Suddenly I crashed my motorbike in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
What to do?
Here’s the thing: an accident forces you in a new direction.
I didn’t have much to do, sitting there with my stitches, sprain, and what looked like a disfigured face so I googled Best Beach in the World.
Lanikai Beach, in the video above, popped up. My heart surged.
And it said, go live there. Loud and clear.
This was my first walk to the beach to see the sunrise from my new place.
I was stunned. And it was the first magazine issue I wrote and photographed in Hawaii.
Vagabond, Hawaii Issue
I’d been on Oahu for only 2 weeks. I landed from Thailand and drove straight to the north shore of Oahu, where the Triple Crown Surfing competition was happening in full force. I’d never seen so many thong bikinis in my life.
And the air was so pure that I knew I was home.
I hadn’t been to Hawaii in 9 years. And I’d never been to Oahu, I had been to Maui for my 5 vacations.
My soul said, this is what you’ve been searching for! Fresh air and pristine water.
Hawaii, Kailua Beach, Oahu
It felt like heaven. I hadn’t seen the ocean since Cambodia, 11 months before.
If you go to Oahu you must visit Lanikai Beach, 12 miles west of Honolulu. You’ll be mesmerized by the divine turquoise water and the sugar white beach. It makes you calm and puts a smile on your face for the entire day.
Just thinking about it makes me sigh in gratitude.
Feeling blessed and happy I followed my inner nudges to the heavenly water. You can do it too. The no 72 bus leaves from Honolulu and brings you right to Lanikai Beach, you don’t even have to drive.
Kailua Beach, near Lanikai, Hawaii
Often times the more you re-visit a platiunum place in your stellar journal of world wanderings the more you fall in love with it.
Discover the best island in the world. Relax, rejuvenate, and re-set your life.
Escape your jam-packed life and luxuriate in one-on-one private photography instruction with any camera you have.
Breathe pristine air, see astounding emerald green cliffs, swim in silky turquoise water, and experience rainbows almost every day. There’s one in my backyard right now!
Soothe and ignite your spirit with me, a Kauai local, guiding you to discover the potent power places on island.
Yes being in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, the furthest land mass from any other chunk of land, has its secrets.
Kauai is a blended holiness of earth, sea, and sky.
Allerton Garden, www.bartnikowski.com
What’s Not Included:
1. Crowds of people.
2. Bad food experiences (I know the best places to eat from surprisingly simple locally sourced food to lavish top notch restaurants.)
3. No wasted time doing things you wish you hadn’t done.
You’ll see remarkable vistas.
I guarantee you’ll fall in love with Kauai.
Yoga and Meditation with me on the stunning property of the Islander Resort where your gorgeous studio is located.
Wake up and do yoga and meditation with me every morning, or sleep in after sweet dreams in your ocean side luxury studio. No driving, I come to you.
Daily private shooting guidance with any camera you have.
Learn how to use the specific camera you bought.
Relax under palm trees on a drop dead gorgeous beach. Read a book, get a massage.
Eat at the best places with guaranteed fresh food, your culinary masterpieces are a foodie’s divine experience. I know where the best restaurants and local dives are that will make you swoon with a satisfied smile on your lips.
3 nights accommodation in a luxury studio on the ocean with your own private lanai. Hear the ocean waves all night long.
Every day, you’ll experience enchanting power places that will open your heart and as Shirley Wu, a recent private retreat participant has said below, “It will change your life.”
Get a new lease on life
Private Retreat Waimea www.bartnikowski.com
Experience the magic of Kauai and see your luxury studio here
Have the best sleep of your life hearing ocean waves all night from your luxury ocean side studio with private balcony overlooking the turquoise sea.
Your Studio on the Sea www.bartnikowski.com
Who Am I?
I’m an award-winning photographer, author of 4 books, certified kundalini yoga teacher, and worldwide educator.
