Oh no, it’s over ;(

August 23, 2007 - Lihue, Hawaii, United States

A few readers asked about our last journal. You mean someone is actually reading this stuff? Well here it is... We are back in the States. We spent our last day in Tonga just hanging out. We had dinner with Ricky at Aquarium’s and chatted with Ben and Lisa some more. Leaving Tonga the next morning I knew our tour was over. I mean I felt it. We did have a 10-hour layover in Nadi, Fiji. So we ate at two restaurants that our friend Wendy suggested, Chef’s and The Royale Thai. At Chef’s we had a local Fiji dish called Kokoda (pronounced “kokonda”). Kokoda is dice fish in coconut and lime sauce.

Since we thought the shock of returning to a “normal” life might be enough to kill us, we decided to take it slow ;-) Hawaii is a great place for that! So we are enjoying, as if part of our vacation, two weeks back on Kauai before returning to Arizona. [Terry: I am glad we are back to Hawaii instead of... anywhere else, because we would have been soooo sad. We are already sad and only thing that keeps us going is the fact that we have a few weeks in Hawaii before facing back to real life. Mark and I still haven’t done our 2006 taxes yet.] We are staying with our Mahjongg friend Anne and spending our time visiting the beaches we love, dive the sites we didn’t have time to visit, spending time with friends and just winding down. Every morning we walk Teddy, Anne’s Corgi, and the three of us sit outside enjoying coffee. The other day we saw Harrison Ford’s plane flying over Kauai. He is filming the next Indiana Jones film on the island of Hawaii and is filming another film – Thunder-something-or-other – on Kauai. We finally made the time to dive Niihau and our friend Wendy joined us. Niihau is a small island North of Kauai with spectacular wall dives that reminded me of scenes from the second Tomb Raider movie. The huge rock formations underwater looked like the pancake rock we saw in New Zealand. And of’course Niihau is where to go to see the #1 endangered marine mammal in the US; the Monk Seals. First time Terry and I ever dove with Monk Seals. I got a chance to attend a K-9 search and rescue training and say “Aloha” – not really sure if I was saying goodbye or hello – to every one. We hiked Sleeping Giant a lot, hiked the Napali coast, BBQ’ed with friends on the beach, played Mahjongg – and even joined the Rummy Tile game group for a few nights, and had lunches and dinners with friends. It has been a great two weeks.

One night Anne invited us to a private reception thrown by the botanical gardens on the North shore mostly for contributors. This was the highlight of our two weeks in Kauai for me. We first stopped at a friend of Anne’s house where scenes from the movie South Pacific were filmed. We are embarrassed to admit that neither of us have seen the movie or the play. Anne was horrified to hear this and so tonight, our last night in Kauai, joined by Wendy, the four of us will be going to see the local production of South Pacific. On the huge property where parts of South Pacific was filmed, Hobey, his wife Nancy and their grown children all have houses. The gardens are a botanical version of Noah’s ark. Kathy, one of Hobey’s daughters, loaded up the back of the car with figs, two types of avocados, star fruit, lime, two types of papaya, guava, and two types of mango. In addition they grew bananas, lemon, plumeria, hibiscus, ginger I have never seen on the island before and others. And we weren’t even at the botanical gardens yet! We swam in their pool, built from the Hollywood money received for allowing filming on their property. The pool water constantly recycles from the mountain water flowing through their property. Their property is simply gorgeous. The botanical gardens reception was also great fun. We have never visited the gardens before – and didn’t have time this visit either since we only attended the reception – and were invited for a private tour when we return by the local director. Smack in the center of the gardens is about ½ an acre of private land on which a beautiful house stands. This is where reception took place. The history of the gardens and the property is fascinating but out of the scope of our tiny travel journal. We met a few interesting guests who were divers and avid travelers. One woman just finished a documentary on the receding glaciers in Antarctica and the effects of sea level rising on Hawaii. It was all very interesting.

Budget

Before leaving we budgeted the entire trip as best we could. We had a projected budget and a maximum that we were willing to extend to. Once on the road our trip changed considerably and the actual budget looks very different. My plans to spend 2 months in Thailand to take the dive instructor course changed. We only spent one month and spent the remaining month in Fiji which is much more expensive than Thailand. The other big change was the 4 dive liveaboards we did. All 4 were unplanned and liveaboards are expensive. We went over our original budget but still made sure we remained within our agreed maximum. I thought it might be interesting to look at the top expenses which are listed below.

26% Dive liveaboard costs
21% Flights
14% Intrepid Tours (Cambodia, Viet Nam, China)
12% Hotels
10% Meals
5% Excursions (All non-diving entertainment fees)

Thank you!

