Month: June 2012

Bounty: Hawaiian Style

Today my friend Matt and I traipsed through our neighbor John’s property for some harvesting. Among other things, he has a plot of land that’s full of macadamia nut trees, pineapples, bananas, oranges, lemons, grapefruit, kumquats, coffee trees and rainbow eucalyptus trees.

Among all of those goodies that we harvested and brought back to our property, John’s land produces more wild, beautiful flowers that I’ve ever seen! We walked and snipped beautiful anthuriums, rare scented orchids, rhododendron and bougainvillea. 

Enjoy the bounty. Notice the flower arrangements I made out of our finds!

Citrus for days! Weeks even!


Me after harvesting
Purple orchid
Yellow and Brown orchid
Anthurium with palm bract
Bougainvillea, Heliconia and palm bract
Anthurium and rhododendron

Nature loves courage

“Nature loves courage. You make the commitment and nature will respond to that commitment by removing impossible obstacles. Dream the impossible dream and the world will not grind you under, it will lift you up. This is the trick. This is what all these teachers and philosophers who really counted, who really touched the alchemical gold, this is what they understood. This is the shamanic dance in the waterfall. This is how magic is done. By hurling yourself into the abyss and discovering its a feather bed.” 
― Terence McKenna

Enjoying the fruits of my labor

Well, I became…ahem, distracted from my round the world trip.

I originally started this year with stars in my eyes about seeing the entire world. I had this vision of my mind of showing up on my parents’ doorstep with a suitcase slapped with stickers from other worlds, proudly proclaiming, “Well, I’ve seen everything!”

That didn’t exactly happen, but I’ve done a HELL of a lot this year, including focusing on my true path.

What do I mean by that? I mean I quit a life that was no longer serving my true desires. When I envisioned myself happy, I saw myself living the island lifestyle and freelance writing to pay the bills.

And now, months later, that’s EXACTLY what I’m doing. It’s been a learning curve: How do you come to grips that you’re actually happy beyond measure? That you’re truly living your bliss?

By enjoying it! That’s how.

Sunrise to my new life!

I’ve been “sidetracked” (can you even call it that? This is my path!) from my world conquest by the Big Island of Hawaii. The magic of this place constantly reminds me that I’m in the right place at the right time. I’m learning to travel slower and live richer. Instead of seeing the world in one year, I decided to work on a fascilitating a lifestyle of choice and intention.

I’d rather move forward intentionally, albeit slowly, than run through and miss something.

I’m currently an apprentice manager of an eco-retreat in the rainforest. I walk barefoot, I rock a sarong, I hone true hobbies (learning to hula hoop and playing wooden flute, among many), I live amongst and converse with artists, travelers, writers, musicians and free-thinkers from all over the world. I find myself in an environment that satiates the cravings of my wildest dreams.

I read this quote today and felt it to be very fitting:

“Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life you don’t have to escape from.” -Seth Godin

Some people look at my life and say that I’m lucky. Maybe I’m lucky that I have the wherewithal to look within, discover what I truly want and go after it. I mean, it feels good. It makes me wonder why I waited to find my bliss.

My time in Hawaii is special and ornamental. Here I am learning about ecology, sustainability, community living, tribal living, living off the land, and about overall humanity. I am studying to facilitate a life a travel through my work. I’ve even been asked to co-author the owner’s book about sustainable community living. I guess you can say it all fell into my lap. But it wasn’t that easy.

I looked deep within and discovered that I was the only one holding me back from living the life I always imagined.

These are good times.

Now on Monday mornings, instead of relishing in my one day off from the restaurant biz or dragging myself to the office for a gruelling 8-hour day, I bask in the Hawaiian sun, enjoying the fruits of avocado season. I treat myself to a moisturising, refreshing mask made by myself, from the avocados that dropped this morning right next to my tent. Because this my paradise, why not? 

Photo of the day: Portuguese man o’ war, Hawaii

Photo by author. Pohoiki Beach, Big Island, Hawaii.

The scary ocean critters of New Jersey’s beaches

I’m reminiscing today of the time I spent living on the east coast. I essentially made it my bitch, spending every day off from the restaurant I had foraging, exploring, finding new hiking trails, beaches, hidden swim holes, you name it.

A friend came and visited me in Philadelphia for the summer and we spent our time exploring Mother Nature together, one day taking a drive out to Cape May, New Jersey for a day at the beach.

