As we’ve been getting ready to go to Hawaii, we’ve been talking a lot about what our expectations are, what our hopes and dreams of Hawaiian life are. Unlike Karyn, I have never been to Hawaii, so this is totally new territory for me, and it’s hard to even imagine what it’s going to be like, especially having grown up and lived my whole life in the northwestern most point of the country.
When I was a kid my idea of Hawaii was perfect beaches with hammocks and drinks with little umbrellas, maybe some hula dancers in the background. Basically, it was just a fantasy world that I never put much thought into. But my idea of Hawaii is very different now. Not only do I know that the kitschy island paradise stuff is just a facade for tourists, but I also have a much greater understanding of what it really means to live in Hawaii: the geology, the climate, the practical concerns of living there.
I recently saw an advertisement for a Disney Hawaiian resort that had everything in it from my childhood fantasy, as if Disney had entered my brain, dusted off those old props, and made a commercial out of it while I wasn’t looking. So what I’m looking forward to doing is discovering for myself what’s behind the Disneyfied Hawaii. That being said, I have no idea what that will entail (and if I said I did I would still be stuck in my former delusion).
An island like Hawaii is a rare and special occurrence in the vast ocean, and I don’t want to leave any lava rock unturned. I want to discover everything there is to Hawaii and communicate that to people on the mainland who might be reading this, imagining me writing while sipping from coconuts.
Aside from getting to know the local residents and my larger community there are only a few other things I want to do. I want to read, write, and reflect. Now that’s not saying that I’m going to just be sitting inside our yurt doing those things exclusively. Rather, I see those as the vaguest possible of parameters that I can set for my contribution to the project and I will go with the flow from there.
Will I befriend tropical birds?
Will I be consumed by a torrent of lava?
Will I meet new and inspiring people?
How will my vision of the future be changed?
Only time will tell, but no matter what happens, I can’t wait to be there for it.