Kauai has been on my mind lately. As some of you know, next year we are supposed to spend four nights in Oahu on our way to Japan I thought I made my peace with not visiting Kauai on that particular trip. It really didn’t make sense to split four nights between two Hawaiian islands.
But then Southwest announced a new route from Oahu to Kauai. With a rate of 2,700 Rapid Rewards points per roundtrip flight, we could do a day trip. After all, we’ve done it before while vacationing in Maui in 2002.
Of course, we didn’t have kids in 2002, and we didn’t fly to Japan afterwards. Still, this is Kauai we are talking about. I couldn’t get the island out of my mind, so when I got enough miles, it was a no-brainer as to where we would end up going. The year was 2006, the week of Thanksgiving.
We had a layover in LAX and to my surprise, Pierce Brosnan (former James Bond) and his entourage boarded our plane bound for Kauai. My VRBO hosts later told me that he has a vacation house there. There was a woman in her early thirties as well as a young girl traveling with him, and they ended up sitting in the row ahead of us. James Bond himself flew in first class. I’m not sure if they joined him at the last minute and had no option other than sit in coach. I didn’t ask.
I remember him coming over midway through the flight and affectionately asking “How are my girls?” I didn’t try to listen in on the conversation but like I said, they were right in front of us. I assumed it was his daughter and possibly granddaughter. It was neat to see him not as a celebrity, but as a regular guy, just another doting father/grandfather.
After landing, we went our separate ways. Me and my husband to our $65/per night rental, them to 6.5 million dollar estate. We all seemed equally excited to be in Kauai. This would be the end of the story, just an amusing anecdote to share with friends. Except in 2013 I’ve read a headline that Pierce Brosnan’s daughter died from ovarian cancer at the age of 41. I don’t really follow the lives of celebrities, but in our celebrity-obsessed culture you would have to live under a rock not to know certain things.
Anyway, a normal person would think it was sad and move on. But I’m not a normal person. I had to go down the rabbit hole and find out if it was her on the plane. The photo looked familiar. I remembered that the little girl was around seven in 2006. Was there a daughter who was fourteen at the time of death? There was. It had to be them.
I was very sad to learn that my hunch was correct. It’s weird because our lives intersected for a brief moment. The fact that she was related to a celebrity didn’t make it any more or less tragic. Nor was it unique. I’m sure that most people on that plane have experienced some sort of tragedy in the following seven years. It’s just that I wouldn’t have any way of knowing about it.
Looking at our photos of Kauai made me think about the whole thing again. Maybe it’s because I have a young daughter or maybe it’s because I’m not that far off from turning 41 myself. I will always have a tinge of sadness thinking about Kauai and that little girl who would only have seven years left with her mom.
Just yesterday Nancy published a post Should families prioritize financial perfection over vacations? It generated quite a bit of discussion in the comment section as well as our Facebook page Many felt that life is too unpredictable to put off travel until everything is just right financially.
I can attest to the fact that health is not guaranteed when you retire, that is if you even make it that far. My 77-year-old father-in-law will need two major surgeries in the next six months. We have already booked his ticket to Japan, but everything is obviously up in the air. Did we wait too long to take that trip with him? I think so. Of course, hindsight is 20/20, and life often gets in the way of travel plans.
I don’t know if we’ll end up going to Kauai for a day trip. I want to, and my husband said he is OK with it. Sure, Kauai deserves more than eight hours. But if that’s all I got, maybe I should just go for it? Who knows if the opportunity will present itself again.
Leana is the founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.