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A Rejuvenating Trip to Kauai

Aloha to a peaceful, learning vacation on Kauai, Hawaii

By Holly Rosen Fink, GoGirlfriend contributor

It’s not often that we have time to stop and think about the life we are living. Nor do we sit down and think about our current blessings and future legacy. But travel can make us do all of this and more. Travel can open our eyes and help us find beauty in the NOW.

On a recent trip to Kauai, I met a woman named Puna Kalama Dawson, Hawaiian Cultural Guide to Wellness at The St. Regis Princeville Resort. She reminded me of a few very important things:

  • How important it is to take the time to appreciate what is directly in front of me
  • To be kind to others but also myself
  • And most importantly, to live in the moment – not to count the tomorrows – for they may not come.

the beautiful scapes of HawaiiThe word “Aloha” means a shared space, a special moment. As I was greeted with this word during the rest of my stay in Kauai, I remembered and breathed in her words. It wasn’t hard – after all, I was in Hawaii.

I had been invited on a Rejuvenation Press Trip. For five days I would get to know the island escorted by representatives from the Kauai Visitors Bureau. I discovered so much about the island, while breathing in Puna’s words and the refreshing air. After a long, cold winter in NYC, I was thrilled to be in the sunshine, amongst amazing women.

Here’s how Kauai managed to awaken my senses and rejuvenate my spirit in the course of just five days on the magical island.

I breathed deeply and took it all in

Grand Hyatt Resort & Spa, HawaiiWe stayed at several hotels, including the Grand Hyatt Resort & Spa, a luxurious hotel located on the island's South Shore in the heart of Poipu. Just 30 minutes from the airport, it's an upscale yet very island-driven resort. The staff greeted us with a lei upon arrival, providing a real Hawaiian experience.

From a selection of on-site restaurants to three pools to saltwater swimming lagoons with a waterslide to a recently renovated Anara Spa, the hotel provided an excellent beginning to my stay on the island. The landscape the resort sits on is stunning, balanced between beautiful mountains and the blue sea, and the photo opportunities around the resort were endless.

I learned to take in the moment

Kauai is the fourth largest of the main Hawaiian Islands. Its land area encompasses roughly 552 square miles and only 3% of the island is developed for commercial and residential use. It’s famous for its diverse and scenic wanders and dynamic scenery, much of which can only be seen from the sky or water.

That fact became clear to me as I scanned the island from above on a Jack Harter helicopter ride, where I gawked silently at the many wonders of the island, from the 3,567-foot deep Waimea Canyon, and the mountain cliffs that rise from the ocean floor to form the magnificent unspoiled Napali Coast. It’s simply breathtaking, and when all that beauty surrounds you, it is easy to take in the moment

I learned to appreciate what is directly in front of me

cycling the mountains of KauaiWhile visiting the North Shore, I was booked onto a horseback-riding trip through Princeville Ranch Adventures. With the guidance of a native Hawaiian, we rode across a wide terrain and then on a short hike to a waterfall. It was this waterfall that my eyes were widened, looking in every direction – not only at the area’s beauty but also at the moment. I stripped off my clothes (to a bathing suit underneath) and made my way into the water so I could feel the waterfall splash on my entire being. I felt part of nature.

Later that day, I signed up for a downhill bicycle ride with Outfitters Kauai. The sunrise ride took me to the top of the canyon down 12 miles of smooth winding blacktop overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The ride was four hours long and the views were dazzling. It was nice to be able to truly disconnect from reality and technology and breathe in the crisp, morning air. I was the only one from my group on the tour so kept to myself during the tour, stopping to take photographs and drink water with the rest of the group. But my mind was turning and the positivity and optimism for life swept back in.

I rediscovered the meaning of kindness

Westin princeville Resort, KauaiFrom Puna at the St. Regis Resort to our greeter who sang a Hawaiian song upon check-in at the Westin Princeville Ocean Resort, people in Kauai welcomed us with open arms and open hearts. We were introduced to authentic Hawaiian cuisine and given an opportunity to better understand the culture at a traditional luau at Kilohana Plantation. It became more and more obvious that the people living on the island were investing in our education so we could return home and encourage others to visit. Their genuine love for the island seeped into our every adventure.

The trip humbled me

St. Regis Resort in sight of the mountainsBeing able to wake up to watch the Hawaiian sunrise and see the sunset at night was truly a treat I would wish on anyone. I also experienced an invigorating Spa Treatment at the Anara Spa at the Grand Hyattt, where they use ancient healing traditions combine with a bounty of island-fresh botanical essences to inspire lokahi – balance or harmony of body and spirit. My treatment was in an open-air room, opening to a tropical garden. The result was truly orgasmic and rejuvenating. Going through irrigation tunnels and flumes that were built in 1870 in a mountain tube was also humbling. When the guide told us “no lights on” in the dark tunnels, I had to hold on tight and remember that I’m capable of doing anything.

In Kauai, my senses were awakened and new memories were created. The sunsets, the waterfalls, the sound of the waves as I drifted off to sleep, horse back riding through wide fields, biking down a canyon at sunrise, witnessing pure spectacles of nature. It all amounted to one thing: a sense of rejuvenation.

Ever been to Hawaii? Did you find it as life-changing as Holly? Share your experiences in a comment below or follow us on Twitter or Facebook.

About Holly Rosen Fink

Holly Rosen Fink ~ @HollyChroniclesHolly Rosen Fink is a Marketing, Communications, Public Relations, Branding and Social Media expert with over 15 years’ experience increasing brand awareness and sales at leading publishing houses and media companies. She is the founder of theculturemom.com and is a current contributor to This Girl Travels, Ciao Bambino, Family Vacation Critic, The Broad Side, BlogHer and Women & Hollywood.

Last year she edited Come Closer: How Tourism is Shaping the Future of Nations and associate produced the off-off-Broadway hit The Best of Everything and the NYC production of Listen to Your Mother.

Disclosure: Holly’s press trip was hosted by the Kauai Visitors Bureau. All opinions are her own.

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