After shooting professionally in Palo Alto, the heart of Silicon Valley, for 29 years, raising my family, and leading programs at Stanford, Apple, Intel and in 32 countries my home is now on Kauai.
Yes, I sold my belongings in Palo Alto, California in 2009 after photographing 722 weddings, families, babies, angel investors, and authors. I kickstarted my global life teaching, shooting, and writing.
Meeting saints, sages, the Dalai Lama, and remarkable people worldwide taught me how to change my life and stop worrying.
Yes I teach photography and yoga but the true essence is this, how to have more happiness and peace in a have not world.
I love what I do and strive to empower you to have profound adventures and live life full throttle at the highest octave.
3 Day Retreat for you solo or with your friend/partner, includes all one on one private photography guidance, 3 nights in a luxury oceanside studio with private lanai being lulled to sleep with the soothing sounds of ocean waves, and morning yoga/meditation under magnificent palm trees and a sapphire blue sky.
$2000 includes 3 nights accommodation
Private and exclusive for 1 or 2 people
$4500 includes 5 nights accommodation
Dates Available November 2016 to May 2017
Your retreat is scheduled at the best time for you. What dates are best for you?
Call 808-542-4566 and talk with me.
Or schedule a phone conversation at a time that is convenient for you and I’ll call you, to answer your questions.
“It was the best vacation of our lives! I never would have gotten the photos I captured without you.”
“It transforms your soul.”
– Shirley Wu
“I can’t wait to come back, my husband and I loved it!”
See you in Paradise. Book now as these spectacular oceanside units are taken fast!
If you want to learn more, get in touch now before 2016 steam rolls into 2017.
Here’s what you’ll discover here…
Suddenly you’ll be swimming with sea turtles, or simply luxuriating on spectacular Anini Beach on the north shore of Kauai. Here I am enjoying the crystal clear turquoise water with wild and free turtles, below.
I swam with sea turtles here yesterday. Don’t wait. Join me on Kauai – you may never want to leave.
Private retreat shooting in Princeville www.bartnikowski.com
The flora and fauna is off the charts astounding. They don’t call Kauai the Garden Isle for nothing.
You get 3 days of a customized program:
You decide what you want to do without an ironclad itinerary.
You want to go to the longest beach in Hawaii? No problem, we’ll take the day and go see this world treasure below that the Dalai Lama says is the place where souls leave the planet and you may feel like you’re in heaven here too, I do.
Polihale State Park
Or you may want to see what National Geographic says is one of the top 50 tours you have to go on in the world, Allerton Garden, in the National Tropical Botanical Garden. This is where the former Queen of Hawaii personally gardened and where Jacqueline Kennedy retreated after JFK was shot.
This a power place extraordinaire you’ll feel it in every step you take.
I fell in love with Kauai the second my toes touched this island.
Last year I lived on Oahu and the Big Island but a spark in my heart told me to go and discover Kauai.
Now it is home. After a year of living on Kauai I’m still head over heels in love with it.
Here are my top things to do here.
Don’t miss seeing the sunset from the West side of the island in Waimea where the above photo was taken. You can see it set from Kalapaki Joe’s and your eyes will be seared with the sensual, silky slide of the sun behind gigantic rustling palm trees.
This is authentic Hawaii, a stunning place to stroll around and see the ocean from the endless emerald green lawn, slinky palms, and massive banyan trees. You can stay at Waimea Cottages if you never want to leave.
Poipu on the south side is another great place to see the sunset and go swimming, don’t miss it. Get there early or arrive in the late afternoon for a swim in the turquoise water and a spectacular light show afterwards.
The beaches on Kauai are the most remarkable shores I’ve seen in 32 countries of world travel. And depending on your mood you just pick the one you feel like getting into your bikini for. It’s guaranteed to thrill you.
The longest beach in Hawaii is on Kauai. I have never seen a more breathtaking beach than Polihale. Only thing is you have to drive on a gravel road for 10 miles round trip to see it. I don’t mind. This keeps it from exploding with humanity.
