I arrived on the island of Oahu with no expectations. I had never gone to a place for such a long period of time without a travel companion and I was embracing the trip for what it was- a chance to stay in a new place for long enough to make it feel a bit like home.
The last time I came to Hawaii was in 2013 for 10 days and it feels like another lifetime. I was shy, unsure of who I was, unsure of what made me me, and hiding behind a long term relationship that for the most part made me feel safe and comfortable. I was okay at making temporary friends but felt as if my partner was my security blanket and I needed him by my side at all times, or I could be alone- there was no other state of being for me.
I had no extravagant goals for myself and merely aspired to be happy and in love, a good wife and a good mother. There is nothing wrong with this and many women I have met share these same aspirations, but as I got older and our relationship went through more instability, I questioned whether more effort needed to be put towards making me a complete and happy person without anyone to pick me back up.
Flash forward and we are nearing the end of 2017, and after way too many ups and downs, the relationship was finally finished for good at the conclusion of 2016 and I began 2017 with a new sense of purpose. For once, I was my main priority and I needed to make good friends, reignite my passions, better myself and worry about the things that truly mattered. I began taking personal and professional risks and my mantra was "YES," having always been a "Maybe next time" type of girl. I was tired of being afraid and ready to start living and because of this new mentality, this year has felt like 5 years. I have learned so much, grown so much, and am finally the person that I want to be as we are approaching the final 2 months of the year. I try to surround myself with happy people that make me smile, but also people that encourage and inspire me. I seek out people I can trust and who show their love for me with their words and their actions and I don't stand for bullshit that I don't deserve.
All of this has led me to where I currently am today, Honolulu, Hawaii. I had dreamt of returning ever since I first came here so when the chance to come here for 5 weeks to stay in a free room surfaced, I would have been crazy to say anything but YES. I worked my butt off this summer, saving as much money as possible so I could seek out adventures, new friendships and new experiences during my trip and the past few days have been nothing short of spectacular.
At night I am lulled to sleep with the symphony of crickets and other island creatures, while the morning often brings a choir of birds and rain showers. I feel like I’m in the middle of a rainforest- but then I realize I am. There is a reason why the mountains are so green, the trees are so tall and the leaves are so big. There is a reason why the growing season lasts all year and people from around the world flock to this place- it’s a tropical garden paradise for outdoor adventure enthusiasts. There are more activities to do here than I ever felt possible- hiking, running, scuba, snorkeling, free diving, fishing, spear fishing, surfing, SUP, yoga, climbing, kayaking, the list continues. If being an outdoor active person is your thing- is there a better place in America?
There is something else about this place that I love- I have no history or memories. Everything is new and exciting. I meet new people all day every day, see new things, smell and taste new things. I am constantly exploring, researching, discovering this foreign environment. Yes, eventually it will not be as exciting, but it will still have something else- insane beauty, nearly perfect weather, unique culture, and a mentality similar to Pura Vida down in Costa Rica. People are relaxed, they move slow, they are late and things don't start on time, the speed limits are slow, the vibe is slow. Technology isn't used as much, people are outside together talking, laughing, looking at the ocean or the mountains, being in the moment. Im not used to living so much in the present. I had planned to disconnect from technology to help myself be present but instead I feel so present that Im trying to summon the strength to use my phone and occasionally connect with those off the island. I sleep better, I eat better, I feel no stress or anger- I feel like I'm in a constant state of mediation and relaxation and for someone who suffers from anxiety, my heart and mind have never felt happier.
I feel a level of acceptance and openness here that I am not used to. I've always been the planner, the initiator. I've called my friends, set up dinners, climbing days, dancing nights and trips. But here, everyone else does it too. They are so excited to be together and share in their happiness that Ive already been invited to a night club, a bar, surfing, a BBQ, a baby shower, a coffee meeting, a hike, an offer to let me share a large office, a climbing trip, a sleepover. Everyone wants to share and give, a feeling I am not used to. I was brought up to plan, invite, share, give and love and although occasionally reciprocated, I have been overwhelmed by the amount of reciprocation here and I can only blame it on the fact that they are so happy :)
Today I woke up with a bit of a cold, a feeling that in the past would have made me felt restless and agitated, but for some reason it didn't. I am in a state of bliss thats difficult to break and only time will tell what happens next.
For now, here are some photos from my first few days of adventuring around Honolulu and the north shore.
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