We live in Portland, Oregon. You may have heard it’s awesome here. There’s a show about how weird we are (Annoyingly fairly accurate, although any Portlander will tell you they just watched the first season “out of curiosity” then quit watching because, whatever). Our food scene is internationally recognized as badass. And, in spite of our Cost of Living exploding in recent years, it’s still way cheaper than any other major West Coast city. You may also have heard that it rains a lot here. This is true. There are many grey, drizzly days. I know winters are way harsher in other areas. My brother and his family live in Fairbanks, Alaska. It gets stupid cold up there. But in a place with true “winter”, you have gear and a lifestyle to go with it. Here, it is just a dark, damp, 43 degrees with a dash of freezing rain for a HUNDRED EIGHTY DAYS IN A ROW. The weather and lack of light sucks the joy and warmth from your very soul. Essentially, Portland winters are a six month long Dementor’s Kiss. Yes, I am being a dramatic baby. No, I will not work on my attitude. What I will do is support Mr. Bona Fide Money’s enthusiasm for travel hacking so we can get the hell out of dodge 2-3 times a year without derailing our financial goals.
Just this week we got back from a 5 day trip to Maui. We were so excited for this trip. The weather had already turned crummy here (I had to start wearing socks!) and the kids hadn’t been since they were really little so it was going to be new to them. Wouldn’t you know it, Just as we left, Portland weather turned 70 degrees, clear and crisp and Maui decided to be stormy and grey. In fact, on our first full day there, it stormed so hard that the entire island lost power. Largest power outage in the island’s history. There was also extensive flooding. The resort’s pool flooded with something dark and ominous. I’ll not speculate as to what was in there. Suffice it to say- we were not.
So- we couldn’t use the pool, the ocean was dangerous and muddy, the roads were flooded and every indoor activity was closed due to electrical issues. That day my children got a lot of screen time. (Resort restored power after only a few hours) The pool was up and running the next day (really strong chlorine, I noticed) and even though it was still raining super hard, our cabin fever pushed us out to play. The temperature was in the 60’s so as long as we kept hopping in the hot tub, it was plenty warm for being outside. Plus, the novelty of playing in the water in torrential downpours was also pretty fun.
We met two other couples in the hot tub that were visiting Maui for the first time. They were not quite as upbeat about the experience we were all sharing as we were. It’s an expensive island to get to and stay at and through talking to them, it was clear they were paying full retail price for their flights and one of their rooms. I realized that the fact that Mr. Bona Fide Money got our family of 4 plane tickets for almost free and a screaming deal on our room probably made it a lot easier keep a positive attitude about the unfortunate weather. Knowing how many miles we had racked up getting there to be used towards our next vacation didn’t hurt, either. If this had blown our travel budget for the year, I’d have been a little pissy, too.
Yeah, we were disappointed that we couldn’t snorkel or hike to waterfalls but we got to get out of school and work for a week, spend a bunch of time together as a family and be part of Maui’s weather history (yay?). Everyone still got new stickers for their hydroflask water bottles (souvenir tradition) and Boss Baby was playing InFlight so my son (Finally!) got to watch it. Still a pretty good trip.