Hawaii calling


Eventually, everything ends up in the ocean.

If you follow Ocean Minded on Instagram (@beoceanminded), you'll see that powerful sentence on their profile page. It rang true for me the second I read it.

True in the ecological and environmental sense, and for me and everyone at SwimVacation, true on a very personal level.

Photo-May-14-6-09-43-PM-1024x1024No matter what is going on in my life, eventually, inevitably, I always end up in the sea - it's where I find balance and restoration. It's where I find joy. It's not always an easy place to be, but it's where my body and soul wants to be. And when I'm submerged, I feel like I've come home.

Ocean Minded is a cool footwear and apparel company founded on this idea: Be Ocean Minded. Their motto is Live. Protect. Respect. They use recycled and sustainable materials for their products, and beyond that, the company organizes beach cleanups and general good things to leave the ocean better than we find it. I met OM's Bob Tanner at a trade show last year, and in the course of our conversation it became clear that SwimVacation and Ocean Minded could find synergy in our connection with and appreciation of the sea.

Last night I took a trip down memory lane and re-read my first blog post as I prepared to scout Kona for SwimVacation, almost exactly one year ago. I remember wondering if, how, Hawaii would fit into our roster of swimming destinations. Sitting right here at my desk then, I could only imagine. What I found when I got to Hawaii - in addition to lovely weather and a deep, blue, welcoming Pacific - was a culture of very ocean-minded people. Hawaiians are folks in whose veins the ocean drives a pulse. The Pacific is an intrinsic part of their lives. It surrounds them. Everyone - men, women and children alike - swim, surf, SUP (stand up paddle board), canoe, free dive. In between the various ocean-borne activities they sit along the shore. Conversations are carried on while looking out into a vast, rhythmic expanse. The Pacific is family. So needless to say when I opened myself to Hawaii, I found home. And I knew for certain that SwimVacation would too.

What was most important to me upon my return from Kona was that the indelible ocean-minded culture of Hawaii be a major character in this SwimVacation experience. One year has passed and Hopper and I have worked hard to put together what I hope will be an outstanding, rejuvenating adventure for our guests. We found a modern yet traditional home to be our base of operations - designed by a local architect, this spectacular Hale celebrates Hawaii's tradition of open air living along the water's edge. The beautiful structure is built exclusively with sustainable hard woods harvested from less than 50 miles away. We found the perfect private chef duo in Clare and Dan Bobo. They will nourish us all week with the finest and freshest ingredients Hawaii has to offer - coming from local fishermen and farmers' markets. We've found a local life guard to guide with us - Ryan McGuckin will join us on SUP and be our man on the ground, full of stories of a life spent in Hawaii. Incidentally, in Ryan's Instagram feed, he uses the hashtag #luckywelive . He knows how special his island home is and is ready to share. We've also forged relationships with other local providers in our effort to give our guests an authentic Hawaiian experience. And as the colors, flavors and spirit of this place seep into us, we'll take to the Pacific - nothing but suits, caps and goggles, simple and pure - for an unfettered connection with this ocean and all it has to offer.

OM_Logo_No2So it made perfect sense to collaborate with Ocean Minded for our first SwimVacation experience in Hawaii - their sea celebrating philosophy is a perfect fit with ours. They were kind enough to send along some cool goodies for our guests (swag bags in your rooms on arrival!), and they'll be linking to our SwimVacation blog this week. In addition, we'll be posting some pics from our experience to their Instagram account (@beoceanminded), so follow along and feel our excitement for this experience coming from all corners.

It's mid May in Maine - spring was here about a week ago but it must have gotten tired of our desperate exuberance for it, and today felt more like fall. I'm wearing a few more layers than I'd like as I sit here in my studio, preparing for my second swimming trip to Kona. A year ago I had no idea what was ahead of me. Today I am antsy and ready to get back. Here we come Hawaii, here we come Pacific, ready to Live, Protect and Respect everything you've got to offer us. We'll do so the way we always do on SwimVacation: Swim, Relax, Repeat.

Huh. I already feel like a week won't be long enough.

It's been barely a year and I'm itching to go west. To the Pacific!

- Heather