“I’M GOING TO MAUI!”–When you win your dream vacation
posted by: Amber Johnson
A funny thing happened four years ago when I was selected as the grand prize winner of Microsoft Office’s nationwide contest to be their accredited blogger at the 2010 Vancouver Games: I started to think like a winner.
B.O. (Before Olympics), my contest batting average stunk. When I’d enter to win something, I’d just assume I wouldn’t win and I never did.
A.O. (Après Olympics) when I’d enter to win something, I’d assume I would win.
I’d like to call this a winning mentality but here’s the thing: I haven’t won anything since then so I have been more of a one-hit wonder, “I-think-I’m-a-winner-but-have-loser-tendencies-type person.”
Until last week.
Hawaii has been at the top of my bucket list for several years. So when I heard about a luncheon at the Oxford Hotel hosted by the Maui Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, I resolved to finally start planning my family’s future vacation. A girl can dream, right?
Upon check-in, we dropped our business cards into a raffle drawing and then briefly met with various tourism reps in a speed dating format. I became convinced that Maui was the perfect island for my family with its combination of scenic natural wonders, Hawaiian culture and idyllic mountain and beach adventures.
As I prepared to leave, Kelii Brown, Director of Public Relations and Promotions at the Maui Visitors & Convention Bureau, announced he was going to do the drawing for the grand-prize giveaway: two round-trip airline tickets, six nights lodging (two nights each at the Kaanapali Beach Hotel, Hotel Moloka’i, and the Fairmont Kea Lani) and a rental car.
I loudly quipped “Just to warn you, I dropped 10 business cards into the bucket.”
Five seconds later, they announced my name. In an out-of-body moment, I panicked, retracted with “Just kidding, totally legit here!”
I instinctively jumped up like I was the next contestant on the Price is Right, but Kelii (who has zero resemblance to Bob Barker or Drew Carey) did not make any indication it was appropriate to maul him. So, in a Mary Katherine Gallagher “Superstar” moment, I lunged forward and shouted:
“I’M GOING TO MAUI!”
The organizers said it was their best reaction yet. I’m sure my fellow attendees who had not won thought otherwise.
On a funny sidenote: The only time I’ve ever been to Hawaii was when I was five and my dad won a trip from a raffle at work. It’s about time something ran in the family other than big feet and crappy eyesight.
My husband was, of course, thrilled at the news and we quickly decided to bring our kids along because they are dying to go to Hawaii. We figured even with that additional cost (the trip is only for two people) along with paying the taxes, food and activities, it will be so worth it. We also decided to tack on two extra nights at Napili Kai Beach Resort.
To surprise the kids, we concocted a treasure hunt with the final clue leading them to my son’s (messy) bedroom where I had set out his tropical swim suit and Hawaiian shirt. Their reaction at the news?
Note: It became slightly less enthusiastic when we announced most of our Christmas money would go toward paying for them to come on the trip but we all feel lucky and extremely blessed.
Now, excuse me while I go buy a lottery ticket.
What activities, beaches, hikes, hotels and food do you recommend on Maui and Molokai? On my bucket list: to take my first surfing lesson, go whale watching, take the kids snorkeling for the first time, drive the Hāna Highway, go to a luau, swim with the sea turtles, hike and swim in a waterfall, visit a pineapple plantation, climb to Haleakala National Park and of course, enjoy plenty of beach time. And stay tuned for details of our adventures after our February trip.