Hawaiian Photo Journey 2014 | GoodNCrazy Photography

2014 April 19

Imagine you decide to save up the money to send your child on a high school band trip to Hawaii!

Now imagine YOU are traveling with the high school band to Hawaii!

 Hawaiian Sunset by Carissa Rogers GoodNCrazy.com

Now let it sink in, there will be 90 students on the trip and just as many parents and family member ‘Tag-a-Longs’! You aren’t a ‘chaperone’, there are teachers and Band leaders aboard for that. You are simply extra on a group tour of over 180 people, traveling 3,000 miles away—with 6 time zones of jetlag between. They will be tooting their horns at Pearl Harbor is the main reason for the trip. With a lot of extra going on as well.

—That is a LOT of people in one tour group!—


daughter hawaii carissa rogers

I basically never saw my daughter on this trip. I wasn’t of the opinion she ‘needed’ me to stowaway on the trip but her FATHER wasn’t about to let his 16 year old travel that far for that long without her own specific grown-up nearby.  There were a few times when I was able to help her out but no real situations she couldn’t have dealt with on her own. And wow I was impressed and shocked with just how carefully and extremely they kept these kids in control! TAPING their rooms from the outside with a large strip of tape each night, for example. I have NEVER seen that trick before!!

When I did see her, it was like capturing a photo of a rare and exotic creature on the island!

Instead, there I am with 90+ other parents I don’t know very well, basically on a 6 day tour of Oahu. Oh and by the way, not to brag but this will be my THIRD trip to Oahu. Once as a huge surprise from my husband and once to return with our kids. (The flight is much easier and cheaper from the West Coast where we lived.) I wasn’t super excited about this trip if you can’t tell.

There’s a happy ending though, so stay with me.

3 Part Strategy for a Blogger to Enjoy Oahu Alone

  1. I figured I would turn it into a photo-journey; just me and my Nikon snapping photos of tropical paradise.
  2. I also contacted a tour company to see if I could line up a Travel writing opportunity and Viator.com was happy to play with me (more on that part of the journey over on TravelingMom.com next week).
  3. Plus I wondered what it would be like to try out my new jogging/exercise thing on the streets of Waikiki??

I was able to accomplish all three. First I’m happy to share a few (hundred) of my favorite photos during the trip (a WHOLE Basket Load of more photos are on my Flickr stream if you’d like to see more…). Like I said a review of a Viator.com online booking of an Island Eco Tour through Discover Hawaii Tours will be coming on TravelingMom soon.

Jogging in Waikiki: Surprisingly Easy and Hard at the Same Time!

 Streets of waikiki palm trees jogging in hawaii carissa rogers

Jogging in Waikiki is both perfect and surprisingly hard at the same time! Mainly there are simply too many people along the ocean view street called Kalakaua Street. One of my roommates suggested I try running along the canal street a few blocks north of the Ocean where we were staying. It was perfect, the sidewalk along the Ala Wai Canal has no breaks or street lights! I got in about a 3 mile round trip in the evening after our day tour but before dinner. There are plenty of people out walking, strolling and jogging but not so many it’s crowded. I definitely felt safe. And the whole strip of Waikiki is relatively flat and LITERALLY sea level.

The morning our tour group was shuttling to and then hiking up nearby Diamond Head Crater, I opted to leave 45 minutes earlier and jog to the Crater. I mapped it at just under 2 miles. Easy Right?


Remember, I’ve been to Diamond Head twice before… in fact, one of the times walking back to Waikiki after hiking the side of the ancient volcano! Yeah, apparently I forgot that the whole journey to the Crater from Waikiki is ALL UPHILL.

Also my map was only giving me the distance to the ‘entry’ of the park. It was another half mile (more uphill) distance to the meeting point inside the crater with the group. Oops. I made it with several minutes to spare, but just so we’re clear…

Jogging from Waikiki to Diamond Head State Park is a 2.5+ mile uphill run.

And it took me nearly 40 minutes to complete it from the eastern end of Waikiki.  I happily rode the shuttle back to our hotel after the 1.5 mile round trip hike to the top of Diamond Head! But the return jog back to Waikiki would be ALL downhill in case you plan to try it out.  Oh and the photos from the top of Diamond Head are TOTALLY worth the hike by the way!

 Waikiki view from diamond head hawaii hike crater volcano carissa rogers

Traveling to Hawaii to Finally Make Friends from Back Home?

One of the main reasons I dragged my feet about this trip in the first place is I don’t know these people. I’ve had several chances to get to know Band Moms, but I was either cheering on my kid during a competition or helping with a fundraiser or I don’t know what else? But becoming friends with these folks hasn’t been working out, maybe something is wrong with me? Or maybe they’re just not my people?

Either way… 6 days on a gigantic group tour didn’t sound like a winning equation.

Roommates hawaii 2014 carissa rogersAlso, since I was alone as a parent I opted to share my hotel room with 2 other moms to save on hotel costs. Plus there were several other moms on the trip who were traveling alone as well. In the end I happily got to know 6 or 7 other moms and genuinely feel like I made new friendships. Turns out, they all felt about the same as I did about not getting to know other parents before and sort of dreading this trip!

It wasn’t just me after all! I wish the parents of such a huge band could be more friendly and inclusive, but I think the size of the group (there are over 150 band kids total) is a bit of a hindrance. I mean, I’m the most social person I know, and if I can’t figure out how to break into a group this size, there’s bound to be others in my same position. Anyway, it’s kinda crazy, but I traveled all the way to Honolulu to finally make friends with people I’m genuinely interested in from my own back yard!!

It’s Photo Time!!

 kids jumping in the surf ocean at waimea bay hawaii oahu carissa rogers

View of diamond head from waikiki beach oahu hawaii carissa rogers

woman kissing hawaiian native giving honi honi carissa rogers photography

Hawaiian Shack at Kualoa Ranch near secret island Carissa Rogers Photography

high school band concert at pearl harbor patriotic songs carissa rogers photography

USS Arizona Memorial over the top of the sunken battle ship in Pearl Harbor 2014 carissa rogers photography

Pearl Harbor US Navy plaque with Arizona Memorial in background carissa rogers photography

 Surf Shop at North Shore Oahu near Hale Ewa Carissa Rogers photography

Koi feeding frenzy in the Dole Plantation Hawaii Oahu Carissa Rogers photography

Not a sponsored post, The Viator.com post will be on TravelingMom next week.
More (SO SO many more) photos over on my Flickr Album.

Oahu Travel Writing:

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4 Responses
  1. April 19, 2014

    Oh my goodness, I am so jealous. Truthfully I had never had the desire to go to Hawaii, until now. Your photos are just gorgeous and it sounds like you had an amazing trip. Happy to hear that you met all your goals and had a great time, as well!
    Twitter: mym0mmybrain

  2. April 21, 2014

    Love the pictures, they’re very postcard-esque you do a great job with photography!! Love that you were able to enjoy Hawaii and get to know some band moms in the process, things are a lot easier when you don’t have daily life to keep you busy, probably just what you needed!!
    Twitter: mommybknowsbest

  3. April 22, 2014

    I wanna go! Waaaah! Hawaii is one of those places that I’ve always wanted to visit. It’s so beautiful there.
    Twitter: mamamommymom

  4. April 28, 2014

    Your band trip to Hawaii was WAY MORE fun than my trip to Hawaii… and I’ve only been once! POUT….

    When my son was a high school freshman, the band marched in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. I tagged along because I was uncomfortable with my young son going that far alone! We had a ton of fun — and I got to know band moms too. Double win!
    Twitter: karen_dawkins

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