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In January of 1980 I began a semester of college in Hawaii. I lived in a dorm, and my roommate was my brother Ron; and we didn’t know anyone else.

We spent five months in Hawaii. During that time, we made several close friends, many from Hawaii, but also, a number from many South Pacific islands. As I heard these friends talk with pride about their homes, a bucket list item was created. I knew that one day, I wanted to visit these islands my friends spoke so passionately about. Though their were many, I particularly wanted to visit New Zealand, Fiji, Samoa, and Tonga.

“I’d rather regret the things I’ve done, than regret the things I’ve not done.”

So yeah, it took 43 years but I finally removed this major bucket list item. My best friend Judy and I visited New Zealand, and then boarded a cruise that took us to Fiji, Samoa, and Tonga. These islands were indeed beautiful, and the people exhibited the aloha spirit I have always felt in Hawaii. One morning, I was awakened by what sounded like singing. I opened my balcony door and walked out and saw a welcoming group performing. I quickly went up to the top deck of our ship where I could see these proud Samoans conveying their gratitude to us for visiting their home. As I watched these men and women welcome us with song and dance, my eyes did sweat a bit. I recalled the discussions I’d had with my college friends those many years ago, and how they spoke with such pride of their homes. I felt it then, and I certainly felt it that morning in Pago Pago.

So if you have a bucket list of your own, make it happen. Hopefully, you won’t have to wait 43 years.