I lay on the wet sand, eyes closed, listening to the powerful, vast waves crash into the rocks. I focus on my breathing. Breath in, breath out. Breath in, breath out. I open my eyes and stare at the bluest sky my eyes have ever seen and watch fluffy white clouds float over me. The hot Hawaiian sun warms my tan skin. As I absorb the Vitamin D, I breath in the sea’s salty air. I sit up and look out at the beautiful blue water. The sun shimmers perfectly across the ocean. Wave after wave rolls in and crashes into the lava rock. It is just me in this hidden Elysium and I have never felt more relaxed. “This is paradise,” I think to myself. All the stress that I was carrying rolls off my shoulders, and I take in this moment.
I spent six months living in Hawaii. Hawaii is the biggest island in the state of Hawaii and has eight out of the thirteen climate zones. One minute you are enjoying the waves at the black sand beach, and the next you are on top of a snow capped mountain. It has beautiful waterfalls and is also home to not one, but five volcanoes, two of which are still active. The Hawaiian culture is warm, welcoming and laid back. The island is filled with happy vibes and an Ohana culture that fills you with the feeling of home.
I love adventures, and I am always in pursuit of doing something new and grand. I get bored really fast and I am constantly looking to do something bigger and better. However, my perspective changed after living the laid-back island life. While going out and exploring the island, I often found myself alone or with a few amount of people in the most beautiful places I had ever seen. I would constantly have moments where my jaw would drop and all I could do was stare and appreciate the beauty. On one of my expeditions I visited a crystal blue bay. While exploring the area around it I found this forest of huge trees that were all connected. It looked like a giant spider web of tree branches. It was amazing. I stayed in this forest for a while, thinking and looking at the trees. I started to think about my life and what was going on. I had to finish the design layout for a project I was working on, and I had to be at a meeting the next morning. I then realized that in two months my time in Hawaii would be over and I would be heading back to Canada. I became a little worried, “What am I going to do next?” I thought to myself. In the midst of my worries, I remembered where I was. I took a deep breath, left the future be the future and focused on the moment I was living.
The breathtaking beauty and the laid back attitude of the island has left a mark on me that I know I’ll never be able to wipe off. Burned in my memory are golden sunsets, with bursts of orange, pink and purple, swimming with sea turtles in the crystal clear Pacific Ocean, and long, adventurous hikes that took me through the rainforest and lead me to hidden waterfalls. My time spent with locals are moments I will cherish forever. Luau’s where my taste buds first experienced traditional Hawaiian food like poi, and I was taught how to hula. Being submerged in its nature and culture has taught me to slow down and take in the now. It taught me to breath in the moment and cherish life for what is in front of me.