I spent all last week in Philly, wandering around a bit and trying to start a fight between cheesesteaks and chicken cutlet sandwiches. I also learned a hell of a lot about the city’s murals and the history behind their existence (if you have no idea why Philly has so many murals, check it out). The bulk of my time, though, was spent on a bachelor party and wedding festivities, sending my best friend off to the salt mines, if you will.
As a result, it has been a long two days at the office here in Denver (aka the desk in my bedroom), plugging away at stories and catching up on everything. I was able to sneak away for happy hour and I’ve got a few beers in me now, and suddenly all the stress of the to-do list has faded away and left me thinking about only one thing: The fact that I embark on a two-week, 4-island Hawaiian journey tomorrow.
My last visit to Hawaii five or six years ago still stands as one of the most monumental experiences of my travels, changing my life in so many ways, both directly and indirectly. I remember being in my young twenties and grinding my way through grad school and thinking how ridiculous it was that I was going to spend the rest of my life living that way, going somewhere and coming home and having such a large gap exist between what I considered to be my life and what I considered to be my career.
I remember thinking very clearly about those things at the time, upon arriving in the islands and seeing the palm trees and smelling the pineapple and all the flowers that lined the streets. They were thoughts I could trace back even further to my younger years, when my family used to travel to the Caribbean islands. I remember thinking, “If this exists and I love it so, why do I consciously choose to live elsewhere?” It was this thought, this reasoning, along with an understanding of the consequences that would accompany a full-blown move to Hawaii, that inspired me to make arrangements to move to California upon my return to the mainland. I also came home with something else: An idea for my first novel, which I titled My Side of the Story and wrote over the course of the next year.
So, I guess you could say the journey was somewhat productive, and I’m excited for the second time around. I will visit four islands – Kauai, Maui, the Big Island, and Oahu – in thirteen days, four nights each at the former three and one night on the latter. I will be dedicating the trip to outdoor adventure, including stargazing treks up and around volcanoes, helicopter rides to remote waterfalls, and learning to kite surf, among others.
But my first order of business upon arrival will be to open the windows and let the breeze come on through the windows and push the curtains around and maybe take a drink out to the deck and look out over the water. It will be a sweet, sweet feeling to find myself in the islands again.