My life was really mundane. Ordinary I suppose. I was 17 when I was tired of seeing the same people day in and day out. Going to high school 5 to 6 days a week to go to the same classes and watch the same sports. I decided to graduate early. One semester early so I could do what I wanted before having to be pressured into going to college, which I never wanted to do anyway.
I had a full schedule the semester before I graduated. I went to early class at 6am, and stayed an extra class after school so I could knock out all the classes and meet the required credits to graduate. From 6am until 4pm I was in school working my ass off trying to make this happen. I did it, and in December I graduated at 17. One month later I turned 18. I became an “adult” officially (in my eyes anyway).
I started work in a coffee shop named Kava the month of January. Both the owners (husband and wife) were one hundred percent Czech and fun fact, kava means coffee in Czech. Kava was a wonderful place to work, and the smell of coffee and cinnamon rolls were the smells of my mornings. Experimenting with creating lattes and frappuccino’s filled my down time at the shop, and smiling was always a part of my day. I enjoyed my work, but I knew I didn’t want to be there forever. That’s why I saved my money as best I could. Never spending money on things I didn’t need. I was a work hermit, but it was okay, because I loved working.
I remember watching the movie Burlesque, the one with Christina Aguilera. In the movie she said, “I looked around and realized there wasn’t one person whose life I wanted”. I remember thinking holy crap, SAME! Weird how I got an epiphany from that movie, but I loved that quote and still do! Literally, right after I watched that movie I started looking up destinations to travel to. I thought it would be awesome to travel to a different country, but I didn’t speak another language and I wasn’t ready to tackle that as my first solo travel by myself. Hawaii came up of course as a dream destination, and the Big Island of Hawaii called my name. I looked up how to travel without spending a lot of money and Woofing popped up. I signed up to woof, and I found a farm north of Hilo that provided a place to stay as long as I worked on their farm. I got in contact with the farm owners and I scheduled to start working in October. In the mean time I knew I needed to make enough money for a plane ticket and enough to spend while in Hawaii.
The coffee shop helped me earn that money. I worked. That is my secret. I found a job I enjoyed and was there every day all day. It would have been very hard to work as much as I did if I hated it. I also had a goal in mind, which gave me motivation to save money. Earning money while being happy doing it, and having a goal is the key to making dreams happen. By the time October came along I had six thousand dollars saved and was prepared to leave the cold midwest. My plane ticket round trip was $1,500, so I was bumped down to $4,500 by the time I was headed to the Big Island. More than enough money to live their for a few months.
After arriving in Hawaii some unfortunate circumstances happened and I was no longer woofing. I had to find a place to stay. A youth hostel was my cheapest safest find and there was one in the center of Hilo. That was my home for my entire Hawaii stay and I loved it. I am sad of what happened before I stayed at the youth hostel, but because of those bad moments I was able to meet some very beautiful amazing people that brought joy into my life. For that I am so grateful. My time in Hawaii after that was laughing with people from all walks of life. Exploring the Island. Making friends. Being spontaneous, and sharing experiences.
One experience I enjoyed in Hawaii was with a group of four people. One night I met a group of travelers, all traveling alone and we hit it off right away. One of the boys, Brandon from Minnesota had never been or seen the ocean. He had just flown in that night so he wasn’t able to see the water as he came in. It was late and the four of us decided to walk to Coconut Island, which was about a 40 minute walk. We thought that would be a very great place for him to first step into the ocean. It was pouring rain out, but we didn’t mind and we had a blast walking there. We sang, we danced, and we laughed. As we came upon our destination he took his shoes off and stepped into the cold water. It was dark out, but the few lights from the buildings gave us just enough light to see. He looked out to the ocean as the water splashed on his legs and he opened his arms and said, “I’ve never seen anything this big, it’s just…wow”. I loved that moment. Seeing someone so much in awe of how grand the ocean is was beautiful. I was happy I was able to witness something as wonderful as that. Happiness was what I saw come from him as he looked out, and that made me smile.
I could go on about all the wonderful times I had and all the places I went in Hawaii, but there’s too much to say. The most important part is that I accomplished a goal. I worked hard and made it happen, and I was rewarded with great memories.