Be careful of the whopping waves here if you are not a strong swimmer. I stuck close to the shore. Pristine Polihale is north of Waimea.
Polihale State Park, www.bartnikowski.com
Bring a picnic and a blanket as there is nowhere to buy any food or water. And that’s the same reason this billion dollar beach is a spectacular spot to enjoy for an entire day. No development except for the showers and bathrooms. If you want to camp, you need a permit but I’ve heard the star shine on Polihale is hypnotic and off the charts divine.
Fresh Mangoes, www.bartnikowski.com
One of the reasons I live in Hawaii is this: fresh mangoes. You don’t have to pay grocery store prices either. In mango season May through August, you can buy $1 mangoes on the side of the road here on Kauai from private gardens. They have trees and produce to sell, bananas, avocados, and local eggs. Look for hand made signs on the road in Wailua and Kapaa. The produce will be in little screened wooden enclosures that look like rabbit hutches.
Kapaa on the East side of Kauai is a great little walking town right on the water. If you want to be able to dip in the ocean, then walk to Safeway or Foodland for fresh sushi, and be near the shops and coffee bars stay on this side. It’s easily accessible to all the fun activities the East side has to offer. Hiking in Wailua on Sleeping Giant, going to jazz at Wahoo Restaurant on Thursday night, walking and swimming every day, and driving up to the North shore. You won’t run out of things to do and see here.
Spectacular view across the street from Foodland Market on the way to the North shore. Don’t miss it at sunset.
Hanalei Bay, www.bartnikowski.com
Hanalei Bay is one of the crown jewels of Kauai. Stop at this overlook after you pass Princeville, it will knock your eyes out. It still thrills me to the core every time I see it.
Kee Beach www.bartnikowski.com
This is what Kee Beach looks like in the summer. It doesn’t get any better than this. It’s the most incredible place on the planet. I feel I’ve died and gone to heaven when I get here no matter how many times I arrive.
Diamond clear waters and stunning snorkeling. Drive north to the end of the road in Haena Beach Park. You have arrived in a holy place. Magnificent Bali Hai cliffs leap above your head and enhance the mystical spirit of this treasure.
The sunset here is surreal. It never ceases to be awe inspiring.
Kee Beach, North Shore, Kauai
These are my top picks of things to do from an insider. You could take a few days or a week to explore but give it as much time as you can. We go slow here. And you’ll want to go back to your own secret spots that you fall in love with and that’s part of the fun.
I landed in paradise on Sunday and cried tears of gratitude. I was going to kiss the ground like the pope did when he arrived in Poland for the first time in a quarter century but had to pick up my rental car and was not even standing on soil yet.
But as soon as I got out in the pristine trade winds I felt blessed.
You can kiss the sky, sea, and sultry blossoms of orchids and frangipani perfuming the air here.
You’ll relax and recharge on the oldest island in Hawaii.
I’m an author of 4 books, award-winning photographer for 27 years, and educator in Silicon Valley and worldwide.
I’ve led programs at Stanford University, Apple Computer, Intel, and globally.
You’ll get the benefits of the photography business I founded in Palo Alto, California in 1985 shooting for $500 per hour, down the street from Steve Jobs. I worked with clients from Apple, Intel, Yahoo, Google, and the lawyers, angel investors, doctors, CEO’s and realtors who lead and inspire Silicon Valley.
All my secrets are revealed in my private sessions.
It’s guaranteed you’ll see improved results in your own photos, learning my tips from photographing people and nature in 32 countries. And it’s fun!
Your deluxe room is included in your private retreat. You don’t have to hassle with searching for the perfect spot to stay, this is it!
Here is the view from your private lanai, above.
In the afternoon/morning we’ll be visiting potent power places on Kauai.