Now we have come to the end. I thought this trip would accomplish two things. Answer many of life’s questions and finally satisfy my unquenchable desire for travel. Wrong on both counts. The 6 months has raise more questions than it has answered and I seemed to have increased my desire to travel and see more of the world. My list has gotten longer, not shorter. Terry and I had great fun and thank all our friends that followed our journals, made comments, and rated our photos. We always looked forward to checking our blog for new comments and ratings. We thank our homeland “support staff” allowing us to ship packages to various homes on the mainland, and allowing us to crash with them while in this last transition. Miki and Shintaro and their families for putting us up a few nights, driving us to Nagano, and for the wonderful birthday party they threw for me. Also to Nakajima and the “mabudachi mujin” for meeting up with us and all the fun birthday presents and gifts. To Mari, my Japanese mother, for her usual and limitless warmth and kindness. Anne for the wonderful two weeks in Hawaii and all of the Aloha she has shown us. We also thank Wendy for synchronizing her trip to Tonga with ours so she could show us around. We would not have had the same experience without her. And hello to all of our new friends we met on the road. Thanks for helping making our experience the best it could be and for all the useful travel tips. Thanks to Peter for the free medical treatment of my finger – it seems to be healing well. Finally thanks to all of the people who encourage us, gave us that little push we needed, to take the first and scariest step toward making the trip a reality. Especially Kevin and Stacey who fit us in their schedule when they were busy with a move and travel of their own. And to Wendy who shared her extensible knowledge of Indonesia, Fiji, and Tonga. Sincerest thanks to you all! Mahalo, Arigato, Cam on, Xie xie, Khawp khun, Vinaka, Malo, and Thank you!

Pictures

Sad it is all over...
... but happy to be back
Wendy & Lani at Shipwreck
Sleeping Giant
 
 

11 Comments

Angela Lee:
August 23, 2007
Welcome back!
John & Kazumi:
August 24, 2007
Welcome back! Seems like we ourselves are just returning from an extensive trip...I am exhausted! But...very happy that you elected to allow us this window into your adventure. Thank you both very much for this experience...Welcome home!!!!
John & Kazumi
Austin, Texas
Glenn:
August 24, 2007
Welcome back to the States! Your trip was clearly a huge success and it has been great to follow you (with more than a little envy :-)) vicariously via the net. Enjoy your unwinding, and keep in touch!

Meanwhile I got my Japan visa extended another 3 years...

Cheers,
Glenn
August 24, 2007
Hey guys!

Well, we are right behind you, getting ready for re-entry after 11 months traveling ourselves. It's interesting to see that we're already sharing many of the same feelings and observations: our list for future travel is longer as well...

We've just toured Scotland - easily in our top three for all the places we've visited - and will shortly be moving on to Ireland where we will finish with an (independent) bike tour of the South of the country... less than a month before we head home :'(

Great idea to include the budget stats: we're going to do something similar, but list how many hotels/hostels, ships, planes, buses, taxis, camels, etc. over the whole trip.

Hawaii sounds FANTASTIC - I have been a few times, though only to Oahu, but Michele has not: so jealous you could finish there!

We'll miss your entries.

J & M
dominik:
August 26, 2007
hi marc and terry!

great blog!

we met you at the bayside resort fiji yasawa island. dominik and rachel. you remember?

you told us you were in thailand. we will go to thailand as well. we are looking for a untouristy, cheap island in the south with a nice beach...... do you have a recommandation for us?

thanks a lot and we hope you know more about new zealand.....:-)

best regards

dominik and rachel (switzerland)
dgugger@hotmail.com
Kevin&Stacey:
August 26, 2007
Hello or Halo as they say to us here in Indonesia. Stacey and I know your pain, when we got to the end of our World Tour I had not found the answer to the big question either and we both had a huge knot in our stomachs from the reality that we may have to go back to reality! We do not know what to tell you, we got over ours by going back to Thailand for a month then taking off to the carribean for a year then heading to hawaii. Of course we to thought we would stay for 20 years but like you our travel bug just got worse so here we are on a little island off the coast of Bali called Gili Trawagan which is another backpackers paradise. We do not know when or where our world tour will end and it sounds like you do not know either which is really the fun!. Tomorrow we are planning our first 70 Meter dive, so I hope our world tour does not end here! Thats it for now, still hope to see you both in arizona or mexico down the road. Kevin and Stacey.
miki & shintaro:
August 26, 2007
Hi, Terry & Mark !!
Otsukaresama deshita.

When is your Next trip & where??
we are looking foward to seeing you soon :)
Paul Franger:
August 30, 2007
Aloha Mark and Terry
Was great to get to know the both of you on the North Sulawesi Aggressor back in May. You two are to young to be having a "Mid Life Crisis"!!!! So i bet you will do it all over again in other exotic parts of our planet in the coming years. Take care, best wishes and cheers. pkf
Brianna:
December 11, 2007
Hpoe your trip was great!!!!!!!!
Brianna:
December 12, 2007
I can't wait until Florida its going to be a blast see u soon
mom:
January 9, 2008
Was great having you in NY for Christmas and Thanksgiving. Now on to AFRICA...........
can't wait till the photos. love, mom
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