Living daily life in a Hawaiian vacation state of mind

I’ve been to the Hawaiian island of Kauai a few times, and while I am not a fan of sun and heat, I am a huge fan of the way a lot of people there live. I’ve consistently seen folks of Kauai being kinder and more courteous than people anywhere else in North America, even in high tension situations like rush hour traffic. I’ve also seen lots of large families having get-togethers and bbq’s on the beach — they seem to really value quality time together. And I’ve seen a lot of older people being really active, like surfing and even doing sit-ups at the beach.

I think all of that is amazing. Those are things that I value greatly, and things that I feel get lost in the hectic madness of the North American world. We’re always so busy trying to get ahead, get better jobs, make more money, and buy nicer stuff, that we neglect the stuff that actually makes us happier — like being kind, spending time with people we care about, doing fun things, and staying fit and active.

But what I don’t understand is that most people go to places like Hawaii for vacations to get just a short taste of what life is like when those things are prioritized over rat race stuff. They spend a week there, relax, have a great time…and then head home and jump right back into the rat race.

If people like the pace of life while they’re on vacation in Hawaii, if they like it so much that it’s what they want to escape to when they have some time off, why don’t they just incorporate some qualities of Hawaiian/vacation living into their daily lives so they get small doses of it all the time?

I don’t know. I think probably because we don’t want to stand out from our suburban neighbours and look like some sort of lazy hippie weirdos. And I think it’s tough to change your habits. And I think most people aren’t self-aware enough to realize that they could be much happier and healthier.

Personally, I think most of us would benefit from a bit more of a Hawaiian vacation approach to our entire lives.


I looked up “family on vacation” pics and found this. Not what I had in mind but I’ll run with it.


Nancy’s Relationship Corner

I’m proud of myself because I came up with a neat idea for keeping the peace in relationships that I’m going to share here. It’s basically this: if you ask your partner for a favour, it’s nice to do something nice for them in return for that favour. It’s like a positive tit-for-tat kind of thing.

The way this came about is that Jenn often asks me to help her with horse chores, which can be pretty time-consuming. I generally don’t mind it but just for fun, when she asked me to help with another horse chore recently I said I gladly would, if she agreed to do something nice with me as repayment. I asked her to take the dog for a hike with me the next day, and it was a dandy time. The next chore she needed help with, I asked her to play a game of Scrabble with me that night. Today I helped her with another horse thing but I haven’t decided on what I’d like in repayment yet. She suggested stopping by my work to hang out with me there, which I really like, so maybe we’ll do that.

To be clear, I don’t ask Jenn to go split a cord of firewood while I watch soap operas and eat bonbons. The point of this exchange is to use it as a means to spend more quality time together.

I can’t believe I’ve never thought of this before, or heard anyone else mention it. I guess it’s perhaps sickeningly sweet — maybe lots of people already do it but just don’t talk about it for fear of making their friends gag and retch.


Speaking of couples making other people gag and retch.

But I’m really happy with how it’s going so far so I wanted to share it.


And one more gross couple pic for good measure.

the social value of the slideshow

46fb85a362233890c6f8c69c7f50d9c5lately i’ve been thinking about slideshow parties a lot. when i was a kid, my dad had a whole bunch of slides like the ones in the pic, and i found them fascinating. they were just tiny translucent versions of regular photographs my dad had taken but they were in hard little frames, and you had to put them in a slide projector to show them to people. it seemed like a really cumbersome system to me but i liked it a lot anyway. i don’t think my dad ever showed his slides to anyone, at least not that i can remember, but i looked through them sometimes, holding them up to the light and squinting to make out the tiny image.

i think that the idea behind slides was to have a bunch of people over and show them pics from your latest vacation or whatever, have a little slideshow party with your friends. just like how people used to show their 8mm film on projectors in the 50’s or 60’s, like a scene from the wonder years.


in that sense, i still think slideshow parties are a swell group activity. when i think about friends going on vacations, i want them to invite the gang over for a slideshow of their pics once they get home. i wouldn’t even mind the fact we would all be using computers and digital photos. there’s just something about getting together with friends and showing photos and chatting about our adventures that i think is really warm and old-fashioned.

i know with most people posting their shit on facebook and instagram now, it might seem pointless and inconvenient to bother with slideshow parties but i think the social aspect is invaluable, especially as we get older and find it harder to meet up with friends. i want to keep finding reasons to get together, hang out, and spend quality time with pals.

ben, i’m looking at you right now.