Secret Beach in Kilauea,
Ke’e Beach on the spectacular North Shore,
Poipu, on the south side…
Does this appeal to your sense of adventure? Join me!
You’ll get the benefits of living life here as a local. But with deluxe accommodations by the ocean in a stunning setting.
After your heart-expanding yoga session, we’ll discover remarkable, secluded places and learn how to mindfully capture the incredible nature here with any camera you have. Angle, Light, Composition and Timing are the focus, not Photoshop or fancy digital trickery. Nope!
You can shoot with a digital or film camera, point and shoot, or DSLR with all the bells and whistles.
It’s guaranteed you will return home with amazing photographs.
You’ll be visiting Ke’e beach, a sacred Hawaiian (Hay-ow) where we’ll swim, snorkel, and enjoy the Bali Hai cliffs around us. And Polihale State Park, the longest pristine beach in Hawaii.
Allerton Garden, www.bartnikowski.com
We are all flowers on this earth and we need open space around us.
You’ll get that here. And smiles are plentiful on this island.
Come with me to catch the seductive effervescence of ocean, sky, and emerald green cliffs. Serene places, stunning nature, waterfalls, and art walks in picture perfect tiny towns, Hanapepe Art Walk, and dinner at Hanapepe Cafe which is only open Friday night.
Yoga and meditation every morning under swaying palm trees on an emerald green lawn.
Or you can sleep in.
Easy photo walks every day and I do mean easy of Kauai’s incredible and stunning power places.
April to October private retreats are available
3-Day or 5 Day personal retreat
Your private retreat on Kauai includes
Oceanside deluxe lodging. 3 nights.
All yoga/meditation, photography, and guidance
Bon Voyage drinks and pupus for a divine sunset at the St. Regis on Kauai photo below
5 Day Retreat
Testimony from the last private retreat I led here on Kauai:
“It was the best vacation we’ve ever had and I never would have gotten the amazing photos I got without you.”
I’ve always wanted to live in a shack by the sea and now I do.
I’m writing and sleeping in an off-grid cabin, surrounded by trees, on a mango, papaya and coffee farm.
Never been happier.
I’m in Hawaii I have nothing to complain about.
Here’s what I do every day, awaken to birds serenading me after hearing ocean waves crashing in the distance all night long.
Walk 50 feet or 20 meters to our community kitchen, make a fresh cup of Kona coffee, (I’m in the center of the finest coffee bean estates in the world) and then walk 30 meters (90 ft) to see the Pacific Ocean outside my door.
After deciding yes, the waves are calm enough I get into my bikini and go see if the wild dolphins have turned up to swim in Kealakekua Bay here on the Big Island. They birth and nurse their babies right down the street.
My hut gets wifi but I can’t clearly connect with Skype. Oh well. Gotta get in the car to go Skype.
Same as India. I had to walk by the Ganges River avoiding cow flops to get to skype there at night.
But without the cow shits. It’s clean and pristine here.
If you really wanted to live off the land here on the Big Island without cash you could.
But I like to eat yogurt with fresh papayas in the morning and macadamia nuts sprinkled on top so I’m shooting, writing, and leading retreats here in paradise.
My work is my play.
Join us to swim with wild dolphins in July with me. Check it out here.
Sure, you can spend a fortune living in Hawaii but if you want to hear ocean waves crashing every night, and live simply then you too can live in an off grid cabin. But you have to be on the island to get it so farmers and owners can check you out.
You can find care taking jobs, house-sitting gigs, or for about 15 thousand $ you can move here and get a car and apartment but you know it’s also fun to drop out of the sky and see if this will all work — living off-grid and finding out if the communal thing is a yes.
My four walls are my own. No one above me but tree limbs and they did have to be cut back. It sounded like a horror movie in here every night. Couldn’t sleep a wink with clawing tree limbs on my roof.
But with dolphins for neighbors and birds singing all day what more could you want?
