By Jimmy Im
I got into volleyball because: I started playing volleyball in 5th grade. It was the first sport in the school year since it started in the fall and my mom was a volleyball player.
I went here to: Hilton HHonors and USA volleyball have come together to have the beach challenge and it’s something that I’m really excited to help promote. It’s 2 amazing promoters of the sport that I love so much. And Hilton HHonors is a huge sponsor of the US Olympic Committee and without sponsorships like Hilton HHonors I would have to have a 9 to 5 job and I wouldn’t be able to chase my Olympic aspirations and my dreams. So I’m really grateful to be here and to say thank you to them and help put on a great show. And then USA Volleyball is obviously in the sport to grow it and I will do whatever I can to help. So it’s just a good combo and the setting is absolutely beautiful. I haven’t been here in so long so it’s a fun welcome back.
I traveled here with: Myself. I know! So now that I’m here I really wish I would have brought the boys and we could have stayed here a little bit with my husband … but they’re in school. So it’s just my time to enjoy this beautiful Hilton hotel and this beach and this setting -- it’s pretty amazing.
The best way to travel here is: First class (laughs).
I stayed at: The Hilton Hawaiian Village on Waikiki Beach. It is my first time at this property and it’s amazing. It truly is a little village -- it’s a one-stop shop, which is really fun because you’re getting all the shops and the rooms are gorgeous and you have a beautiful beach outside. So I’m so happy to be here -- I can’t wait to walk around and experience everything.
When it comes to packing, be sure to bring: It depends where you’re going, and I’m in Waikiki so bikini, for obvious reasons, sunscreen, for obvious reasons, and an iPod or good book. I actually didn’t bring a book this time as I slept the whole time -- I’m a sleep-deprived mother.
The best thing I ate was: Oh my gosh, I just had coconut shrimp with a sweet and sour dipping sauce and it was fantastic at the hotel’s Tropics restaurant. We also had a seared ahi salad. It was delicious. The dressing is very good.
I wish I hadn’t: Left behind my 3 boys -- my husband and my 2 boys. I shouldn't be here without them because you know we’ve worked so hard and it would be so fun to celebrate and be here with them. Aside from that -- I’m sure if I forgot something at home, I’m here at the Hilton Hawaiian Village -- I’ll pick it up. I’m not that worried about it.
Don’t miss: Oh -- whatever you do you’re going to have a great time. Try stand-up paddle -- I think everyone should try that. It’s a fun workout and it’s a challenge. I would try that, it’s really fun and addicting and active. And after you do that -- go get some food at some of these amazing restaurants.
Next time I will definitely: Bring my family! And stay longer. But I’m happy to be here because I’m supporting the sport I love so much and supporting the people who support my sport -- Hilton HHonors and USA Beach Volleyball -- so I’m so happy to be here.
My favorite part of the event was: Being here to support Team USA!
My favorite beach to play on is: Oh, wow. I have to say my home beach, which is Manhattan Beach. That’s kind of where beach volleyball was created in it’s most organic form and I owe a lot to that place. And I live just right up the street.
When I’m in Hawaii, I also like to: I like to snorkel. I like to eat. I like to attempt surfing, in any of its forms. I love to read books on the beach. And take walks at night.
My advice would be: Leave your phone in your room, to unplug and to enjoy your surroundings. Live every second of your vacation.