I’m currently living in Hawaii and have yet to see any scary critters or sharks that have made me refrain from getting in the water. But Jersey’s another story. It’s scary, real scary. Not only does it suck to drive there, but their beaches are loaded with the strangest, most fascinating, and in my opinion, the scariest creatures that stop me from diving in head first.

This particular afternoon, we looked around the sleepy beach town that was full of typical posh urbanites pushing around their designer children in their designer clothes. The Victorian houses were beautiful, but I was growing tired of the east coast snobbery and crowds, ready for a reclusive stretch of beach.

My friend Colleen, her boyfriend Ryland and I found Higbee Beach, the perfect little retreat for us. It’s a mile and half long stretch on the tip of Cape Island on the Delaware Bay. It’s actually a former nude beach (leave it to New Englanders to get their panties in a bunch) but the scene remains quiet, peaceful and serene.

“Now this is what I’m talking about!,” I thought when we arrived. Our own little slice of solitude.

Higbee is a bit rough and wild, though and I noticed right away that there were trees jutting out from the water. Beyond that though, it was the site of these massive horseshoe crabs washing up to shore that made me think twice about getting in the water:

Photo by author

As if these horseshoe crabs weren’t enough, (*I’ve actually attended a scientific study on the beaches of Jersey tracing their mating habits in conjunction with the full moon…fascinating, albeit weird*) soon came the HUGE jellyfish. I’ve always had a fear of jellyfish. There’s something about these though that has me singing a different tune about a dip in the ocean:

Swimming? Nope.

Depending on what beaches you frequent on Jersey’s coast, you will surely see these scary ocean critters. I know horseshoe crabs are harmless, but who wants one of those brushing up against their legs during a moment of tranquil floating? Nevermind those ethereal jellyfish. The picture does all the explaining.

Critters used to be my number one ocean fear, but living in Hawaii has taught me about respecting your body and the tides. There’s nothing like getting beat to shit by an undertow/wave combination. Alas, a new ocean fear has arisen in me! What sorts of irrational (or rational!) fears do you have about the ocean?

Jet lag drag

I just arrived back to Hawaii after a long, arduous day of traveling from east to west. As I was dropped off to the airport with my sister and her boyfriend at Chicago’s O’Hare airport, she was flying east to Philadelphia. We parted at the gate at six a.m. and I knew she and her beau would arrive safely to their destination in 2 hours. I felt happy for them.

Me and my sissy. So long for now! Baby soon!

I, on the other hand, was getting ready for a 20-hour solo traveling day. I packed the basics: my journal, my newly updated ipod with the classics and a book. I could entertain myself for hours, upon hours, right?

I started by flying from Chicago to Los Angeles in a 4 and 1/2 hour stint. It wasn’t so bad because it was morning and I was able to sleep a bit through the ride. But for some reason, all I could think and dread over was my six hour layover in Los Angeles. LAX takes a certain amount out of you. It’s busy, congested, crowded. It’s rude and crude. But it’s also the crossroads to the world.

Among the typical fat Americans shoving down McDonald’s before their flights (Hey, no harm there, I was one of them), I was with world travelers. LAX isn’t all bad. I get to pretend that I’m traveling to these far off countries across the world when I hear the final boarding call for Shanghi. I listen in earnest to people greeting one another in Japanese. I watch the French couple taking turns sleeping on the black seats in the gating area, waiting for their flight halfway across the world. I almost rub feet with a Filipino man trying to catch a rest before his flight as I cozy up for a snooze before mine.

Somehow at the airport, we are all one, going somewhere, partners in adventures and transit.

I arrived in Hawaii at 8 p.m. local time and felt like I had just survived some larger than life hands sling-shotting me across time zones, albeit really slowly. I was exhausted by the day of traveling and could not believe that even though I had traveled starting at 3:30 a.m., I still arrived nearly 20 hours to it still being light out. It was such a bizarre sensation.

It officially took me about 8 days to adjusting to being back in Hawaii. I am especially sensitive to jetlag, and since I’ve been flying like a maniac all year, I think my body is finally screaming at me, “SLOW DOWN, STAY A WHILE.” Touché, body, touché.  I will be here living the island lifestyle for as long as it has me. I’m glad to finally be over my jetlag and settling in.

I like it here. I think I’ll stay awhile.

I’ll let you know how it goes. So far, so wonderfully good.