When I turned 21 I had the privilege of moving to Oahu and Kauai, Hawaii and entrenching myself into another culture and way of life. Needless to say the experience changed my life.
Leading up to me moving, I had been in college 3 years attending ETSU in Johnson City, Tennessee. It was a great experience, and I made some lifelong friends, and a girlfriend, along the way. But something was missing. I could feel this inner drive and passion within myself to want to go explore the world, experience new cultures, and change my surrounding. So when the opportunity for me to move there came, I jumped on it!
The original plan was to drop out of school for a year, live in Hawaii to establish residency, then return to college and graduate at the University of Hawaii. I had it all figured out. But, as the saying goes, life got in the way. My fathers boss started a new company in Hawaii, and wanted me to come help him build it up. It was a win-win scenario for me. I got to live in a tropical paradise and not have to pay for rent, food, a vehicle, or anything. And on top of that, with me wanting to start my own business, I got to get the experience of learning how to build a business from the ground up, with someone else money! Though the hours were long and there was a lot on our plates, I made sure to take advantage of my situation and pursue why I REALLY moved to Hawaii, to experience a new culture and way of life.
I went to fish markets, ate octopus, surfed, spearfished, snorkeled, visited ancient burial sights/communities, played pickup basketball games at local parks, started to learn and use their own unique form of english called “pigeon”, visited national parks and volcanoes, went to local events, and so much more. What really helped me get integrated into the community was through my job and establishing relationships with our clients who in return, outside of work, would show us the “ways of the land” so to speak. I am eternally grateful to everyone who I met and befriended along the way.
Unfortunately my time in Hawaii got cut short. A year after moving to Oahu then to Kauai, and on the brink of starting back school, another opportunity came my way that was too good to pass up. Now how could anything be as good as living in Hawaii you might ask? Trust me, it was one of the toughest decisions of my life. But in the end I made the right choice, but that journey, is for another time.