That night after dinner, I opened my computer and bought a one way to the Big Island. Once I've planted an idea in my head, especially one I am passionate about, good luck trying to stop me. I did everything I could after that to make this conversation my reality.
The following months consisted mainly of planning, planning... and you guessed it, more planning. I worked two jobs that summer to save up, and contacted copious amounts of farms to plan my wwoofing excursion. Everything I thought, said and did was Hawaii focused. It was as though a new life form was inspired within me, and I could see things more clearly.
The day I quit those two jobs and hopped on a plane to a tiny chunk of land in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, was probably the happiest day of my life. Who would have guessed that leaving everything you once knew, your past, fiends, all that tied you down, put completely behind you would be so liberating.
AND ALL IT TOOK WAS A ONE WAY TICKET TO PARADISE.
There was so much anticipation and excitement leading up to this point. I had no idea what to expect at the farm I was going to, no idea what life would look like while I was there, and definitely unsure of how I would get around or meet new people. I flew to Maui before I had to fly to the Big Island, mainly so me and my sister could have some bonding time before I fell of the grid for a few months, so to speak.
We pranced around beaches in Lahaina and Kihei, made coffee in the mornings in our adorable studio we rented for the week. I even convinced her to hop on a bus one afternoon (because heaven forbid she step foot on public transportation) so we could inexpensively roam the entire island and have an adventure. It was the perfect way to ease myself into the island lifestyle before metaphorically speaking, fully submerging myself under water. When the end of the week snook upon us, and we parted ways, I flew 30 minutes on a commuter plane which you can't really tell in the image, but was absolutely terrifying considering it was the size of a mid-size car. When I arrived on island it was around 8pm, pitch black, and I was completely alone. Everyone on the plane either had someone waiting for them, or a car to tend to. In a matter of minutes, there was absolutely no one around at this airport gate, completely removed from the main terminals. Also, mind you I was getting picked up by a stranger whom I have never met before in my life, trusting I wouldn't get kidnapped and murdered. My host from the farm I am staying at finally arrives and takes me back to the property. I get aquatinted with the space provided, unload my things, and crash for the evening.
The next morning, we meet at 6:30 am for a group breakfast. The hosts make us gluten free pancakes, prepared fresh fruit from the farm; my fellow volunteers and I exchanged stories over black coffee and this tropical medley, while we reviewed our work schedule for the week and chowed down.
A typical work day at the animal sanctuary tended to shift often, for sometimes we would be assigned projects; like painting a goats new feeding station, or pulling weeds and chopping invasive plants. It was mindless work for the most part when it came to beautifying of the land, but it sure got you a nice tan being in the sun all day. The first few weeks, I really enjoyed the time I had spent on that farm. It was fun getting to know the people around me, where they were from, what their lives were like before wwoofing, and familiarizing myself with the area.
Me and a few other girls were allocated a "loft space" that was really just a garage converted into a living area. Our bathroom was outside, shared between 6 people, which you can imagine got a bit tricky at times. We also had a resident cane spider worth mentioning... don't click that link if you're arachnophobic. Mid afternoon showers? Sure, why not! Oh, and did I mention our hot water didn't work? They say cold water is better for your hair and skin anyways.
Our kitchen was communal, and also where many of us spent the majority of our time after a long days work. The property was at the top of a hill, away from most, and the street leading up to it had a huge vertical incline. None of us had cars, and the hosts understandably didn't lend out their vehicles, so if we wanted to go into town or anywhere really, we either had to walk for hours, take the not so reliable bus, or hitch hike which can get dangerous at times. So the "gathering place" was a haven for us when we didn't feel like trekking into town, after undergoing manual labor for 7 hours straight. We would make art together, journal write, read, talk, nap (lots and lots of naps), or try weird exotic fruit we picked up at the farmers market over the weekend.
I got really close with these amazing humans, sharing experiences and moments I wouldn't trade for the world. I learned from them, admired and looked up to each and every one of them for all they had accomplished, their stories and pasts. Pasts that shaped them into who they were in that present moment. It was inspiring to constantly be surrounded by those who were like-minded, but also significantly different in the most positive way. I felt right where I needed to be. Having settled with myself, my thoughts, making my heart my home and feeling content with where life was, along with who I was encompassing myself with. Everything was seemingly perfect.