The art of doing nothing is one that I’m not quite so acquainted with, but have definitely been trying to embrace. A natural-born planner and busy-body, I generally always have a lot going on, in my life and in my mind, so slowing down isn’t always something that comes easily to me. Having spent the last year in the clairvoyant program, working out regularly and often, and in a job that always kept me busy, this transition to a slower pace has been a bit of a change; and moving out and preparing for this summer has given me plenty to keep myself busy with over the last few weeks. So, although I’ve never before experienced one of those do-nothing vacations I’ve heard of people talking about, I decided that 10 days in Hawaii would be the perfect time and place to change gears. I aimed to not make any plans, and limited my goals to my website, meditating regularly, and a personal favorite, watching the sunrise and set the same day.
I am so excited to finally reveal my website and blog, and embark on the adventure of my summer! It has been a long and often challenging road to get to where I am now, but I’ve finally managed to finish the site, and am just a week away from hitting the road.
Planning on regular meditations to help find my clarity and decide on a name, using beach time to write, and the lazy, dark nights to finalize the details and design, I had set a goal for myself that I would have the site/blog live by the end of my trip to Hawaii. Though I struggled through it at times, I finally finished it on my second-to-last day there. On that thrilling day, this is also what my daily horoscope read:
“A full year of hard work has helped you to achieve a personally fulfilling goal. Chances are good you’re surrounded by fans and media now, but as soon as you can fit it in, start thinking about a title for the book you’ll feel eminently qualified to write.”
After agonizing for weeks on the name alone, not to mention the design and details, I finally made a breakthrough just before leaving Maui, so I am happy to share the name – www.lifeunleeshed.com.
On the bumpy road to my final decisions (on traveling and the website) I couldn’t have done it without the help of some wonderful friends and family, so I’d like to take a minute to thank everyone who’s helped me, and give special thanks to a few of my key supporters.
Ah, Sunday. Sunday is one of my absolute favorite days of the week; the energy of the day unique and undeniable – relaxed, familial, the calm respite to start or end the week, depending on your perspective. When I was working, Sunday’s were my Saturday’s so it was of course a delightful day, but even when I’m not working, I can feel the energy of a Sunday. It seems like no matter where you are, and almost no matter what kind of job you work, everyone feels Sunday. And in paradise, nicknamed by many as “God’s Country,” it felt like the subtle shift of the day was even more pronounced.
As we wandered from Kauai’s rainy east shore to the sunny south side, it was striking how many churches we saw. I think aside from the multitude of shades of green, and the stunning abundance of trees and wildlife, the only thing we so much variety in was the churches. Every kind, from Baptist to Hindu, Scientology to Mormon, Lutheran to Buddhist, types of churches I couldn’t recognize and I’m not sure I’ve even heard of, not to mention the surf culture possibly being considered a religion in and of itself. Even more impressive though, is the fact that they are all neighbors and consider each other as such; the Buddhist Mission is literally next door to the Seventh Day Adventists, a hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses across the street from the Catholic Church, it goes on and on. Seriously, just Google “churches in Kauai” (and probably most of the other islands as well), and you will see the map light up with those red/pink dots, highlighting the heavy concentration and incredible diversity of religion represented on the island. At points I wondered, do they all get along?? But I was to find an answer that would suffice soon enough…
I’ve been in Hawaii for a few days now and it’s been a beautiful yet surprising/unexpected trip thus far. As I mentioned before, I spent some time here after Chris had passed away, just ‘floating’, which could be equated with beach-bumming and regular, usually heavy, drinking. It seemed like a good life, or as good as one could imagine for a heartbroken 21 year old, but a dream opportunity nonetheless.
Today’s been the most weather-ridden day since my arrival, even paradise comes with a price, but luckily it’s one that I’m happy to pay… anyone who knows me, knows I’m a fan of adverse weather, and most particularly rain. Also, luckily for me, mother nature’s been blessing me with weather to match my mood, for today was a bit more of an emotional day. The ups and downs are to be expected, but in light of where I’m at in my adventure (barely beginning), I know there’s so much that lies ahead, which can feel scary.
