When I was fourteen I read both Hawaii and Tales of the South Pacific by James Michener. His elegant and engaging prose immediately drew me in and from that moment onwards it has been a lifelong dream to visit these magical islands. Finally, after twenty years of dreaming, part of that dream will be realized today.
As this is posted, I am on my way to Hawaii, Honolulu to be specific. I will be staying at the Sheraton Waikiki for work and then it is off to the island of Lanai and the Four Seasons for a few days of much needed R&R.
I cannot clearly say way it is I have always wanted to visit the South Pacific; I do know that it is much more than a simple desire to be in a beautiful location. There is something about the history and the social cultures of the various islands not only of Hawaii, but of French Polynesia, that intrigue me to the core. It has been and will continue to be an insatiable need to visit and tell the stories of these remarkable places.
A few years ago I read Blue Latitudes by Tony Horwitz. This amazing travel writer decided to retrace the steps of Captain Cook, the infamous explorer of this part of the world, and describe in what ways the islands have changed since his first arrival. Some of the stories were heartwarming, others sad, but all reinforced the unique quality of otherness that these islands possess. I think that it is this quality, this indefinable something that draws people like a magnet to these dots of land in the middle of the vast ocean. Yes they are mind-numbingly gorgeous, but it is the soul and spirit that must keep people returning. I think.
I say I think because until this time I have never had the opportunity to visit and while I know Honolulu is a far cry from Papeete, it’s a start. I hope in the not so distant future I can find a way to follow Cook and Horwitz in the discovery of the lands and people of the South Pacific.