Leilani before her adventure to the South Pole.
It was really hard for me not to include in my book a whole bunch of stuff about Hawaii that didn’t have anything to do with disasters. Finally though, my editor convinced me that I could still tell my readers about it, but here on my blog! Ha! So welcome to a little slice of my life that I like to call, Stopping to Smell the Roses.
Hawaii is one of the most beautiful places on Earth, and I have seen quite a few places! The #AlohaSpirit of the place really got to me. I liked Kauai so much that after I was sent there to help with the disaster relief following Hurricane Iniki, I got myself a full time gig as a building inspector (OEP). I lived there only a short time before I became known for my own Aloha Spirit. I figured I arrived with the seed of Aloha Spirit in me, and that the environment of the island really made it bloom.
The post-Iniki marketing campaign to get tourism to return was “Kauai is Back,” and to do my part, I bought “Lailani,” a little island doll, and sent her down to my buddies in the South Pole. They snapped a bunch of photos of this gorgeous island beauty living it up in Antarctica. They then handed her off to someone heading home, and their job was to get the doll back to me. However, the spirit of adventure got the best of Lailani’s escorts, and it took a little over ten months for her to finally get home. When she did, it was clear that she had become a true global traveler and Hawaiian diplomat.
Flight attendants and other travelers took to putting pins and badges on Lailani and then sending her to the next exotic or distant destination. When she got home you could hardly see her for all the evidence of her travels.
If there was any more of an iconic symbol of Hawaii than little Lailani who had traveled the world to spread the word of Kauai’s spirit, it would be hard to beat it.
It wasn’t the last time I would show this spirit, and it never fails to surprise me how people react and respond to it.
Leilani/OEP sign at the South Pole
Leilani ready for her journey