Going Big Island

When I did the round the world trip a few years back I said I was looking for a place to be. I remember the friend I made in Honolulu asking me how that went and I recall thinking Hawaii was the top of that list. So many years later as I wandered about more, I wondered why not Hawaii?

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Paradise much? Spoiler: this was my view every sunset for a couple months. And no, I didn’t get tired of it.

I dreamed of it and jokingly kept asking if people wanted to move to Hawaii but I never seriously considered it. It’s so expensive, I thought. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, where to go. So pulling a very LA move, I went and talked with my Reiki healer. She recommended talking to her teacher, who was an intuitive artist. Great! I called and she asked if I wanted to talk to any dead people. Wait, what? Oh, you’re a medium! Wait, what is that when it’s not a  thing used on a CBS detective show? In the end it meant having someone else tell me what I wanted but was afraid to do: go to Hawaii with nary a plan and hope for the best.

I’ve been a bit of an overplanner, and being in America seems like as good a time to try making zero plans as anywhere. It’s also a good way to be stuck in an eerily Kona airport for hours as the place empties out in-between flights. Landing in a place with almost always high season and hostels that won’t take you without an exit ticket made for an exciting experience. I scrambled into an AirBnB terrified of geckos running around in the room I was in. Little did I know that part would be come normal.

Well, ok now what. AirBNB wasn’t going to sustain me very long when I aimed for an apartment and missed. I started looking into volunteering again through Craigslist and Workaway. There was a promising spiritual retreat on Workaway that didn’t want people until later and an interesting looking farm on Craigslist. I was being driven to the interview for Workaway when two separate people told me I couldn’t go to the farm, it was known for being abusive to volunteers. The horror stories later even included volunteers being beat with chickens. Don’t subject yourself to poultry abuse. Luckily for me, beyond a couple hours I sat around fretting with the ranch owner running errands, I was ok because she was kind enough to take me in that day.

So began my adventure at the Dragonfly Ranch. It was a whirlwind of two months living in a community with a bunch of mostly young people seeking through various esoteric spiritual methods. There’s an awesome rainbow labyrinth overlooking the ocean on a hill in the sacred triangle of the City of Refuge. The national park there preserves an area that used to be a haven of native Hawaii. If you had some issue or done some criminal act, you would be forgiven if you could make it to the City of Refuge. Accordingly, in a culture full of violent warriors, it was not easy to get there. It was a lot easier to get there now and probably serves a similar purpose where I was, for people to sort some stuff out.

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A pleasant and balmy two to three mile walk or hitchhike to the famous snorkeling spot Two Steps full of critters.

I went snorkeling almost daily and saw dolphins my first week there. I got to see them a few times during my stay. I slept in a screen mesh and tin roofed “hale” (Hawaiian for house) and was surprised when I was awoken not just by sunrises and tropical rain but also the full moon. It was a beautiful feeling to be so outside. It was a great balance of helping out with running the B&B in the morning and then having the afternoons free to hike, snorkel or do whatever I wanted to which mostly consists of being outside. There was a pleasant garden and beans and grains were provided. There were weekly community events that often included the guests. It became pretty unclear who was a guest or not, as it seemed more like a gathering place with various ways of exchange to stay. It was a great place to meet people exploring interesting things. There was some friction as the automatic assignment of women to housecleaning and barring them from maintenance did not work out super well with my skills, but we sorted that out fairly quickly. Gotta follow your nature.

Some of us would band together every once in a while to rent a car and explore the island. It is fairly common to see people hitchhiking around the island though, since I learned upon landing at the airport that the bus only ran once a day to take people to and from work. I soon got used to hopping in the back of pick up trucks with tools, toys and who knows who else. One time my friend and I even managed to hitch a ride with a kayak a few minutes after getting out of the water. These are the vital Hawaii skills.

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Big Island has active volcanoes. Unfortunately I didn’t get to see lava but this sulfurous cloud was stunning.

It was also a great to explore everything else on the big island. This may be the biggest island but it’s still drivable all the way around in a few hours. Beautiful hikes, waterfalls, lush forest, exotic fruits and beaches containing white, black and green sand. Unfortunately my phone camera and the cloudy weather didn’t always make for the best pictures of these. Being somewhere a few months was definitely a more relaxed way to see a place than trying to do it in a week or less though. It was possible to stay longer, I think some volunteers had stayed years or even indefinitely. My curiosity about Hawaii and other communities pushed me onward to see the other islands. I wouldn’t mind living on Big Island, it’s a pretty amazing place. Where else can you see land being born constantly?

Edit: And then I made it back to the Big Island while I was on Kauai and crashed the friend’s honeymoon that I had not made it back to California for the wedding of in the summer. Honeymoons are more fun anyways.

 

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That lava is flowing straight into the ocean and causing a whole mess of steam. I wish I had an actual camera to capture how amazing it was to see waves crashing and sending molten lava flying.

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