I wrote this to you from aboard a Hawaiian Airlines flight headed home Sunday evening from The Big Island, Hawai’i, where I spent the last week enjoying the holidays with my family.
Vacation always has such a nice ring to it. It is set on a pedestal as an escape from reality and our regular day-to-day lives. Having been to Hawaiian islands before however has confirmed to me, I can live in Aloha more often than just while on hoilday.
A few years ago I was invited on a trip to Hawaii with a girl friend and her family and even though I was stretched to afford it, I felt as though I couldn’t say no. What if that was my only lifetime chance of seeing the most exotic paradise in our country?
It was paradise indeed. I visited Oahu for a few days and stayed in Honolulu. Walked the loud and busy streets of Waikiki Beach, full of sun-tanned tourists. I saw the sites of Diamond Head and Pearl Harbor. After a few days, we hopped on a jet to Kauai and THAT was even more so the Hawaii I dreamed of. The Hawaii you see on calendars and in peaceful movie scenes is what Kauai is made of. It was breathtaking, gorgeous, stunning.
Fast forward to this year when my own family decided we would spend our Thanksgiving holiday on The Big Island together. I was beyond ecstatic. How many people get a trip of a lifetime…twice!?!
The Big Island was much different than the others I have seen. Much of the land is covered in volcanic rock. Far fewer lush green fields that go on for miles. Yet it was still beautiful at every twist or turn. During the day the sun glistened off the ocean, illuminating the white, black, green and red sand beaches around the island. At night the full moon felt close enough to grab right out of the sky. On the nights with no moon, the stars shone bright like diamonds.
I enjoyed the sea and the shore. The trip I shared with seven of my loved ones was my most favorite vacation yet. We did lots of activities together but I aso took time each day to sit alone, reflect, enjoy, introvert and so on. It was so peaceful and fulfilling.
Whenever my mind would start doing too much, thinking too hard or remove me from vacation I would snap back to the present. “You have this moment only. Exist here right now,” I might say to myself. It worked.
I took and posted lots of photos but never did I stop fully living in my mental and physical vacation there.
Even now as I sit on this long journey home to icy Chicago streets probably filled with snow, I am reminding myself to keep in the Aloha.
Aloha is a greeting and salutation but also a state of mind and a state of being.
Living Aloha to me means two things:
1. Life Isn’t Perfect
2. But It Can Still Be Damn Good
There were plenty things that did not happen exactly how I wanted on this trip. Life goes that way sometimes — on vacation, at home, at work, in public. Sometimes it is good and healthy to let the controls go so you can ride with the tide. Or sometimes you get the chance in those moments to stand at a crossroads and decide, whether what everyone else chooses is best for you right now. If that is not what you want or need, will you be bold enough to go another way?
That was the damn good part. I made decisions like am I going to roadtrip with the group or chill and catch up on some reading by the pool? Do I want to climb a mile down this scary looking mountain or miss the experience because of fear? I did climb the mountain by the way. It was exhausting and scary at points but turned into my highlight of the trip.
What kinds of questions, mountains, decisions, challenges are you trying to answer, conquer, resolve and overcome in your life?
I am thrilled to say that I am on my way to becoming a regular Hawaiian island visitor.
I will do as many trips as it takes to remind and instill the Aloha in me, whatever place I travel.
May you find your Aloha.