I think that’s where I am! Waking up on Maui this morning, I wasn’t feeling too good, so I decided, actually more like forced, myself to meditate. Anyone who has attempted and/or succeeded in having a regular meditation practice could probably attest to the fact that it is not always easy. Just like training for anything, whether it’s a sport, a class, a job, etc, it’s not always easy, and you don’t always want to do the work, but it’s the knowledge that if you push through the rough times, the brighter times will be on the horizon, and that’s the motivation to keep going.
I think it’s safe to say, the summer’s adventures have begun! After months of considering, planning (unplanning), and attempted preparing, I am now, officially, just traveling.
On the beach at Napili Bay, one of my old favorite spots, I realize that I’ve underestimated the depth and vividness of my memories. Ever since flying into Maui, I’ve been experiencing flooding memories of my previous time spent here, and in general of what was going on in my life then. Almost exactly seven years ago, about 6 months after Chris had passed away, I was lucky enough to spend some time floating between Maui and Oahu. My crash pad in Maui was just up the street from Napili Bay, so upon arriving today, I decided to take a walk through the entire area.
Here's the plan: spend the summer traveling through the Western United States and Canada. I've been to some of the places listed already and will be continuing this portion of the trip through August, at which point I will return to Reno/Tahoe (at least temporarily) for one of my amazing couple-friends' wedding. In the spirit of traveling, things are constantly changing, evolving as I discover new places and connect (or reconnect) with wonderful people; I am always open to suggestions, so if you have any tips, connections, or feel like meeting to travel/explore with me, please don't hesitate to reach out to me!
I've received a lot of questions along the way about how I am able to do so much traveling right now, so I would like to share the information on a couple of the websites that have helped make this possible:
WorkAway - This website I discovered through one of my wonderful friends who is similarly traveling through Europe. It is a worldwide network that connects hosts with workawayers, and there are an incredible amount of different opportunities available; from farming, to yoga centers, to building houses, the options are pretty endless, so wherever you want to go (almost; certain areas aren't heavily concentrated with opportunities), there's a pretty high likelihood that you could find a work-exchange that would allow you to work for your food and lodging, and connect you with local like-minded people, making traveling cheaper and a more true-to-the-area experience (as opposed to being a tourist and only finding the touristy/well-known places). It's about $20-30 dollars to register to this site and the registration is valid for two years.
HelpX - Similar to WorkAway, this website connects hosts with help-eXchangers. It is a little more stratified in how you can search, allowing you to search for farmstays, homestays, accommodations (ie hostels, b&b's, etc), and so-forth. I've had a little better of a response rate with the HelpX site, but have connected with people from both. HelpX also allows you to connect with fellow travelers (for free!) so you can travel together independently of help-exchanges, or look for help-exchanges to do together; I've already connected with a few travelers and will be traveling with some of them through the areas that don't have as many help-exchange opportunities, such as some of the national parks. Again, it is around $20-30 to register for this worldwide network (with options to register as a couple or as two friends, pricing varies slightly I'm sure), and the registration is valid for two years.
Airbnb - is more like a vacation stay website. Hosts are people who have decided to open their homes, yards, hostels, etc to guests who are looking for a place to stay. You can find "rentals" in shared rooms, private rooms, or the entire home. It is a paid option, but you can usually find places that are in your price range, whether that is $20/night for a private or shared room, or an entire house for you to take a family vacation without staying in a hotel. Again, this connects you to locals who are usually happy to host and share their local take on the area with their guests. It's helped me when I'm looking for short-term stays in between places or when I'm trying to break up my drive, and since I don't really believe in coincidences, my connections have been with wonderful people who were exactly who I was supposed to connect with.
In addition to these sites, I am a supporter of utilizing the power of your network. They say everyone is connected by six-degrees of separation, and I am pretty confident that if you're open and communicating with people, you'll often find it's usually less than six. Reconnecting with old friends and connecting with new friends (or friends-of-friends) opens up all sorts of opportunities, and if you know what you have to offer (cooking? cleaning? painting? organizing? These are just some of my favorites, so keep me in my mind if you need help!), you can usually find and create opportunities for mutually beneficial traveling experiences.
Discovering these websites and networks has already begun to help change my life and the way I travel, and I hope that by sharing these with you, it will help you find the right place, connections, and travel opportunities for yourself. Feel free to contact me anytime, and I would be happy to connect and discuss anything with you.
Happy travels & Namaste!
Stories from the road-trip that inspired moving to the PNW, and other travel adventures.