I’ve always been the type to enjoy a nice long walk and won’t hesitate to walk to get where I need to go. When I was in elementary school, I’d walk all over Wailuku town after school, to see my orthodontist and to junior tennis at Wells Park. In junior high, my friend Carolyn and I would make our way thru the brush behind my parent’s house where Pililani Highway now stands, amongst the little rock walls that surely had stories to tell. We’d head down to the shopping center in Wailea, eat ice cream at Ed & Don’s and try on aloha print dresses from the cutest little boutique.
When I first arrived at UH Manoa, I made the trek from campus to Ala Moana to lie on the beach followed by shopping at Guava Lane, not once was I tempted to hop on the bus. Working in downtown Honolulu, lunch hours were spent exploring Chinatown. Working in Waikiki was heaven. No matter what time I took my break, there were people to see and places to go. I’d go from Lewers to Kapiolani park, watch the tennis players at Fort Derussy or wander around the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, reveling in all its glorious history. I also experienced the eerie feeling of walking thru an empty Waikiki after all the tourists stopped coming during the aftermath of 9-11.
Business trips included walks on the beach after work at Kiahuna Plantation where the exact path Hurricane Iniki took was evident as entire sides of buildings were intact and untouched while the opposing walls were a pile of rubble. On trips to Hong Kong, I negotiated the crowds in Causeway Bay to eat mango or sesame concoctions at dessert shops and shop for bento boxes at Sogo. I got lost in the maze of connecting walkways in Central but appreciative of all the shops where I could buy Australian magazines, gourmet olive tapenade and Miu Miu shoes.
Then there was Midnite. An athletic, beautiful and sensitive black german shepherd. What began as an effort to burn off a dog’s energy (a tired dog is a good dog) became my way to unwind from the day, to separate work from home and have some time to reflect, we walked daily around Kahala mall or explored the old Kaimuki neighborhoods. On the weekends, the ex-pupdaddy and I took the furbaby on walking adventures; the Manoa trail system (listening to the calming sound of bamboo stalks clicking over our heads); enjoying the solitude of the old Pali road or getting a workout at the popular Aiea Loop.
We walked everywhere, every day and all day on a recent girls trip to New York. Soho, Chelsea, Times Square, Brooklyn (my favorite..) eating the most delicious food I’ve ever had and scoring the perfect fedora from a street vendor. My bank account may have been lighter once I reached home but I was filled with inspiration.
Now I’m home again and I walk with my dad several times a month along the beaches in Wailea. We’ve seen humpbacks breaching during whale season and turtles bobbing their heads out of the water just fifty feet away. No matter how many sunsets I see, I never cease to be amazed.
This is why I walk, walking is living and is good for the soul.