My neighborhood beach park
Write me at [email protected] or comment below and discover life in Hawaii – stay tuned for more.
Being the founder of a thriving photography business for 27 years you’ll get the benefit of my expertise of shooting in Silicon Valley, secrets I learned photographing angel investors, family portraits, babies, 722 weddings in Palo Alto down the street from Steve Jobs, and in my 7 years of global travel in 32 countries.
And 11 one-woman exhibitions in the Bay Area.
I’ve led programs at Apple, Stanford, Intel, University of Hawaii, and worldwide.
Here is how to claim your spot before it’s gone. Simply use this contact form to apply.
This will be the only 3-day session in 2015 of Wild Dolphins and Photography I lead here on the Big Island so come on down and bring your bathing suit and camera.
Doesn’t matter what kind of camera: high end model, point and shoot or phone camera.
Spring is the best season for the dolphins as they like to birth their babies here in Kealakekaua Bay,
play and mate. It’s the best show you’ll ever see!
$995 for the 3 days of Wild Dolphin swimming, and one-on-one photo guidance with 3 nights lodging
or $500 without lodging.
Rooms are $75 to $200 per night, if you want to book your own room.
Only 6 amazing participants.
There is also camping available at Hookena Beach Park for an ultra low cost sleeping solution.
You need to get a camping permit on the Big Island. Manago Hotel has rooms for $40 to $75 per night, basic lodging in Captain Cook above Kealakekua Bay and outstanding pork chops in their restaurant.
How did I get to live on this incredible beach? I googled it.
Where are the most mesmerizing beaches in the world I wondered, 2 months ago, in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Lanikai Beach in Kailua popped right up. It’s official. Its been voted on by global citizens and travel warriors; Lanikai is in the top ten of divine shorelines in the world.
I’ve traveled the planet in 31 countries and this is the best beach, the one I live 2 blocks from right now.
No matter how I wake up in the morning, on the wrong side of the bed, happily, or didn’t get enough sleep; I open my eyes and remember where I am.
I am walking distance to nirvana.
So I literally jump out of bed and get into my bikini, throw a dress over it, and walk or bike down the hill to my personal portal of the divine.
Lanikai means heavenly water in Hawaiian. Boy did they get that right.
Now I’m spoiled for life. Nothing compares to it. This morning I could not even wait for my cup of strong coffee I bolted out the front door knowing I could get an Americano at the old style Hawaiian market, the only store within walking to this hallowed and holy spot on earth.
It slips my mind a bit how luscious it is until I round the tennis courts and see the 10 billion dollar view cresting in front of me. A swath of cobalt blue with emerald green lush islands beckoning good morning. I quicken my pace or I slow it down. Depends on the moment.
The salty air calls to me.
I relax into my bones and my spirit is renewed. You can’t look at that view and be blasé.
It’s drop dead gorgeous. Nothing matters now. Only the crisp air warmed by trade winds, and the salty sea for swimming. Our local Lanikai beach with no facilities, no showers, no toilets, no cars, and no loud bad taste music blasting in your ear drums while people blow smoke in your face and yell at each other. No that does not happen here.
So that’s why there are 2 to 4 million dollar homes here. And most people rent out there homes to make a good bit of money. I’m renting a room now in a lovely townhouse overlooking volcanoes, trees and the golf course where Obama golfs for goodness sakes.
People are affected by the gorgeousness. We say good morning to one another. When I’m driving, other drivers let me in the line-up if there is a backlog. Politeness is off the charts here.
It must be because of the heavenly nature of the sea, the fact that turtles like it here and are regularly spotted, paddlboarders, babies and lovers frolic in the turquoise pristine water.
Every morning I swim at Lanikai, after doing yoga and chanting. I feel blessed.
Maybe I did something right in another life to land here.
This place is better than the photographs reveal. But if you can feel the energy in these photos and it tells you to come then you must, you will never be the same person again; this will change and renew your mind and soul.