By far and away, my favourite place on the entire planet earth is Sunset Beach, Oahu, Hawaii, USA.
I feel very strongly about this and I suspect if you've ever been there you might too. Now, I don't come by this decision lightly. In my pre-SAHM life, I worked on a cruise ship for two years and travelled extensively throughout the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, the Baltic, New England and small parts of South America and North Africa. Before working on the cruise ship, I also travelled extensively throughout Europe, Canada and the United States. I have travelled to well over 300 cities in more than 35 different countries. Granted I have not been to far more places than I have been, and certainly many people have been to many more places than me, but my point is that I chose the place I think is the best in the world based on fairly extensive research and study.
Sunset Beach is exceptional. I just love it. Honestly, my dream job would be for the Hawaiian Tourist Board to pay me to talk about how much I love Hawaii in general, and Sunset Beach in particular. Seriously. If anyone who ever reads this post at any time has any pull whatsoever with the powers that be in Hawaii, I would gladly work as a Hawaiian ambassador for the cost of a couple of shave ice coupons and a few weeks accommodation in Hawaii every January. Hawaii is simply divine.
Now. No offence to many of the lovely places in the Caribbean or Mexico that I've been, but Hawaii has almost a spiritual feel to it that those other places just don't. I think there's something about the vibration of the mountains and the land and the people and the ocean that gives it a certain special energy I've never found anywhere else. It certainly goes beyond the Aloha Spirit. Hawaii even smells different. As soon as you step off the plane you're hit with a waft of warm, Hawaiian air that smells like a floral bouquet and an ocean breeze and a mountain mist all at the same time. It's divine.
And as for Sunset Beach specifically, well it represents everything wonderful about Hawaii all in one location. Where do I begin?
Let's start with the obvious. The sand. The sand at Sunset Beach is nothing like what you'd think I'd say is perfect. No, it isn't white or black or pink or anything unique like that. It's just perfect, unpretentious sand colour. What's special about the sand at Sunset Beach is it's texture. If you haven't been there, you probably think I'm going to say it's just like powdered sugar or something extra fine and soft like that, but actually, the sand at Sunset Beach is not powdery at all. It's made up of about a billion little tiny super smooth round pebbles. Imagine a perfect smooth stone and then make it tiny tiny tiny tiny tiny. Minuscule. A grain of sand at Sunset Beach is a perfect tiny little pebble. I wish I could describe it better than that. The effect when you're walking on it is like a wonderful foot massage performed by the expert hands of a million miniature elves. It feels fantastic.
What else is wonderful about Sunset Beach? Well, the weather is irrelevant because when it's beautiful and sunny, it's fabulous, and when it's rainy and stormy it's dramatic and exciting. You'll love it regardless of what the weather is doing, which can definitely be unpredictable on the North Shore.
The surf is always high and the waves are always crashing and rolling to shore in the most thrilling way. I'm not a surfer, but I understand Sunset Beach is one of the better spots for surfing in the entire world. Every winter, Quicksilver hosts the Big Wave International surf competition and when the waves are big, the surfers are out on the water putting on a spectacular display of athleticism and talent. It's extremely exciting to watch. The guys and gals on these huge waves are totally fearless as they're dwarfed by the enormous curls of the ocean. I've been lucky enough to watch some surfing at Sunset Beach on a couple of big wave days and it was pretty fantastic.
The funny this about Sunset Beach is it's not one of these ultra-secluded remote secret places that only the locals know about and the tourist are lucky to find. It's on the main route around Oahu and you can spot it easily from the road. Even if it looks busy though, take the time to stop and stay, because the beach is huge and you'll have no problem finding a wonderful secluded spot to sit and relax. I could just about cry as I write this in my den in North Vancouver, staring out at the perpetually grey day. Oh how I long to be at Sunset!
Last year, I was there with my dad, my husband and my daughter and had fun playing with my dad's "paparazzi lens" on his camera. This was my favourite shot from the day:
I just love the way Csilla is up on her adorable little tippy-toes holding onto Daddy's hand. This picture makes my heart sing. The three loves of my life all in one shot - Balazs, Csilla and Sunset Beach!
If anyone reads this and cares to share a description of their favourite place in the world I'd love to hear it. I'm always looking for new places to visit, but I doubt anything will be able to replace Sunset Beach in my heart.