Part 1: A Summer Family Retreat to Wherever and Nowhere Expected

Part 1: A Summer Retreat to Wherever and Nowhere Expected

The first leg of our brave summer family retreat brought us to Oahu, Hawaii. Shaka!

In Hanauma Bay

This summer vacation is not only different, but it’s also special because it commences our family’s terminal leave from active military service. After nearly 25 years in service, my husband will very soon join the elite group of retired military men and women of the US Armed Forces. Because of this, he and I decided to rally our family together in solidarity, hope, and faith by taking a vacation wherein the destinations were dictated by AMC flight availabilities. We are grateful that we had the privilege to prep our family for a new life through an intentional retreat set wherever and nowhere we expect. It wasn’t just a vacation like no other we’ve taken; it was also a getaway of a lifetime!

As a footnote, I’d like to mention that for practically all of our trips and following the AMC procedures and schedules, we went on what’s available and only booked accommodations and car rentals as we landed. Preferably, we wanted to stay in temporary military lodging facilities (TLF) so we could stretch our budget. However, due to ongoing exercises, getting a room on the Base wasn’t always possible. And so, we did a combined TLF, camping (Yes, we roughed it!), and hotel accommodations. And being equipped with the tools and ability to book either direct from vendors as a subagent or through my Priceline powered engine helped a whole lot. I booked and got us a better deal in all our hotel stays including Marriot. Here’s the link to my booking engine, FYI,

Starting a small travel home based online business was also my way of slowly easing into a civilian community. With children to raise and a highly dedicated active duty husband to support, filling the role of a stay-at-home military spouse for most of the previous 20 years of my life was a necessary choice. I hadn’t been able to work for a vast majority of my family’s 14 permanent change of station moves (PCS) plus numerous temporary duty assignments (TDY) in between a PCS, not just because of the transitions involved but also due to frequent deployments and work related travels of my husband. Now that I have the opportunity, albeit in a small capacity to do so, I hope you all will support my effort to earn a little as I transition to a life of a retired Navy wife. So please book your next travel requirements through TIA!

Back to the family summer retreat.

Not rushing through anything, except when we were trying to catch the next flight, Lovesky, and I led our tribe to a vacation of “let’s travel light and see what’s out there”. We encouraged everyone to appreciate the blessings that come with pride, service, sacrifice, honor, and perceived losses and gains. And hoped that through the process we all choose resilience over a fight for control; that we rediscover the power of unity through embracing our unique gifts; that we see that there can’t be peace without magnanimity and forgiveness, embrace joy through choosing happiness even through disappointments, and above all stay in love through all points of the journey.

I chronicled our adventure as best I could through photos and videos. The individual journey, however, isn’t done yet. The discoveries and how each connects will most likely be revealed in future experiences.

For my part, I learned very early on as a child that many of the things happening in my life were beyond my control. From being a recipient of social and cultural injustice to witnessing a massacre to experiencing hateful and divisive narrative that inspired perpetuating acts of terror and violence. I may not have any control of any of that, but I did have the ability to, at the very least, tone down the negatives that would forcibly invade my peace, if not totally had them on a mute setting, so they wouldn’t affect my beautiful sense of wonderment and faith in the goodness of humankind.

Moreover, instead of feeling hopeless of the things I couldn’t control, I needed to refocus my energies towards reigning my reactions and preventing unfortunate, terrible memories be played on a loop in my head. I made a conscious decision to master this slowly, to not just survive, but more so to start acting in love and rationality. It’s not only a lifelong decision; it’s also a continuing process.

As a family, an enormous teachable part of our brave AMC trips is discovering that by being okay with not being in control of events, by being flexible, by focusing on enhancing a better attitude, and by keeping our frustrations in check or by transforming unfortunate events into winning moments, we not only think rationally, but in a big way, we gravitate more towards compassion, forgiveness, and love – especially so during occasions when differing opinions and varying state of beings clash. We realized that by recognizing and embracing the gift of individual differences, we are better as a family.

Consequently, by being okay at not at being in control of certain situations, we became in control of our peace and happiness. As we master the art of following, we also became experts in self-leading.

Maybe, not all my kids will get all of the intended lessons just yet. And that’s okay. After all, my husband and I, depending on circumstances, are ourselves still in varying levels of mastering the art of when to either reign, keep a tight grip, or let go of control. Nonetheless, we’re happy at just being able to plant the seeds.



Oahu, Hawaii was the first leg of our brave family retreat. There was a RIMPAC, world’s largest international maritime warfare exercise, happening during the entire time we were on the island. Still, we had a fabulous time shortly reuniting with few of our wonderful close-as-family friends, even when our arrival came as a surprise. We enjoyed getting reoriented to the picturesque allure of the island. And we had a memorable time food tripping around the island. We were crazy busy sampling everything from the best malasadas, trying out the local coffee offered by Hawaii Kona and Lion Coffee. Likewise, we were on a mission to get a taste of a massive serving of Loco Moco, a local crazy comfort food of ground beef patties slathered with a rich serving of decadent brown gravy and topped with fried egg, served on top of steamed rice with sides of Hawaiian style macaroni salad. The latter not only took us to Ted’s Bakery in North Shore; it also gave us a to-die-for treat of the best chocolate haupia cream pie.



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