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Best Places Hawaii, home of The Hawaii State Vacation Planner, proudly announces the winner of their "Love Stories of Hawaii" promotion for 2006. The lucky winner was Brenda Cole from Reisterstown, MD.
Submitted by Brenda Cole
Tickets to Hawaii should come with a warning -- something like "CAUTION: Hawaii is a life-altering experience. Proceed at your own risk."
My husband and I lived a life that many found glamorous -- each of us in high-powered positions with Fortune 500 companies. Our 6-figure salaries and big expense accounts had us traveling internationally and eating at the best restaurants.
The major drawback was that our jobs were some 450 miles away from each other; mine in Columbus, Ohio and his in Baltimore, Maryland. I had a condo in Columbus where I stayed during the week, and my husband lived in our Baltimore home. We also owned a small lake cabin in North Carolina, and on most weekends, I would either fly home to Baltimore or meet my husband at the cabin. This life all seemed perfectly workable and normal to us.
Then we went to Hawaii. Ten days away from our jobs was almost unthinkable, but we took our cell phones and laptops, left contact information, and planned to call in for conference calls ... and off we went.
We arrived in Hawaii late on a Monday evening, so we just returned some calls, checked our email, had a drink at the bar, and went to bed. On Tuesday, we put our bathing suits on and headed to the pool -- laptops and cell phones in tow.
By Friday, the transformation had already begun. Neither of us made any attempt to contact our offices that day. I could see physical changes in my husband, too. He was calmer and more "engaged." He was always "engaged" in work, but now he was engaged in life, conversations, and his surroundings. He held my hand when we walked, stared ardently at me over dinner, and would steal kisses whenever the opportunity presented itself. I was changing as well, and the new me loved the new him. Our marriage was always loving, but tended to operated a bit like a business arrangement (our comfort zone). Now a tender romance was developing.
Towards the end of our trip, we realized that we needed a lifestyle change. But who was going to be the one to leave their job so that we could live together in the same city ... the same house? With heavy hearts, we stood on the beach watching the sunset on our last full day in Hawaii, when my husband whispered, "Let's both quit."
We sold both the condo and house, and now live full-time in the lake cabin. We started a small tourist business that also earns us a 6-figure income -- if you count the two places after the decimal point. Yes, things are tougher financially, but for the first time we are truly happy. Romance, passion, and companionship have enriched our lives immeasurably. Jetting off to Hawaii isn't as easy now, but we're saving and will someday go back to that magical place.
Hawaii will change your life. Consider yourself warned.