I woke up to a cacophony of roosters this morning. The air was thick and I peered through the blinds. I could see the ocean in the distance and the sky was opening with light as the sun rose behind the mountains.

Trying not to wake the house, I tiptoe outside to capture a glimpse of the plumeria tree blooming in the yard. The morning light that was escaping the shadow of the mountain behind me was begging me to get up, get dressed and capture the first beach picture of the week.

I sit here slightly in awe, bewilderment and disbelief that I’m back here. What surprises me more is that the moment I woke up, this place easily felt like home. A little over a year ago, this place and its people transformed my life. After my morning walk, I got ready and thought to myself “wow my life is so different today than I ever imagined it would be.”

Lahaina was my first solo journey. I escaped here out of raw desperation to somehow distract and deflect the pain of an emotional trauma. In so many ways, this first solo journey saved my life and most importantly, saved my soul.

It was here that I learned about my self worth, my will, my strength and how to read my gut. I learned how to trust. I learned how to let go of what I couldn’t control and ventured waaaaaaay out of my comfort zone. I learned how to be an open book and learned that I was the only one who could be responsible for making myself happy. And if I look back at this trip now, I think that this is where I really encountered the His love as I sat on the beach during Easter service on Sunday.

I recently listened to Sheryl Sandberg’s commencement speech at UC Berkeley (Go Bears!) Her article last year really inspired me to embrace the “Option B” in my life. Little did I know then that today, I love what Option B has become in my life.

In the speech she delivered, her words on resilience and strength really spoke to me. She speaks of how the “hard days determine who you really are.” She’s right. There’s so much growing that started from the pain. Now I can fully understand why they say that “pain is the blessing nobody wants.”

And this is perhaps the most important message from Sheryl’s speech which made me shed a happy tear when I heard it:

“You are not born with a fixed amount of resilience. It’s a muscle. You can build it up and then draw on it when you need it. And in that process, you figure out who you really are. And you just might become the very best version of yourself.”

Amen sister. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

So, I’m excited for what this week brings. I think He has put a new mission in my heart for this next chapter of life.

Last year, I think His ask was to seek Him and trust Him to show me how with faith, I could turn pain into passion. I am so grateful for the blessings in my life and the new resilience and growth my challenging season brought.

This year, I think He is asking me to do more and share. I think He is asking me to lead life with even more Love than I can probably even imagine.

I think this might be the time to make a new mission to share and encourage and empower others to find their journey through travel. It would feel selfish of me to not share and not teach or empower others to push themselves to try and explore new things. With every new destination I visit, I can’t imagine keeping the beauty of things found to myself.

Tonight, we went to an amazing lookout point to catch my first sunset on this trip. It made me so grateful and thankful for the friends I’ve met along the way on this journey. I’m especially thankful for friends who encourage and inspire you to try to better yourself.


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