@loripalminteriTweets by @loripalminteri
Over ten years ago now, my sister moved to Hawaii with her then boyfriend and now husband. He worked for Enterprise and had an opportunity to relocate there, and decided to take the adventure and my sister along with him. They lived on Oahu for a year, and then Maui for a year, before returning to the mainland.
During this time, I got to visit twice. Once to Oahu and then once to Maui. When they were on Maui, my future brother-in-law and I coordinated for me to surprise my sister, Lisa. He told her she had to pick up some friend or co-worker from the airport, which she begrudgingly agreed to. Only to find me, standing on the curb, smiling and waving. I have a video of the moment, it’s very sweet. Lisa leaps from the car, in happy tears and embraces me. Despite living in paradise, it is far and isolated so they did miss friends and family quite a bit.
My memories of Hawaii are still vivid. Of course, as a beach lover and surfer, I obsessed about the islands before going there. Looking at pictures and watching documentaries. But I promise you, it’s even more gorgeous in person. The water, the mountains, the sky. If there’s a heaven on Earth, surely it’s there. I rented a car and my sister banished me from driving it because I couldn’t keep my eyes on the road, I was constantly distracted by the surrounding beauty so she crowned herself designated driver (okay with me, I was salivating looking out the window).
I remember the first night in Oahu, we went to a beach and bought some beers. It was like seeing the night sky for the first time, I mean really seeing the night sky. So many stars. The adventure only got better from there. Surfing. Snorkeling. Hiking. Kayaking. Fresh fish and fruits all the time. Had I not already been in love with comedy with a passion and dream for being a writer, I would have moved right there and then. I would have called my mom and told her to put my stuff in a box and ship it. This is my life now. Usually, when I travel, by the end of a week, I’m pretty ready to come home. Not Hawaii.
Even when I returned home, I had reoccurring dreams of the place. There was this feeling like Hawaii was the one that got away, a feeling I’d have towards a couple men in my life, but perhaps not as much as I still feel about a place.
But, Hawaii, somehow, is more than a place. As the kids say, “it’s a vibe.” It’s an energy unto its own. Though I feel this way about New York City too. Just a very different energy, and unfortunately, post covid and political divide, it’s a dark feeling.
My parents also fell head over heels for Hawaii. When they retired, they briefly considered relocating there. However, they don’t really have that kind of money, and they knew if they went that far, they’d scarcely see their family so they did the typical move to Florida instead.
Some of my most magical moments were my frequent encounters with sea turtles. How I loved swimming with them, circling around them, almost like we were dancing. Of course, it was also the best surf I’ve ever experienced, with longer rides than I thought possible. We found cliffs 30 feet high I jumped off over and over. We tried to find these secret ocean pools and went off trail on a hike that I felt awful about because I literally risked both mine and my sister’s life. I thought we were going to die, it was so steep and dangerous and neither of us had proper footwear. I’d never seen Lisa so brave before. We drove to the seven sacred pools, explored bamboo forests, adventured to towering waterfalls. Did I mention this is paradise?
So I always tell people to go to Hawaii. Put it on the top of your travel list. It is magical. I understand why some people go there and just stay there. You don’t have to wait to die to go to Heaven. Just go to Hawaii. It’s hard to imagine any place better.
Which is why I am hella stoked to return there for three weeks. Luckily for me, I have a friend who is giving me a hook up, otherwise this would not be something I could afford. But it is a working vacation. My job is remote, and I picked up gigs there and I will also be writing a screenplay about surfing, so I should have plenty of inspiration. Life isn’t always easy, but sometimes living can be.
February in New York is simply dreadful. I have made a point of leaving New York in February for years. Usually, I visit my folks in Florida. Regular depression topped with seasonal depression makes for an ugly month mentally, and it’s also ugly outside my mind— grey, cold, bare trees. I can do without it.
So stayed tuned. Soon, I will be “living my best life” and will be sharing my stories and bikini pictures (haha) on Facebook and Instagram, all the while not needing to ask, “do you wish you were here?” Because I know you do.