It’s been a week that I’ve been in Maui hanging out with a dear friend that I met over a year ago on this same island. He’s helped me overcome fears, encouraged me to be open-minded and intellectually challenges me. I usually give him credit as one of the people in my life who has opened my eyes to a life I never knew.
So I’m enjoying my last day sitting at a cafe, taking in the scene as if I were a local. Fitting in is one of my favorite things to do when I travel and love the idea of chameleonizing into everyday happenings of a community. Travel is such a great way to learn about the world and even though Hawaii is technically US soil, being here sometimes feels like a whole new world.
The week has been perfectly packed with snorkeling, free diving, driving adventures, sunsets, bonfires, bbqs, stargazing, listening to the guitar and beach naps. And in this week alone, I feel another adventurous growth spurt settling in as I learn how to be more comfortable in my own skin. If you asked me a year ago whether I would find myself interested in and pursuing travel, I would not have ever guessed this would be my life.
This week, I’ve had several weird moments where I’ve had to sit, reflect and take in what my life is today. Sometimes I wonder if I’m going to pinch myself and find myself in my old life that felt unknowingly constrained. I sometimes dream that I’m trapped in my old life, living a perfectly fine but conventional view of life with what things should have been. I’ve loved waking up everyday this past week here knowing that my soul feels open to whatever comes my way and that my dreams don’t feel suffocated. I’m enjoying every emotion I feel whether it’s excited or confused, even if every emotional expression I’m feeling isn’t immediately apparent on the surface.
Admittedly, one of my worries in leaving this island paradise is that I might forget this raw sense of life. This place makes me feel soooooo much vitality and freedom inside myself. It makes me feel more confident, more alive and more adventurous. The rawness of who I am and who I could become just swells when I’m here and makes me crave this natural high. I experienced this high while hiking towards sweetheart rock after deciding to take a solo jaunt to Lanai. I miss these moments with myself where I am able to just wander and be a version of me that no one else knows.
While I was discovering the island, I met a charming Italian man from Florence and we engaged in pleasant conversation. After politely declining to take him up on his offer to meet up later that night, he said to me “it was a pleasure to meet you anyways. You have a curious energy about you. I just wanted to talk to you.” His cordial affirmation made me smile. We wished each other a good day and carried on our merry ways.
I love meeting new people in new places. I also love the idea that the world gets that much smaller with every new person you meet. I love learning about what other people do, how they think and what they enjoy even if I personally cannot identify with their lifestyle. This past week I’ve met different people from different walks of life that have brought them Maui. I’ve loved hearing their stories, their past lives and how alive they feel here on this island. The chill island vibe is contagious and I am slightly nervous to return to the mainland and its harriedness.
As I sit now catching up with a new friend that I met in another country over text, I am reminded that now may be the time to get more serious about posting and sharing and empowering travel adventures for others. Much like my friend here that has inspired me, I think my role now is to introduce you to the life or lives (of others) you never knew.
With Joy & Wanders,