As the dreaded Covid-19 virus keeps Our Planet hunkered down, some of my thoughts drift to one of my life’s major passions, travel.
I will attempt to make this thread as informative as possible, being guided by my personal history/experiences with the complex subject.
The setting is the gorgeous tropical Hawaiian Island of Maui, and the time is February, the late 1970s.
My bride, Lady Deborah, and I, have taken the “big bird” on a five-hour flight from the West Coast, to the Valley Isle, so I could attend a medical meeting in Wailea, Maui. We were on the island for about a week, as I recall, and. of course, we had a trusty rental car to get us from point a to point b, c. d, etc. I vividly remember, while driving along the Pacific Ocean road in the sleepy resort community of Kihei (next to Wailea), seeing a portable trailer with a sign on it listing “Timeshares for Sale.” My bride and I absolutely knew nothing about what that topic referred to, but we did pass by it several times during our stay that year.
The next year, we returned to Maui again for the same medical meeting, and everything was in the same place as the previous year. Well, this year, we stopped, and entered the sales trailer. Inside, there was only one fellow, but one very friendly fellow, who was very glad we had taken our time to inquire just what is a timeshare? He presented a great sales pitch, and from the very beginning of this early education we were obtaining, we were interested. I was interested because travel was/is/will continue to be a passion of mine, and my bride liked me, and, therefore, was getting accustomed to traveling, too. She totally realized early on in our relationship, travel is part of my DNA.
So, of course, eventually we purchased a two-bedroom, Valentine’s week timeshare, at a to-be-constructed Maui Lea @ Maui Hill property where the sales trailer was sitting. And, over the decades of the 1980s and 1990s, we purchased four more weeks of timeshare, two at the same resort in Kihei, Maui, and two weeks at the Jackson Hole Racquet Club, about 8 miles northwest of downtown Jackson, Wyoming.
The short version of the timeshare vacation concept, it was originated in the United Kingdom in the 1960s, and came to our USA in 1974 via a private company in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The popular idea rapidly spread throughout Our Country, so date-wise, my bride and I got in very early in this unique undertaking. We always have been known to venture outside our comfort zone, and, at first, timeshares weren’t exactly our comfort zone!
The entire timeshare educational process is very complex, and if I attempted to explain all the ins-and-outs, ifs-and-buts, you, dedicated readers, would earn a college doctorate degree in timeshare-ology. A very important aspect is to make certain your property is affiliated with a reputable “higher” organization. All our properties were linked with the Resorts Condominiums International (RCI). Through RCI, Lady Deborah and I were able to frequently “trade” our units, and experience other RCI-affiliated properties all over North America and the Caribbean Islands.
In the effort to be totally informational, the current timeshare situation is very different than it was over 35 years ago when we became involved. A potential buyer today needs to carefully consider the purchase as a “pre-paid vacation”, and certainly NOT as an investment. Especially, pay VERY careful attention to the on-going “maintenance fees/homeowners association fees.” Several years after my bride and I became “empty nest” parents, we disposed of all our timeshare interests, since most of the visits over the years had been with our children traveling with us on family outings.
The timeshare concept certainly helped provide travel locations for us over many years. The memories we made are utterly priceless!
Robert Breedlove is an OSU news-editorial journalism graduate, and a former newspaper (including News Press) reporter. He resides in Stillwater, and has for most of his life. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.