feel from the days you were there. Do you have any thoughts you might one day visit again? I know I’d like to at some point. But this will have to do for a long time, I think. 🙂

  9. Anonymous

    Hi Deb, it’s great to hear of your “magical” time in Hawaii. I would love to see more pictures. It’s so beautiful there! Thank you for sharing. Love, Kathy

    1. The bride’s mother did a lot of printing on leaves for the menu and place cards for seating. There were so many lovely touches using the greenery that was at hand. I’m glad you enjoyed the photos, Nancy!

    1. We’ve only previously been to Oahu, Andrew, and I had thought we’d one day visit some of the others, but Kauai was so spectacular I’d be tempted to return there before going on to another. We’ll have to see, but I’m so pleased I could share the photos and maybe inspire you to take another vacation. 🙂

    1. That change of pace is really important, isn’t it Lori! You know my “habitat” so you know how easily it can consume. I’m really pleased that we have opportunities to lift out of the pressure cooker, though, and now the quest is to hold onto some of that peace and well-being. It was a wonderful time, and I’m convinced I can bring “island time” back to SoCal. If I move like a sea turtle I’ll drive other people a little crazy, but that might be okay with me. hahaha! ox

  10. You must have had such a delightful visit in Hawaii. Of course the wedding itself was one, but to be in surroundings like this must have been energizing and exciting. I have never been to any of the island of Hawaii, but hope I will get a chance one day. Beautiful photos, Debra.

  11. Otto, I must say that I really hope you can visit the Hawaiian Islands. I know you would do your research first to see where you’d most enjoy, but as a photographer with a strong interest in people and other cultures, you’d find each one very interesting. It was a very special and emotional time to be part of such a warm family gathering to witness our children make such beautiful promises to each other. I will be remembering our island experience for a very long time. Thank you for your kind thoughts.

    1. I like your observation, Steve. There were several conversations while there about whether or not we would begin to have anxiety or grow bored with living on an island and no one was convinced I’d be content long term. If I could bring my family with me I personally think I’d be just fine. At the very least I’d love to spend a year or two on Kauai just to put my theory to test!

  12. Oh Debra, it looks so wonderful there! And I love your photos! They really bring across that relaxing and refreshing feeling. I am so glad you could wind down and enjoy some island time. I bet you all have some lovely memories!

    1. It was a wonderful time for all of us, Cathy. It wasn’t a very easy time of year for me to get away from work and at times I was a little anxious before we went, but once we arrived I almost immediately felt like I could stay there and not return. LOL! Thank you for the ind words, my friend.

    1. How nice to hear from you, Sharyn. And thank you for the compliment on the header photo. The photo was the view just a few feet from the house we were staying in. You can see why I was dragging my feet to stay. 🙂 Another blogger identified the bird for me as a Brazilian Red Cap Cardinal. It was so unusual to see a bird that colorful hopping along the sand. I never saw one sea gull or pelican. Same Pacific Ocean, but quite a different view, right?

  13. How wonderful to be all under the same roof on such a happy time! That’s how we did it, although no one had any children at the time, there were many rooms in the rented nest and we all shared some pretty special moments under one roof.

    1. I was concerned that my son and his bride were setting their expectations a little high and maybe they’d feel a little disappointment after listening to them with their high hopes that we would be one big happy family for such a long time. There wasn’t any disappointment at all. I was the one surprised. 🙂 It was just a lovely week we will now be able to remember together for years to come. I am glad my photos stirred some memories for you, too, Cristine. 🙂

    1. Thank you, Koji. I think everyone under that one roof was so relaxed and happy for the wedding couple that we just never for one moment felt like it was difficult. Maybe the kids will encourage us all to go back some day for one of their anniversaries. 🙂 I’d be very happy to return to Kauai at any time!

