Hula dolls, Tiki torches and picture-perfect sunsets – does Hawaii come to mind? That’s where I’ll be in less than two weeks. Ken and I are flying to Maui. We’ll spend some time there and on to Oahu.

Hawaii has been on my radar since I was a teenager. Visions of endless beaches, steep verdant mountains and handsome islanders are some of the images I think of – inspired in part by the original Magnum P.I., not so much by Hawaii Five-0.

But there’s more. About three years ago, on one of our road trips, Ken and I listened to a fascinating book called The Wave by Susan Casey. If you have a chance to get this book, don’t hesitate. Clearly, it’s about waves: ship-destroying 150-foot rogue waves, Tsunamis, climate change and its impact on our oceans. It may sound like a textbook but it reads like a thriller thanks to… surfing. The narrative comes alive as the author follows big-wave surfers who seem more adapted to life on salt water than on land. She explores their intimate relationship with big waves and their adrenaline-fueled passion to surf them.

I’m rereading this fascinating book right now. I’m thrilled that we will be in Hawaii during winter, the big-wave season. It’s when tranquil snorkeling beaches turn into life-threatening no-go zones. It’s the season big-wave surfers thirst after.

So you won’t be surprised to learn that the first thing on my to-do-in-Hawaii list isn’t sipping umbrella drinks under Tiki torches while taking in a spectacular sunset, it’s watching the big-wave surfers – from a safe lookout onshore.


Travels with Lili-Didi

“Have you ever been to New Orleans Café in Thamel?”

“Yes, that’s where we ate last year when my arm was in a cast.”

“I like that place. What about Helena?”

“No, I’ve never eaten there. Have you been to the Garden of Dreams?”

“No, I’ve been coming here for 12 years and I’ve never been to that park.”

“We’ve got to go, you’ll love it.” Continue reading Travels with Lili-Didi

Back in Kathmandu

Arriving in Kathmandu is always entertaining. The airport’s arrivals hall is dimly lit; the décor is dark wood paneling and deep red bricks over slate flooring. Charcoal-coloured counters worn from long use line one side of the room. On these counters, arriving travelers must fill out their Immigration declaration. The most interesting question on the form, your gender: male, female or other. Continue reading Back in Kathmandu

There are stories down every road.