The last day of any trip can sometimes be meaningful in many ways. You reflect on what was hopefully a great experience, the fun, the good times, the new friends met. But then as with everything in life comes the time to say goodbye. A tradition I’ve had over all the years of going to Hawaii is releasing a lei to the ocean on my last day there as a way of saying my aloha. Aloha meaning many things as well; hello, goodbye, thank you, love.
On this last trip on the island of Oahu, I cut the plumeria from my lei (the string can tangle up the precious ocean life, and a lei should not be put in the ocean with the material it is strung with). Flower petals in a bag, I set off to find a good spot to spread my goodbye, and wishes to come back again.
Great spots in abundance all along the area I was in by myself, but the craggy rock shore looked pretty difficult to climb across on my own to get near enough the water. I kept walking and praying for a hand to help me across to the water’s edge. The Sunday Traveler has learned in solo travels to never give up. Ever! A way always presents itself somehow. I walked to the end of a long stretch of beach in front of multiple resort hotels and came to the last one on a path that narrowed around to the back of that hotel. The little garden shown above in the lead photo was the end of the road. The garden with the buddha, so tiny and serene. So fenced off with a sign on the gate that said “NO TRESPASSING”. So not a problem to this traveler. The Sunday Traveler reached around the back of the gate where the latch was and opened the gate and entered forbidden lands. The need to photograph this scene was calling me. Not more than five seconds passed before I heard a voice behind me asking what I was doing. I had immediate visions of calling my kids back home to come bail me out of jail. I turned to face a young Hawaiian whose name tag indicated he was head of security. I quickly explained myself, and we fell into a comfortable conversation about photography and the beauty of Hawaii. I was allowed a few minutes to take photos, and then as we walked out of the garden together, I asked if he knew of a place nearby where I could get near enough the water to put my plumeria into the ocean. I was told to follow him a little further down behind the hotel where he took my hand and helped me across a rocky area to water’s edge. I can’t say there were no tears as the flowers were laid as close to the water as we dared get; we waited for the waves to come in and take the flowers.
While we watched and waited, J told me the belief of surfers about the seventh wave. Waves travel in sets of seven, the seventh being the largest. We counted together.
The seventh wave came in.
It’s funny how it all works out, and how friends show up in life. Travel is a wonderful thing.