Oceania

Hawaii to cap it all off...

Hawaii to cap it all off...

by Betsy Herbert

I can't seem to stay put. I've been home for several months now after taking a year-long trip around the world. I've been working on a book about my travels . . .but I needed a break.

My brother and his wife live in Kauai and they have a guest room. See where I'm going with this?

Just so happens that the IUCN World Conservation Congress was meeting in Honolulu the first week of September. Some of my environmental heroes would be speaking...people like E.O. Wilson, Jane Goodall, Kathryn Sullivan, and Sylvia Earle.

That clinched it. After chatting with my brother Charlie, I booked a flight directly from San Jose to Lihue, Kauai, arriving on August 25. Great flight on Alaska Airlines. It was a small jet with quite a few empty seats. I had a whole row to myself, so I sprawled out.

I drove a rental car from Lihue to Kilauea, where my brother lives, on Kauai's north coast. Traffic was heavy at first, making me wonder if Kauai was really the island getaway I remembered.

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Downunder: Connecting with my inner outback

Downunder: Connecting with my inner outback

Just 10 days before, I was lazing on the beach in Phuket, Thailand, reflecting on my travels over the past three months in Africa and Asia. The next day I boarded a plane in Bangkok, headed for Perth, Australia.

Ah, Australia! I’d be able to drink tap water without worrying about getting sick. I was also looking forward to renting a car. In Africa and Asia, driving a rental car would have been suicidal for a Westerner.

When I got off the plane at Perth Airport just outside of Western Australia's capital city Perth, I wondered where all the people were. It was after midnight. I could see a sky full of stars above the terminal, but there were just a few folks milling around. I drew a deep breath in appreciation of this moment's solitude.

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