As a young adult, (laugh) who am I kidding? As a child, of legal age, I had the opportunity to live in some pretty hip cities. Maybe, I shouldn't call it an opportunity, as it was more of a self-inflicted sojourn, brought on by my restless vagabond nature, at the time. A year after graduating high school, I had decided to take a break from college (I maintain that I am still on that "break"). While I had no idea what I wanted to do for a career, I did know that I wanted to get far away from my small town of Tehachapi, and to reach out and really experience life.
In a two year period, I had left my mountain home, lived in some quiet central California coastal cities, and at 19, was on my second tour living in San Diego. After high school, my cousin joined the Navy and found himself stationed in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. I went to visit him for a few days. At the end of that visit, the islands were calling and I knew I must go. Eight weeks later, I had scraped together all of the couch change I could find and recruited a childhood friend to embark on the epic journey with me. We were children living in a world that felt like another country. What began as an extended vacation, turned into a three year love affair for me.
It was beautiful, chaotic, lonely, empowering and all out amazing! I learned about independence, responsibility, friendship and the art of growing up, every day. I loved island living, the culture, my job and my beautiful friends. It was bliss, but after meeting up with an old high school friend, while visiting the mainland, I discovered that I was in love and what true bliss was. I knew falling in love would likely involve a move back to the mainland and that I would soon be leaving my island mistress. As my relationship developed, I prepared to leave the place that I had come to know as home. My bliss lived in San Diego, and so I began my third stent in America's Finest City, or so it is called, and lived there for the next 10 years. In time, we married and started a family. We eventually moved back to our mountain hometown, and I find myself more at peace than ever before. While I've found that peace in the mountains, I will always leave a piece of my heart in Hawaii.
That's why this past week was particularly special, when my sweet family and I visited my second home. Our happy place on the North Shore of O'ahu. We gathered with my best friend for several meals (and champagne), spent time with family and other friends, visited favorite beaches and restaurants, and dove into 10-days of island living at its best!
The time was cathartic and wonderful, and was difficult to come to an end (many tears shed). However, as I write this from the plane, I know in my heart, that my home is wherever I'm with my crew. We'll arrive in California and two days later we'll spend Thanksgiving with 25 beloved family members and that too will feel like home.
I realize it's okay to have more than once place a person calls home. Hawaii will always feel like home. Tehachapi will always be home, but no matter where we live, my home is where my heart is, and that paradise my friends, is with my tribe. I was incredibly blessed this season to be with my Hawaii 'ohana and my family in the mountains, but my place in the world is where my three crazy, wild, beautiful counterparts are, wherever that is, is where I am home.
I hope wherever you are this holiday season, that you are able to be with your crazies too! Love & Aloha!