  14. Congratulations to the bride and groom and what a stunning place to get married. And I’m so glad you were all together. Yes, being all in the one house must have had its challenges but I’m sure it had more benefits than set-backs. The greenery is just stunning and Kauai looks very lush xx

  15. This was an absolute delight to read, Debra; I can feel the warmth and the slower life. Your photos are beautiful. We have been to the main island and to Maui, but not Kauai. Paradise! Not a bad way to begin a wedded life with the support of family. Blessings to all. 🙂

    1. The wedding couple had a very strong vision of what they wanted for their special day, and at all times I could feel how important it was to them to be surrounded by family. We will have a lot of wonderful memories to share as time moves forward, Penny. I’m very grateful. Previously we had only been to Oahu. I think it would be really nice to visit Maui, but now I’m going to be torn–I might want to return to Kauai. I’ll have time to think about it! We won’t be traveling anywhere too soon. 🙂

    1. I am so glad you stopped by to let me know you enjoyed the photos of Hanalei Bay. And another blogger informed me that the beautiful red bird is a Brazilian Red Cap Cardinal. I found him such an unlikely bird to be found on the sand, but he was a lovely surprise. 🙂

  16. Love the ‘Island Time’ Debra. You can experience similar ‘time’ differences without ever leaving England. There’s London Time and only a relatively short distance away you’re suddenly in Norfolk Time where everything moves at a pace more akin to the 1950’s than our modern world 😉

    You’ve got some wonderful images to allow you to sit back and savor the calm all over again as often as you want 🙂

    1. I sometimes forget that there are still many places in this world that don’t run on high octane all the time. I need those reminders! Kauai was a wonderful escape from reality, and I need to find my “equivalent of Norfolk” for respite a bit closer to home. I have really enjoyed looking at the photos, however, and so far visualization is effective. I hope you enjoy your weekend, Martin. Thank you for stopping by.

  17. I really agree with you about the ability of photographs to connect to memory, Barb, and this is of great value to me. I was the only one of us who went around taking photos of everything we did. I think some of our entourage may have wondered why I was so heavily invested in photos of even very small moments, like cooking and doing dishes, but I wanted to capture it all. I am going to enjoy them. 🙂 Thank you, dear Smidge.

  18. They make movies outta blog posts like this. What a gorgeous part of the world, the perfect setting for a wedding. I am only 6 weeks back at work after a month in Southeast Asia, but could easily go an island holiday just like this. Totes sounds like you had a brill time. Love the lanterns down to the beach and the leaf menus, what a cool idea. 🙂

    1. Wow! A month in Southeast Asia–how fantastic. It definitely would be hard to get back to routines after such a long vacation. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment and I am so glad you enjoyed the photos of our island retreat. It’s been fun to share them. 🙂

  19. Oh, what a perfect place for a wedding and it sounds like tou revelled in every moment and every scene, Debra. I would very much like to see more photos, please. I love the one of the bird on that glorious coral sand. 🙂

    Back in 1965 DH did a backpacker trip around the world before college and spent a month in Hawaii, mainly on Kauai where he camped in a cave on the beach where they filmed part of ‘South Pacific’. He has some gorgeous photos of the island before it began to develop and if he didn’t hate flying would, I’m sure, like to go back there once more.

  20. I am snooping around in your blog. I saw your name/avatar often at M-R’s post. We both belong to her salon and I thought it might be nice to finally meet 🙂 I have no idea if you can delete the other comment…I will try to figure out what just happened.

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  22. Your photos are beautiful. The bird is especially striking. Do you know its name?

    I wish I could live every day as if I were on “island time.” I don’t do it naturally even when I’m on the island. I must admit, though, that my recent injuries have helped me to develop a bit more patience in that regard.

  23. I must admit that I don’t naturally live on “island time” either. It feels so good when I fall into it, however. Maybe with more practice. 🙂 The little red bird is a Brazilian Red Cap Cardinal. I owe another blogger a thank you on that research! I couldn’t find the little guy in any of the island guide books, which surprised me. They were such a beautiful flash of color in the sand! Thank you for stopping by. It’s always nice to “see” you when you have the time to post, too.

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