It’s been an epic few days of traveling and celebration here on the Big Island. After all, Fourth of July fell on a Wednesday, so the weekend prior had to be a time of getting out there and seeing a bit of the island.
Some friends and I were supposed to go camping, but that plan was nixxed as soon as we got the phone call that we had a night booked at the beautiful Kona Coast Resort. From rainforest sloggin’ to big living at the resort? I was ready!
We met up at Huggo’s on the beach front for an amazing, almost dream-like happy hour. With my toes in the sand and several half-price Mai Tais and Hawaiian Rainbows, I sat and listened to the live music, ate nachos and enjoyed the setting sun from my front row seat.
After happy hour, we packed it up to enjoy our night at the resort. We drove along Ali’i Drive, passing tourists and locals walking along the flower-laden street, surfers passing with their boards tucked under their arms while skateboarding. We saw the beautiful Magic Sands beach, a smallish stretch of beach great for surfing.
That evening, we enjoyed the view from our balcony, attended a pool party and soaked in the hot tub like ballers. Life, my friends, is SO good!
The next day, we stopped at Kona de Pele’s coffee shop right in the heart of Kona for some straight-from-the-source Kona coffee, some of the best and most expensive in the world. Who could beat brunch with a view?
After filling our bellies, we headed north along 19 to Hapuna Beach State Park. Access to the park was free and it was amazing. It’s safe to say my love affair with the South Pacific is ON and Oceania has a soft spot in my heart.
We spotted a little cove over to the right of the park that was calm waters for snorkeling. Three sea turtles came up to ankle-deep water and swam with us. I couldn’t believe our luck!
Overall, it was a great side trip over to the Kona side of the island! Don’t worry, I’ll be back…
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!
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.
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.
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?
I’m taking a mini-sabbatical from my life in paradise where all the perspective of how I want to live my life was bestowed upon me.
What’s the difference between me pre-Hawaii and post-Hawaii? I found my paradise, my happy spot, my garden of eden. I realized how powerful my choice is.
What exactly do I mean by that? My first overseas trip to Australia was the first time my eyes open to cast a critical eye on my own country. I love the United States of America, but I never thought of my country as a constant producer of 9-5 drones and profit. I knew this to be true, but it wasn’t until I delved into an “alternative” lifestyle that I even realized what I was “missing out on.”
Australia was very kind to me and about Americans in general. We do tend to get teased quite a bit, but luckily we have a great sense of humor.
Hawaii is a special place, though. One that gave me a unique perspective about “home.” The reason why my time in Hawaii was so special is that it’s almost like another country with a different culture, an island attitude where people move a bit slower but with more intention.
I stayed for seven weeks at Hedonisia Eco Hostel in Puna district on the Big Island of Hawaii. Among many other things, I learned how to live as a member in a community of travelers, I began to learn and embrace living sustainably and I developed a large connection with Mother Earth.
At the risk of sounding like a New Age hippie, lost to run amuck in paradise, living in an intentional community had the following imprints on me:
1. I have choice as to how I want to live my life.
2. I can facilitate those choices with like-minded individuals to reach a common goal.
3. I can reach a sort of existential bliss by living out a life I manifested for myself.
The aspect of Hawaii that is the most unique, to me, is that although it’s owned by the United States, it hardly feels like the United States at all. The Big Island is essentially a baby, unspoiled Polynesian Island where certain fundamentals of human existence are still alive in well. Namely:
1. Tribal living
2. Living off the land
When you live with less, as I did at an ec0-hostel, where we used recycled materials to build shelter, bartered for goods and services and thrived as a community of individuals, life becomes simpler, easier. Suddenly, without all the riftraff of paying bills, owning cars, expensive property and material things, your options open up. Suddenly you don’t have to wake up everyday to drive to a job you hate to pay for the car to drive you there. Suddenly your life is filled with choice.
A simple life not be for everyone. But it is for me. The recognition and affirmation that I have a choice as to how I want my future to play out is a powerful realization. When I sat down to examine my life before embarking on my travels, I imagined my happy spot. That place was somewhere simple, easy, living in an RV off the land. Suddenly, months later, I’m ducking underneath a tarp held up by hand-crafted wooden rods from local trees to enter my pop-up camper. I look around, and all at once, I’m living the life I imagined.
We’re told growing up that more is more. If you have more stuff, fancy cars, nice clothes, you will be domesticated and people will like you. Not only is that not true, because I’ve met tons of assholes with lots of nice things, but the exact opposite is true. Less is more, because without all the clutter, you have freedom. And with that freedom, you get the all-elusive, much-sought after choice. I promise you it’s out there.
This is a sort of existential breakthrough I’ve had recently. Although this is typically a travel blog about place and people, my realizations through my travels are just as important. Now that I’ve gotten this breathtaking (and admittedly often coveted) expanded world view, I could say without a doubt that quitting my job to travel and learn more about how people live has been the best thing I’ve ever done.
Hardly a week goes by that I don’t visit Kehena Beach, one of the only stretches of black sand beach on the east side of the island of Hawaii. The tide is rough and the hike down to shore is a bit treacherous, but the views and the magic are well worth it.
Kehena is sort of a local spiritual retreat. Imagine this: Clothing optional (people definitely take advantage of that), space for yoga, healing, privacy, sun-bathing and a kick-ass drum circle on Sundays.
Known almost exclusively by locals, Kehena is located just off the famed “Red Road” stretching from Kopoho to Kalapana Road (Route 137) along the south-eastern shore. If you go on a Sunday, just follow the sound of drums and hike down to a bohemian/alternative/hippie fest where you can let loose for the afternoon.
Swimming can be a bit tough because the waves are pretty wild, but that didn’t stop me from swimming with a pod of 13 dolphins one afternoon. As I swam out past the rough break, I was greeted by my dolphin friends as a nude beach patron played fife on the beach. It was a magical, personal moment.
This spot is unique and special to me. Kehena beach is highly photogenic. I’m glad I could share some of my favorites with you all.