Something about travel both fills a void and creates one.
The void that is filled is the one that yearns for new places…new spaces… unfamiliar experiences. It is a bucket with holes in it, though, and sometimes the holes are small and recent adventures retain and percolate, only slowly seeping away; sometimes though they flow like water through fully opened floodgates and disappear.
The void that is created is the void of loss: all loss, our losses, all time gone by. Visiting historical sites that were once thriving, if struggling, communities, now earmarks on downturned corners of a tour guide and casual photo opp’s. Their significance is discernible but not entirely tangible. (Who can truly imagine the essence of a place a hundred years after its demise?)
The void is history. The void is that desire to know but to be unable to grasp.
The wind that blows today on the north Kohala Coast of Hawai’i is the same blustery wind that blew on the Hawaiians of the fishing village of Lapakahi centuries ago. These days, folks visiting Lapakahi get back into their climate-controlled cars when the wind gets strong and head back to their hotel, the beach…whatever’s next on the list.
There’s a certain hunger we all have to know what it would be like to not have that option. To only have the hut with pili grass roof to guard against the elements. To have to build and maintain and wonder if our skills are solid enough to keep our walls sturdy enough. We’d like to know if we could do it, but most of us don’t really want to find out if we can.
This is where Arvin and I stayed on our overnight visit to Hawi. The Kohala Village Inn is affordable and nice. Classic old Hawaiiana. The real article. It’s a little bit noisy at times, but that’s what you get for staying in a village inn in the middle of an old, once-sugarland-now-artsy village on the green slopes of the Kohala coast. If you stay there, spend a few minutes and talk story with Annie, who’s been working the desk for 7 years. She’s a delight. Genuine. Born and raised.
If you go to Hawi, you must have dinner at Bamboo Restaurant & Gallery. Or lunch. They’re closed Sunday dinner and possibly Monday.