It’s an interesting experience, deciding to pack up and leave. More than that, deciding to move off the current life path I was on and to recreate both my dreams and reality. I wanted to escape the feelings of expectation and monotony.
I thought packing everything I owned into a bag and moving into the jungle would solve it. And in a way, it did! I got to Hawaii knowing I knew nothing and had little, but trusting that my needs would be provided for through the people and experiences I brought into my life.
I’d been here for two days when I felt my body and mind start to decompress and simplify. Life was easy, all I needed to do was what I felt like doing. I began doing yoga, meditation and eating all the yummy healthy fresh food Hawaii has to offer. I exercised and read and took afternoon naps in hammocks.
When someone asked me if I wanted to do something, the only calendar I had to check was my internal one. I found myself jumping off cliffs and stopping by the local beach for a drum circle on my way home. I woke up with and fell asleep with the sun, to the soundtrack of chickens and Coqui frogs.
One morning I jumped on the back of a moped and rode along the coast in the dark to catch a sunrise while swimming in the ocean. I explored tiny little shops in downtown Pahoa, and painted with hippies who offered me some of their chocolate. (Don’t worry mom, I politely declined).
As I told curious people still at home about the things I was doing, I felt like I was watching my life from the outside. This was a breakthrough moment for me. I was living in Hawaii doing all these things that 2 months ago I was dreaming and reading about on travel blogs. In a lot of people’s eyes I was ‘living the dream’.
But here’s the interesting thing, I still felt normal. Sure, I didn’t have much stress, and everywhere I looked was jungle; but after that first week I started to get comfortable and those things melted into the background.
I stopped going out of my way to meet new people and stopped spending extra time to meditate or cook good food. I stayed at home more often than not and stopped hitchhiking, preferring to wait for the convenience of a friend driving into town. I had become used to paradise, which shouldn’t be possible right?
This is the moment I realized that maybe paradise isn’t a place or an external thing. I had heard and said this many times before but honestly it took hearing myself decline a trip to the beach, and then sitting indoors on my phone for 30 minutes in my underwear eating a piece of pizza and then wondering why I was starting to feel the way I had back home to question the logic I was living.
In my mind I knew happiness is internal and you can’t run away from problems and on and on; But I wasn’t living like I believed it. Once I realized this I also realized that everything I had done up to this point was awesome, but maybe none of it was as crucial to my happiness and development as I had thought.
I contemplated coming home and starting over there, with family and friends and a new perspective on the life I was living. After talking it through with the person I was travelling with, and thinking about it myself for a few days, I decided to stay for a few more months as we had planned. I was happy and excited, breaking out of the dark and sticky mess I’d created in my mind in record time. I saw everything differently and had dozens of amazing experiences in the next few weeks.
Fast forward a few weeks. My travel partner and I decided to buy a moped from a friend, and set off to the local farmers market one Sunday morning. I talked to some people who were interested in working with me once I was back in Salt Lake, and left thinking about the opportunity and feeling a little bit more of a pull to home.
We started driving back down the road and I remember thinking how amazing the island really was as we drove through the trees. About 10 minutes later, half a mile from home I felt like something was wrong. I considered asking my travel partner to pull over for a second to check the bike, but then felt that we were supposed to continue on and so I didn’t say anything.
We rounded a corner and saw a group of 20 motorcycles in the oncoming lane. Seconds before we passed them, one man lost control of his bike and flew sideways into our lane where we hit him and all three of us were thrown through the air. I had just enough time to realize what had happened, and that I was going to hit the ground before I did. I don’t remember the next 20 seconds, but somehow I had jumped up and was running towards the other two.
I don’t know what I expected but they were both screaming and unable to get up. I could see blood coming from both their heads and heard people yelling from all around me but the only thing I felt, strange enough, was calm. I worried for a few seconds that my travel partner might have serious/life threatening injuries, but something in my gut told me it was going to be okay.
An ambulance happened to be headed back from a house fire at the same moment the accident happened, so they were able to get my partner and the other man to the hospital quickly. I can’t even begin to count the amount of miracles that happened within those 10 minutes.
I know I still have a lot of processing to do before I’ll fully be able to understand these experiences and everything they mean to me. I am so grateful for what I’ve learned and look forward to moving forward.
Life always gives us what we need.