Happy May! I hope everyone is starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel with regards to this pandemic. It feels as though things are starting to get a little brighter and optimistic that life can soon inch toward returning to our version of normal. It seems like the vaccines have been easier to acquire (side note: my mother-in-law called to let me know that KNX news radio announced that Cheviot Hills was mentioned as one of the top three most vaccinated communities in Los Angeles County, so, well done neighbors!).If you are a regular reader of this publication, you’ll know that I snuck out of town last month with our eldest for a father/son get- away. We went to Hawaii for a week and, by the look of things, a large swath of vacationers trying to escape Los Angeles for a bit was there, too. But I’m pleased to report: the trip was extremely safe with regards to Covid protocols. We couldn’t even board the flight without proof of a negative test specifically sanctioned by Hawaii and we were tested again while there. Masks were required and just about every meal and activity was held outside while socially distant. We had such a phenomenal time there that as soon as we got home we started thinking about the next time we could go. Which, as it turns out, might be sooner than expected! While Mason and I were in Hawaii, we had the unexpected pleasure of spending the day with a colleague of mine. He used to be the top agent at Coldwell Banker, specializing in Malibu properties, until he left our company for another brokerage firm a little while ago. Our paths have crossed a handful of times over the years, starting in the early 1980’s when his family happened to live a few blocks away from mine in Malibu’s Point Dume neighborhood and our parents were friendly with one another. Who would’ve predicted way back then that decades later we would both enjoy successful careers in the same field at the same company? For years after becoming a real estate agent, I had looked up to him, admiring his professionalism, his drive and his impressive ascension to the top of business. And while we knew of each other and had a few email interactions, we never had the chance to hang out as friends until a few weeks ago when I knocked on the door of his home in Hawaii to say aloha. Chris Cortazzo has a second home there and he was generous enough to let Mason and me in to take a tour and get a feel for what it’s like to be on vacation in your own house. Needless to say, it was exquisite. Situated right on the beach with a host of luxurious amenities, he is for all intents and purposes, living the dream. It was nice to see the other side of someone who, given his level of success, I would have assumed would be a bit high strung or be in work mode all the time. Maybe it was the Hawaiian air or aloha spirit but the opposite was true: he was laid back, relaxed and nothing but a generous and congenial host for a leisurely, lazy afternoon. It was as if we had been buddies for years. Talked shop a bit, of course, but for the most part shared stories about fatherhood, the sheer bliss of travel after a year of lock down and agreed that the career accomplishments we’ve enjoyed doesn’t hold a candle to what gives us the greatest pleasure in life: taking a nice vacation with our kids.

It occurred to me while I was visiting that we are so lucky to live this close to actual paradise and a part of me wondered why go anywhere else? I was able to surf every day, eat delicious food, totally unplug from the digital landscape and soak up the natural beauty and tranquil, tropical surroundings that are sorely missing from the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles. This past year has taught me a lot about seizing the moment and not putting anything important off. You never know when the world can shift and uproot everything we once took for granted and I don’t want to regret missing out on a chance to do what I love. So, while my wife and two of our sons sat this last trip out, the next time we’re going everyone is coming along. I hope we’ll be able to take advantage of everything Hawaii has to offer including possibly looking up an old acquaintance turned work colleague turned friend. So, if you need me this summer, call a little later than you normally would because it’s three hours earlier on the island and I may be asleep. Or surfing. Or just kicking back on the lanai with a mai tai in one hand and residential listing agreement in the other. If the smart phone allows us to work from anywhere, then I pick Hawaii! And if you happen to find yourself there this summer, too, please pop by to say hello. Shave ice for everyone!