Scenes from Iolani Palace

While in Hawaii, I visited Iolani Palace, the seat of the last Hawaiian monarchs before they were illegally overthrown by allies of the United States. I could’ve tossed these photos on my Instagram feed, but the experience deserved more reverence than being squeezed between photos of my boobs in various bikinis. If you follow me on IG, you’re welcome.

I love how the staff demands respect for the space. You can’t wear beach attire. Your shoes are covered before walking into the museum. Whatever bag you’re carrying needs to be flipped to the front of your body so you’re not knocking into things.

While I was familiar with the annexation of Hawaii (a truly appalling story that you can hear on the “Until We Meet Again” episode of the Noble Blood podcast), I left the museum with such a deeper appreciation for Hawaiian history, culture, and resilience. Even as they’ve been absorbed by the United States, they don’t see themselves as “American.”

And living in a nation with a horrific history of salting the earth when they conquer, seeing a culture hold on to itself is refreshing.

Joyful, Joyful

I do not live a joyful life.

Don’t cry for me. This isn’t some sad state I mistakenly slipped into. At some point, I grew tired of dizzying heights followed by catastrophic lows and traded it all for steadiness. I needed a life that worked. That didn’t require much to function on a day-to-day basis.

Low-maintenance.

Dirty words in this “I deserve it all” era, but I’ve never mastered wanting without tallying the cost of my desires. Once I decided I didn’t have “all” to give, I started shopping for a life I could easily afford.

“The world is a rather awful place, love. Best to meet it on its own terms.”

So said Klaus Mikaelson on an episode of The Originals, and for a millennia-old psychopathic vampire-werewolf hybrid on a CW drama the man had a point. An applicable ethos for a girl whose lows pull her under and wring her out.

But, here’s the good thing about this approach:

I so rarely experience joy that when it comes, I never take it for granted.

And right now, stretched on a futon an hour outside of Honolulu, a sunrise over the Pacific and crowing roosters just outside my window…

This is fucking joy.

Aloha, Rob!

At 7:00 AM tomorrow morning, I will board a flight to Honolulu.

In the months since I booked my trip, I haven’t let myself get excited, which says something about how I live my life these days. But now that it’s less than 24 hours away and I’ve semi-quarantined for the last three weeks and my suitcase is packed and all my requisite Safe Travel paperwork is complete…

I’m excited.

Nervous about traveling for the first time since 2019, yes. Cautious about not being one of those tourist assholes who prioritize their fun over the health and safety of Hawaiian residents.

But, excited all the same.

For sun on my skin. For getting acclimated to how this almost 38-year-old body looks half-naked on a beach. For sunrises and sunsets over the Pacific Ocean. For the company of my favorite hippy, Magical Friend With the Magical Life, and a brief break from my rigid day-to-day.

And if I have a revelation or two watching the tide…

Even better.