We’re leaving tomorrow morning for a place that I confess I knew nothing about two weeks ago.

Francisco and I had spent nights, and I mean nights, on dueling computers trying to find a flight we were willing to pay for…to anywhere warm.  We usually travel for much longer than two weeks at a time, when paying for higher priced flights (if you can’t find a deal) pays itself off in time spent abroad.  But this time it’s two weeks.  None of our old tricks were working, we were grouchy, and our vacation planning was taking the fun right out of the idea.  What the hell? How could it be that we were so incredibly flexible and yet we couldn’t find any deals except to the Caribbean in the height of the hurricane season?

The Caribbean is really inexpensive right now, and we’re pretty adventurous.  But we’ve had a not-so-great summer here in the Bay Area, and with only two weeks we’re not in a gambling state of mind.  We want some sunshine with our ocean and sand.

We were ready to give up on the bargain hunting and plunk down the big bucks when the Air New Zealand sale came up with Rarotonga as one of the destinations.  “Where the hell is Rarotonga?!” was followed by a quick info & image search that told us everything we needed to know.  We could go to this beautiful place in the Cook Islands with great weather, turquoise water, white sand, jungle, and some backpacker-friendly lodging, for half the price of anything else we’d found.

So now we’re about to experience an island that wouldn’t have made our list of places to visit because we had no idea it existed two weeks ago.  I love happy accidents, so here’s hoping that something that wasn’t even on the radar becomes a new favorite.

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