Home is a feeling, not a place of being.
This post comes from Andrea from The Cult Collective!
Any traveler has attempted to find truth in these words — to find home in foreign feelings and uncertainty. There is little choice but to do so on the metaphorical road, when the most familiar sound is that of your own voice. And even that often feels extrinsic. Eventually — thankfully — you begin to acclimate. Your senses surrender. That safe feeling from where you came begins to feel distant and insignificant. What’s important is where you are now, and what’s ahead.
Finding this metaphorical home is a different journey for every traveler. For some, it’s in familiarities as trivial as the details of your stay — the smell of the soap in the bathroom or the color of the sheets. But for many it’s in greater experiences — exploring the unchartered territory of your new destination in ways that feel equally foreign and familiar. At The Palmwood, guests check in to find the comforts of home.
See, no two travelers pass through The Palmwood quite the same, and to call it merely a ’bed & breakfast’ would be an injustice. Stationed hilltop in the less-traveled Moloa’a in Kauai’s North Shore, The Palmwood’s proprietors, “Auntie” Eddi and her son Mychael Henry have crafted a lodging experience that is truly that — an experience; one that I can only try to do justice with words, but must be encountered to fully comprehend.
The 5-acre property is covered in lush palms and native flora creating a tropical hilltop oasis. Amenities include outdoor showers, a fire pit, single speed bikes, hot tubs and arguably Instagram’s most famous red hammock. But I struggle for words to describe the real amenities of The Palmwood — the sound of the trade winds that rustles through the palms at night creating a soft, soothing hiss. The distant sound of the wild island roosters that bring life to the night. Or the way Eddi and Mychael listen so intently to each guest, forming meaningful connections with each new visitor.
And then there’s breakfast. Guests awaken to the smell of linguica sizzling in the cast iron skillet, mouths salivating from the scent of buttery croissants and caramelized bananas baking in the oven. Everything is made from locally sourced ingredients. And there is that familiar feeling of home, even here in a foreign bed.
Wide-eyed, we get dressed and tip toe barefoot downstairs to greet Mychael in the kitchen before heading out on a morning run. He suggests a route to local Moloa’a beach and, as we jog through the backroads, we fill our lungs with the exotic island air and the sensation of newness. We pause when we reach the beach, absorbing our new surroundings and allowing our eyes map every detail of this new terrain. We turn around and head back, chests full on the unfamiliar. As we ascend up the red dirt road back towards The Palmwood, a fresh breakfast awaits: seasonal tropical fruit salad topped with toasted coconut and homemade granola. Savory local sweet potatoes with a maple syrup glaze and a hint of cayenne pepper. Finger licking good ‘macnut’ chicken. Out of courtesy and custom, we remove our shoes and enter the dining area in our bare feet to indulge in the aromas teasing our palette. Here, once again is the feeling of home.
We chat with Mychael over breakfast and ask a million questions on what to do and see. He patiently and curiously listens, offering insight into places of interest, even mapping out their locations and best times to visit — grabbing a poke bowl at Pono Market, hiking the the Kalalau Trail to Hanakapi’ai Beach, insight into the best local beaches. And perhaps this is The Palmwood’s best amenity of all — Mychael’s local intellect,attention to detail and genuine care that each and every guest gets to experience Kauai in their own way.
By day four, we have forgotten what shoes are or where we put them. Mychael is no longer our host, but now our kin. Our phones are dead, and we aren’t in a rush to charge them. There is sand in my hair, my clothes smell like salt water, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I sit here on this balcony, overlooking the mountains in distance and listening to the wind rustle through the palms and I realize – this is home – if only for a week.
+How do you find home in the unknown?
Photos by Grant Legan!