We left on Saturday and had our aforementioned plane misadventures, and we returned on Friday. All in all, I think it was an ideal sort of vacation: one where I genuinely enjoyed what we did, and being there, and the whole experience, but also one where I am glad to be home again. I’m not tremendously looking forward to going back to the dayjob tomorrow, especially while I’m still trying to deal with jetlag, but we can’t have everything, huh?
I meant to be more up to date on keeping up with any sort of writing while we were gone — at least keeping some notes, or else writing in the hotel in the evenings, but it just never really happened. I barely managed to keep up with even the short daily flash fiction segment I post to my tumblr, usually doing that in the mornings before we went anywhere. I had ambitions of working on lazily self-indulgent stuff and not worrying about any deadlines until after we returned to Seattle.
But as it turned out, none of that really happened. It isn’t as if we went on intense touristy things; we didn’t snorkel or scuba dive or anything like that (I had certain monthly health reasons holding me back for one), but we walked a lot, we explored a lot, and overall when we left our hotel, we would return hours and hours later to simply shower and then go to bed. Of course we did a lot of shopping, especially for souvenirs for our friends — we went to the weekly swap meet at the Honolulu Stadium (correct me if I’m misremembering the place); we went to the fancy strip malls in Waikiki; and we went to both kitschy overpriced tourist stores as well as little holes in the wall. Those were certainly less glamorous than most of their surroundings, but also honestly kind of a relief compared to the Rich People Society we were otherwise surrounded by.
Even though I took no notes, there’s a lot that I have taken away from this trip. When I first told my mom that my friends and I were planning this trip, she immediately and enthusiastically agreed. “It’ll be a good learning experience,” she said. “It’ll be good for your writing to go see new places like this.” I’m a pretty sedentary person; if it’s not money that’s an issue, it’s the lack of inspiration to go on my own. I’m not a traveler. I love my city and my home; I love the familiarity I have with my neighborhood and the surrounding places. True to my name, I put down my roots and I am happiest staying with them.
And on the trip itself both my roommate and my girlfriend kept telling me that they hoped I was getting lots of story ideas.
The truth is, I didn’t. I took some notes on the plane for something, but that was an idea I’d been tossing around before we left. I did not, at any time, get hit with anything that felt like the germinating seed of a story plot. In fact, I barely thought about my writing at all while we were gone, which is something I mildly regret, having returned to home and two deadlines by the end of the month, haha. (Obligatory reminder that I’ve got a new story coming out November 1st! The other one’s release date isn’t set yet, but I’m very excited for that one when it comes.)
What I did take away, though, was more individual experiences that I can utilize later.
The minor mundane disaster of missing one’s flight. The way volcanoes look, stretched out wide and dark and steaming under the plane. Seeing feral chickens running around a parking lot. The different ways strangers can be friendly, whether it’s by chatting or just silently leading you to your hotel. The way an actual five star hotel room looks, both for a “standard” room and an upgraded presidential suite. The surprised joy of walking along a path and turning your head to see turtles casually swimming alongside you. Dealing with people so rich that it’s like some invisible wall exists between you and them — but also, people who are incredibly friendly and patient in spite of the vast amount of confused and lost tourists they must deal with daily. The way the waves yank at you when you let your guard down, because they’ve been small up until the point where they’re not. The way the ocean looks as the sun sets, less like water and more like silk stretched over sand dunes…
And honestly, the way one’s cat gets extremely excited when his people come home after a week and spends the next two days YELLING!! at the top of his lungs anytime he loses sight of you.
Those are the things I think I can keep and use, sometime in the future.