A Week in Kauai

95% of our adventures involve traipsing around with a toddler and/or a baby in tow. But this time, we had the rare opportunity to leave Sam with grandparents and run away on a few adventures of our own on a remote island.

You're probably thinking, "COP OUT! Isn't this a blog about adventuring with kids?" Well, yes. But it's also about cultivating curiosity, and not just for my kids, but for me, too. Aside from the fact that sometimes you just need to go away with just your husband (remember him?) for your anniversary, traveling without the kids once in a while is also a way to teach them, "Hey, look: we are still following our own curiosity and nurturing our own drive for adventure."

To keep costs down (and travel like locals), we snagged a great deal on flights, rented a car from a solo dude who rents out reliable old cars to budget travelers so they can toodle around the island like they belong (it was a beat-up 2001 SUV, coincidentally the same one I drive at home...ha!), spent the week doing free activities like snorkeling off the beach and hiking, stayed in a tiny little gem of an Airbnb with a kitchenette, and bought most of our food at local produce stands. However, we did splurge on one particular thing: a helicopter tour of the island, which is extra special on Kauai because much of the island can only be seen from the air. We are never those people who sign up for all the tours--I'd rather explore on my own, off the beaten path, with no tour guides in sight--but this was our one big exception, and it was worth every penny. By the end of the flight, I was in tears, and not from fear of falling out of the door-less chopper, but because of the sheer, dramatic beauty of the landscape (scroll down to see for yourself!).

Sam had a great time back at home base, but he loves being regaled with stories from our travels. I've told him countless stories about the helicopter ride over the Na Pali Coast, the exotic flora and fauna we saw while hiking, the tropical fruit we ate, the wild roosters that would wake us up at dawn to see the rainbow-covered landscape, and flying into volcanic craters, and he never gets tired of these tales. He loves parroting the million-syllable Hawaiian names back to me (if you ever hear us shout our bizarre and hilarious call-and-response war cry, "Awa'awa'puhi! Wai'ale'ale! at the playground, now you'll know why), and saying, "Mommy and Daddy went on a helicopter!". This trip has piqued his curiosity about a totally new place, and he can't wait to go himself. In the meantime, though, it gives us plenty to talk about while driving around town on errands, and we've got an arsenal of exciting bedtime stories which can kindle his love for travel and learning about new places and wonders beyond the walls of his room.

Here's a glimpse into our adventures...