My Big, Fat Hawaiian Vacation or “How to Have Fun While Working Away From Home”

Published by Daleen Berry on

That’s me, in front of one of Hawaii’s many harbors.

The best thing I can tell you is to get to know the locals. They’re key to enjoying yourself while working away from home. This trip has been in the works for almost a year, after I was invited to speak at the Institute on Violence, Abuse and Trauma’s annual Hawaii conference.

IVAT is an organization doing its part to help educate people about abuse, and to help survivors heal. I love being a small part of that, as well as knowing it was my memoir that led IVAT to invite me. With more and more people finally revealing their own abuse, it’s important for as many of us who have the tools and can help them, to do so. That’s what I’m doing now behind the scenes, and what I’ll be doing next week, in a more public arena.

In the meantime, though, I’m working to finish ongoing projects after dark. But during the daylight hours, I’m loving every minute of this Honolulu sunshine! The people are amazing: kind and generous, gracious and hospitable. I wouldn’t experience this as much if I just rented a car and went to see the local sights on my own. That’s why I grabbed some locals–my newest friends–and they’re giving me a tour of this lush, historical island. (To see more photos, check out my Twitter feed, my Facebook page or the “Hawaii 2013” event I created there.)

(Of course, given that a historic trial is underway about an hour from my home back in West Virginia, I’m a little distracted. I keep checking to see what’s happening in the Steubenville rape case, while wondering why one single teenager who saw what was happening didn’t text the photos to police, instead of tweeting about it. I’ll blog about this case tomorrow and then I might–just might–unplug for a day or two.)

This, my friends, is the key to frugal living. And to having a great time during a working vacation.

Editor’s note: Berry is the executive director of Samantha’s Sanctuary, Inc., a new 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to helping empower abused women and their children. She invites you to join her when she gives her first TEDx talk in April 2013.

Berry is the first recipient of the Pearl Buck Award in Writing for Social Change. Berry speaks about overcoming abuse through awareness, empowerment and goal attainment at conferences around the country.Her memoir (paperback and as an e-book) can be found at bookstores everywhere, or ordered online. To read an excerpt, please go to the Sister of Silence site. Check out the five-star review from ForeWord Reviews. Or find out why Kirkus Reviews called Berry “an engaging writer, her style fluid and easy to read, with welcome touches of humor and sustained tension throughout”.

Daleen Berry

Daleen Berry

Daleen Berry (1963- ) is a New York Times best-selling author and TEDx speaker who was born in sunny San Jose, California, but who grew up climbing trees and mountains in rural West Virginia. When she isn't writing, she's reading. Daleen is also an award-winning journalist and columnist, and has written for such publications as The Daily Beast, Huffington Post, and XOJane. Daleen has written or co-written eight nonfiction books, including her memoir, "Sister of Silence," "The Savage Murder of Skylar Neese," "Pretty Little Killers," "Cheatin' Ain't Easy," "Tales of the Vintage Berry Wine Gang," "Shatter the Silence," and "Appalachian Murders & Mysteries," an anthology. In 2015, West Virginia University placed "Sister of Silence" and "Guilt by Matrimony" on its Appalachian Literature list. You can follow her blog here: Or find her on Facebook and Twitter, as well as email her at daleen(dot)berry(at)gmail(dot)com. She loves to hear from readers.