A Grand Summer

Aloha kākou!

As many of you may already know, Hoapili and I are preparing to embark on an amazing journey around the world. We are so excited I can hardly contain it! To catch anyone up who doesn’t know details, we will be leaving Hilo on May 24th, we stop in Honolulu then Seattle for the night and on the 25th we have a straight-shot flight to Iceland. We are renting a camper van from Kuku Campers in Reykjavik and will tour around the island staying in camping spots until the 31st. I am really looking forward to living the #vanlife in another country, let alone Iceland! From there we will take an EasyJet flight to Edinburgh and will have a car rental to tour Scotland for a week. We’ll be exploring up in the highlands, Inverness, and Grantown, a town that my ancestor started back in the 1700’s! We will of course be in Glasgow for a couple days as well. Next, we will be hoping over with RyanAir to Dublin. I can’t wait to return to Ireland- it is one of my favorite countries! We will also have a rental car here and will be going to Dublin, Waterford, Killarney, Dingle Peninsula, and Galway for another week before hoping over with RyanAir again to Amsterdam. We have an airbnb in a town outside the city and will be going into Amsterdam as well as checking out other towns like Zaanse Schans, Bruges and Leiden over a weeks time.

The next month of our journey is a much anticipated destination for me. I have wanted to go to Italy since I was little, it was even a dream of mine to move there and live in Tuscany! I feel so blessed that we will have a whole month there to explore. We will start by flying into Sicily from Amsterdam, with Transavia Airlines. While in Italy we will be visiting these towns/places: Sicily, Naples, Capri, Pompei, Rome, Vatican City, Tivoli, Siena, the medieval city of San Gimignano, Florence, Rimini, Zelarino (town outside of Venice where we will be camping on a mini organic farm and going into the city), Padua, Verona, Lake Como (Mandello del Lario), and Milan. Our last day in Europe will be July 21st and from there we will be traveling with Royal Air Moroc in route to Montreal, but!, we have almost a full day layover in Casablanca, Morocco! The airline puts you up in a nearby hotel and we plan on going out that evening and exploring the city the next day. We are totally excited for this addition to the trip that we hadn’t been expecting!

When we arrive in Montreal, we will be visiting with both of Hoapilis grandmas and his brother who all live in Vermont and will be driving up to meet us. We’ll have an airbnb there for all of us to stay in as well. After a nice weekend exploring another exciting place, we will board a greyhound bus to South Carolina! Yes, you read that right. We will be traveling by bus from Canada to South Carolina… 31 hour trip! As long as it is though, I am really looking forward to the scenery we will get to see. Once we arrive we will be staying with my grandparents on the lake and hopefully my mom will join us too! Especially cause she’s our ride back up north! We’ll ride with her to Kentucky and then take another bus (Megabus has the best deals I’ve found so far) to Indianapolis! Hoapilis father and sister live there as well as my best friend Cami so we will enjoy seeing them. Our last leg of the trip is another greyhound bus from Indiana to Colorado Springs to see my sister, brother-in-law and my niece! Plus, my dad is planning on joining us from Arizona for the weekend! 🙂

As you can tell, we are pretty dang excited and are literally counting the days. Traveling is huge part of my life. I crave it. I yearn to learn new and exciting things, see new things with my actual eyes, meet new and interesting people from all over the world and form bonds with them that will last a lifetime. It has been close to two years since I went abroad and the desire to adventure again is strong. This trip though, I get to be with Hoapili and hopefully watch that same travel bug get him too. I can’t praise backpacking enough…it broadens horizons, you really do “find yourself” at times, and you really embrace that sense of adventure. Not to mention how care free you feel and how its pretty much fun 100% of the time.

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It may be obvious to many of you, but this trip would not have been as easy to accomplish if we hadn’t been doing the van life. We have been able to save so much money, we spend the least amount with all extra money going to fund this trip. Saving money in this day in age is no easy task, and when we saw the benefit in this lifestyle and how it could actually help us get ahead in life, we jumped on it. So my message to all of you guys is to think outside the box. We don’t always have to live our lives how we are told to, the “normal” way. There are ways to live alternatively and still be a functioning member of society. By the time we leave for our trip we will only have been in our van for 7 months and we are already reaping the benefits from it! Live life the way you want to, not the cookie cutter way that we are fed to believe is the only way.

On a side note, I want to also explain that I did all of my own planning for this entire trip. It is almost all planned out, with all accommodation, transportation, etc. Basically the only thing left to do is book the trains for our Italy portion, but it is too far out and the train schedules aren’t even available for June/July yet! I did do all the planning, and I don’t want it to come across as easy or quick to do. I have literally been working on this since the end of the year or even earlier than that. Over Christmas break I had plenty of time to lots of research and mapped out our trip and once school started, I have spent pretty much any free time I had planning more and booking hostels, hotels, camp sites, airbnb’s, car rentals, ferry rides, calculating how much money we’ll need for food, etc. I know I am no expert, but I feel like I know the ropes pretty well and feel like the research I do is very methodical to insure I get the best quality for the cheapest or most reasonable price. Since this is such a long trip and its during summer, the peak season, I felt that the only way to do this trip on a budget was if I booked everything in advanced so that prices weren’t through the roof and/or there were no places left for us to stay. When we return, I am considering creating my own business where I do what I did for our trip, for others. A travel agent, per say. I am still in the beginning stages of how I will exactly go about it but I have had one customer so far! I want to be able to offer everything from the basics like tips and ideas, giving a cost approximation on a trip you want to take, to even planning the entire thing. I want people to realize that traveling is possible and anyone can do it!

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Anyway, until next time! I have a confession to make in my next blog entry.

Na’u me ke aloha nui,

Na Leilani

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4 thoughts on “A Grand Summer

  1. Wow! You’re awesome! This sounds like the trip of a lifetime! I’m so excited for you both! Maybe you can plan a trip for us one day! I’m counting down the days for you and I love you!

  2. I am so happy for you, but probably most of all- proud. You make me smile and explode with pride not only when I read about what you’re doing, but also when I talk about you with friends and family. What is the Hawaiian word for this feeling of pride for a daughter? Okay, I’m proud, but I’m also quite jealous of this trip of a lifetime:) I love you so.
    Love,
    Mommy

  3. Oh, and by the way, from a writing standpoint… nice cliffhanger or hook at the end of your post so we look forward to learning of your confession… !
    Love ya,
    Mommy

  4. Wow! We are following along with you on this adventure of a lifetime! All of us are living vicariously through you! You both are so bold and brave, doing things everyone secretly wishes they could do! Stay safe, be careful and stay happy! I love you’
    Nanny

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