Puna Bear ~ More than a Mascot

Back in 2013 when Jeremy and I were planning our first trip to Hawaii, we could barely stand the thought of leaving Boscoe the wonder dog at home.  One of us came up with the idea of bringing one of my old beanie bears along as a proxy.  I chose my Peace Bear, and shoved him into one of the pockets if my backpack.  By the time we left Pahoa, we had named him Puna for the south east coast of the big island of Hawaii.

Since then, Puna is our loyal travel companion, and has become a legendary traveler among bears having been spotted in distant locations across the globe enjoying adventure and exotic foods wherever he roams!

Kalalau Lookout, Kauai

Bread and Honey in Croatia

Overlooking Lokrum Island, Croatia


Antipasto in Italy

Clowning around with author and friend, Jon Steele at Lausanne Cathedral.

Meeting world-famous, war-correspondent bears.

Enjoying a peaceful moment with Jeremy on Lake Geneva in Switzerland.

Puna enjoys easy hikes, ancient cities, tropical forests and stunning coastlines.  When Jeremy and I need to dash into a shop for something, he waits on the car dash so we remember which rental car we’re driving. 

There was that ONE time he got drunk at the wedding, but overall he has been an ideal room mate and travel buddy!

Tuscany, Italy

Puna is as comfortable with fine dining as he is with diners and dives, but his favorite treats are raw fish and honey.

Poke at the Hilo Bay Café

Hawaii is still Puna’s favorite place to chill and he is greatly looking forward to our week in Kona coming up next month, but lately he’s been feeling like…

Like…maybe he’d like a travel companion his own size to keep him company in the backpack for the long flights to distant lands.

Now – EVERY time I post a photo of Puna enjoying one of our trips, my favorite aunt Verla complains that I am taking ‘that damn bear’ somewhere again, and begs me to put HER in my backpack instead of Puna.  I have repeatedly told her that her legs are too long, but she insists she will fold them.  So when Puna requested a travel friend, I decided to find a travel proxy for Verla, the way that Puna stands in for Boscoe!

Finding JUST the right bear took some time.  None of the ones I already owned seemed right, so I took to Amazon, as I so frequently do! 

We just ordered this pretty new bear to stand in for Verla!

She is very colorful, and just a little worn out, and has stitches at the top of her right thigh, and on her left ankle, JUST like my aunt Verla since she broke first her right thigh and then her left ankle earlier this year.  Perfect!

Puna is excited and anxiously awaiting his new friend! 

I tried to explain that she’s NOT a Prime item, so it may be several days before she arrives, but he says he’ll wait.

Stay tuned for more adventures with Jeremy, Cyndi, Puna and Verla Bear! 

Edited to add photos of Verla Bear’s arrival: